June 2008

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] We decided to watch this after reading Evan’s review.

PEOPLE: Ellen Page starred, and I’d never heard of her. She apparently replaced Kitty Pryde in the 3rd X-Men movie, and I never even noticed! Michael Cera (aka George Michael from Arrested Development, and also in Superbad) was also a great draw, as we think the way he carries himself is hilarious. He just seems like this under-confident, always-freaked-out kid with a perpetual stare matching that of a deer staring into your headlights. And his Arrested Development dad Jason Bateman stars too, as well as Jennifer Garner.

QUIRKS: Despite loving music more than most people, I don’t always notice soundtracks, because my taste in music is completley singular, not very broad, and heavier than the average music you’d get in a soundtrack. However, both of us were strongly reminded of the musical feel of the series Weeds. IMDB, however, revealed no connection between the two. Suffice to say, after looking it up on wikipedia, I found out that this soundtrack was a #1 album, and only the 2nd soundtrack to read #1 since the godawful Titanic soundtrack/movie (which I never saw). There is also a 2nd album called “Juno B-Sides: Almost Adopted Songs”, containing even more songs. I actually got both albums, though I’m not sure how much I will listen to them. By the way — the closing credits song in Juno is HEAVILY, HEAVILY censored. The lyrics actually include a lot of profanity, and a Fuck Bush and Fuck This War message. The movie tries hard to be independent and trendy, but the censorship, and the fact that the albums went to #1 — kind of belay the fact that this is a corporate endeavor. The censorship prevents it from being a “real” independent movie, in my book.

BAD STUFF: Based on the review Evan posted, I had thought this was going to be a comedy, but we did not consider it such. We definitely considered this a drama. Of course there were some comedic elements — it wasn’t an unfunny situation. But the writing/directing goal seemed to be focused on telling the dramatic components of the story — not on getting laughs. We were in a mood for a comedy when we watched it, and so we were a bit disappointed when we didn’t laugh as much. I suppose some would call this a “dramedy”. Just don’t expect a laugh a minute.

CONCLUSION: As far as teenage pregnancy dramas go, this is good. Knocked Up presented itself as a comedy, but was not funny during the 2nd half. This movie might suffer from a similar misrepresetnation. This movie, however, was far more charming and realistic than Knocked Up, and with a better soundtrack to boot.

RECOMMENDATION: If you want a ridiculous pregnancy comedy, watch The Brothers Solomon instead. If you are not drama averse, definitely watch this. It’s a really good film, even if it isn’t quite what we thought we were getting into.

MOVIE QUOTE: Juno: “Uhhh, I hate it when adults use the term “sexually active.” What does it even mean? Am I gonna like deactivate some day or is it a permanent state of being?”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Evan liked it — read his review here. Ian, Jordan, and Glen all really liked it.

Well, THAT was fast. The surgery was a good 10X faster than my last oral surgery, which you can read about (complete with after surgery pictures) HERE. (It’s actually one of my more popular blogposts, having been viewed several thousand times. Apparently people don’t share pics of themselves much, and there is a high demand for such personal recounts.)

I also got to see a copy of my pathology report from the last surgery. “Squamous epithelial lined cyst with acute & chronic inflammation and histiocytic inflammation with focal cholesteral cleft dispostiion & woven bone formation.” “Consistent with radicular cyst” ( site devoted to radicular cysts … gorey pictures of someone else’s removal HERE). I didn’t get a chance to write down the diagnosis, though. A few types of thingees were ruled out. I kidn of want to get a copy of that.

//www.flickr.com/photos/yanivba/505065706/cyst in my left mandible removed before. I’ve had 40+ fillings. But no pain compared to this, not even when the lidocaine wears off and I can feel them drilling my tooth. (I no longer need lidocaine, which is really weak, because my prolapse mitral valve got better). I cried out twice, and tears filled my eyes instantly. (NOTE: I have a high pain threshold and generally win pain games like “see who can touch the bottom of the sink the longest while it fills up with hot water”.) Granted, my eyes ALWAYS tear up the second the needle goes into me, but this was waaaaay above that level. They would have streamed down my face had I not wiped my eyes 3-4 times. Having 4 injections in the roof of your mouth (which I had in the past) SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS ASSSSSSSS, but I would have rather had those 4 than the 1. I think I was injected about 12 times or so, but I couldn’t even feel the last 6 or so at all. And she started digging in RIGHT AWAY. A tug of war with my head and everything. I saw something come out that I thought was my tooth, but nope… I got to keep my 2 teeth. For now.

She said it came out all in one chunk — UNLIKE my last one. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it made for a quicker and cleaner surgery. It definitely still hurt a good deal when she REALLY DUG IN THERE and sraped next to the nerve. But fuck general anesthetic. People die on that shit. People go to sleep and never wake up. You have to have someone drive you home. And you have to fast (ironically, I haven’t eaten in 20 hours, mostly due to losing my appetite due to the pain).

The cost was $135, and they knew that right away. UNLIKE Dr. Pell+Kaiser Permanente, this Aetna-based clinic knew. I didn’t have to fight them for 6 months to get a $1600 bill reduced to $1200 reduced to $600 reduced to $135, like I did with Kaiser. The office was OPULENT in comparison. Let me say it again: If you’re given a job offer, and the job has Kasier-Permanente for insurance: TAKE ANOTHER JOB. Take a 20% pay cut to get off Kaiser-Permanente if you can. It’s not worth the risk of dealing with incompetent assholes.

So anyway, I am scheduled to return back the following monday after X-Day to get biposys results. Depending on what they are, they may go back in and scrape out more, and then I will lose the 2 teeth (that i’ve paid close to $4000 out of pocket since 1997 to try to keep… That’s $400 a year, or $200 a year-tooth. With 32 teeth, if they were all that bad, I’d be paying $6400 a year just to keep them. FUCK THAT. In the UK they performed experiments where they injected stem cells into the gums of adults who had losts their adult teeth — and they grew new teeth. At a cost of about $1000; cheaper than a root canal+crown. The lower-end dentists should want this, because the new teeth will continue to need fillings, and business would shift from high-end braces/false teeth/implants/dentures to low-end mom-and-pop just-do-fillings dentists. Of course it was pioneered in the UK where people have really shitty teeth.)

Perhaps the aneshetic hasn’t worn off.. but… I am actually in less pain than before the surgery. During the drive there, THROBBING started… I much prefer a constant pain to any throbbing pain. And the referred pain made my upper-left teeth hurt, and as of today was going all the way back to my left ear. I asked her about it, saying, “I know from my previous surgery here that it can hurt a lot after surgery. But it hurt a lot before, and that would have relieved the pressure, right?” And she confirmed my suspicions, “Yes, you’re trading one kind of pain for another.” GOOD. I could deal with constant pain if it simply moved to a different spot on my body every 24 hours! What I can’t deal with is constant pain that never changes. For lack of a better reason, it’s just boring (and mentally distressing) to hurt in the same way.

Will I have the crazy ‘nerve attacks’ that I had last time? Maybe not. My nerve was not scraped as much as my cyst removal with Dr. Pell. When he did it, it felt like someone held a 4th Of July sparkler next to my face, and sparks were hitting it. I didn’t quite get those same sensations, so I don’t think the nerve was affected. Which is good. The nerve attacks are twice as maddening as post-surgical pain. I remember saying, “I want my pain back!” Teeth falling asleep is a weird sucky feeling that made me rub paper towels into my teeth franticly for an hour at a time, just to make them FEEL something other than the prickly needles of a leg waking up.

I’m supposed to do cold compress, 20 min on, 10 min off, but I have never been able to keep up even 1 cycle of that in my life. Fortunately we have some cold packs from Peapod’s grocery delivery service. They don’t make a big mess like ice cubes, and don’t occasionally leak like a bag of frozen peas. Though I have to say, a bag of frozen peas works amazingly for a sore knee, as you can contour it to the shape of your affected area.

No new drugs. I have Darvocet for pain, which I’ve still only taken 1/3rd of a pill of. I crushed it into a powder and put directly on affected area as somewhere I read this might work. And if it doesn’t, since it’s metabolized in the liver, it will still get into my system when I swallow it. But the first time, I spit out the Darvospit, and still felt num in the area. But only for 5 minutes. Meh. I read the stuff is weaker than Vicodin. Whatever. I don’t like painkillers, but I might have to resort to eating one at some point. I’m on clindamycin 150mg 4xDaily until those run out. I can’t drink alcohol / smoke / eat hot food / whatever.

medical uses too!I don’t remember what they told me to avoid exactly; I simply remember the medical value of Wendy’s Frosties. When unable to use a straw, you can’t really drink a milkshake for nourishment. Frosties are thick enough to spoon into your mouth. Since I’m not good at applying cold to the affected area for 20 minutes (how can I type? I’d prefer to bleed longer! And I like the taste of blood anyway), so I will “eat” my Frosty by putting a spoonfull of it on the affected area. The cold is very soothing, and as it melts, it’s delicious!! And you get to eat too. Medical + Food + substitute for laziness with the cold compress, all solved by one magical “food”: Wendy’s Frosties. So I immediately went to Wendy’s and ordered 10 chocolate Frosties for $20.90 or so. They tried to talk me into having 6 chocolate and 4 vanilla, but FUCK VANILLA FROSTIES! I went inside and waited the extra 5 minutes. I had to rearrange the freezer to get them all in.

I’m still planning to watch Parasite Dolls tonite, even if I can’t drink or smoke. I might see Judy Tenuta tomorrow, depending on how various logistics play out.

Well… I haven’t eaten in 19 hours — I’m guessing that the jaw pain made my hunger pains imperceptable. I wasn’t sure if I was supposd to fast, but based on Angel’s comment, I guess I didn’t need to. Post-surgery, I’m actually hurting less (UNlike last time), and now I’m hungry. I bet those Frosties are more frozen now (they were a bit runny when I got home). I can hear them calling my name… (more…)

Well… My mouth hurts like FUCK, and triple ibuprofens barely help. I still have a high disdain for painkillers, so I got her to give me Darvocet instead of Vicodin. But I’ve still refused to take a full pill… I’ve crushed it and taken smaller portions. I really don’t like the wooziness of painkillers. And I need to be able to drive to the surgery. I took 3 ibuprofen immediately before the Dethklok show last night (which was AWESOME!!!!!!!), and the heat, noise, and crowd gave my mind other things to worry about. I didn’t feel the pain during the show. I didn’t feel it until we (Carolyn, Greg Z, and me) were hanging out outside with Beth B, Wayne H, and Shehab. Anyway, I know from surgery last time that it SUCKS. I was in major pain for a week, and then had nerve attacks for a week after that. Basically, when you scrape a cyst off of a nerve, weird things happen. The nerve attacks were worse than the pain. It was like the prickly feeling you get that DRIVES YOU CRAZY when your leg wakes up from being asleep. Except instead of in your leg, it’s in your teeth. And instead of being over in 30 seconds or so, it goes on for hours. I was literally rubbing paper towels in my teeth non-stop to override the nerve transmissions with actual stimulus. It sucked. I’m hoping that I don’t have to deal with that kind of crap while at X-Day next week, becuase that would really suck. To top it off, Carolyn’s car overheated from having near-zero coolant, and we barely made it to Dethklok at all. We were lucky. My car’s air conditioning is too sub-standard (I’ve been parking in the shade) for a long road trip, and now her car is deemed unreliable. We’re trying to talk a parent into trading cars with us for the week. I could take mine in for repairs, but with the surgery going, I will probably be in no mood for it. We may have to go to Carolyn’s uncle’s this weekend to get HER car looked at. She might just have a slow leak which could be driven as long as we carry extra coolant with us. We should check the levels this week. Judy Tenuta is playing at the Arlington Drafthouse this weekend… I might do that if nothing else is going on, and I can deal with the pain. I definitely need medicine for this pain, but narcotics just don’t really help me with pain. They don’t take my mind off of it. Anyway… This is going to suck. I hope it’s benign (it’s recurring, and they usually are). I might lose the back 2 teeth (the molar’s already gone) which would basically mean a visible gap in my smile with my 0 molars on my bottom left (I think in their numbering system, #18 is gone, and #19 and #20 might die). These 2 teeth already cost me $3500, and it’s all for nothing. The infection may have been due to my first root canal in 1997. I should just pull the fucking things. I like applesauce and hate flossing. Maybe toothlessness is the evolutionary future for mankind. My parents basically have shitloads of bridges, dental implants, jaw surgery, and the like. It runs in the family.

But this pain? It SUCKS. Fortunately I have a high pain threshold. For example, I’m insisting on being awake during the procecure. Well, I’m running late and need to drive there now. They never advised me not to eat, but I haven’t for 12 hours anyway because that is usually the protocol for such procedures. Ugh. Wish me luck. Esp. on the biopsy results.

Mood: in pain
Music: Alec Empire – Kiss Of Death (more…)

So yesterday I woke up, and my gums where my lower-left molar were felt sort. I rubbed it to feel it, and that just made it hurt all day. I stupidly didn’t even call the dentist, but just planned to, and got engrossed in things until it was too late to call. Today I called… I had to find a new Aetna dentist. Apparently there’s a lot more Aetna dentists than Kaiser-Permanente, because Kaiser are cheap-ass shitty motherfuckers who don’t pay dentists as much. My new dentist, Dr. Goldstein of Pinecrest, Annandale, VA, hasn’t accepted Kaiser patients in years because they don’t pay enough. But of course he says he’s still listed in their list of dentists, no matter how much he tries to remove them. My theory is that they engage in the deceptive practice of not delisting people so that they can claim there are more dentists in their network. Suffice to say, if I were offered 2 jobs — I’d probably take one that paid $10,000 less a year just to NOT have Kaiser-Permanente.

So I explaned that I’m going out of town for X-Day soon, and want to be able to exist an hour from civilization without having to endure a dental and/or medical emergency. They were nice enough to see me at 3PM on the same day. I sat down, took my x-ray. He did not like what he saw. He got on the phone with an oral surgeon and had me go directly there. The oral surgeon did a paranramic x-ray and said it’s best to biopsy this right away: Friday. That was fast.

The fact that this is moving so much faster than usual makes me think 2 different things: 1) the Kaiser system sucks, and causes you to go to slower, cheaper dentists. Or 2) Something is really wrong, it looks really bad, and they want to get a look at it right away. I fucking hope it’s not cancer or someshit, but when Dr. James Pell of Alexandria, VA, removed the cyst in March of 2006, I was told over the phone that the biopsys said the “tumor” was benign. Of course, I never got a copy of the pathology paperwork. I have to call tomorrow and make sure it can be releaesd to the new oral surgeon. I’m not sure what it says about his surgery skills if the thing grew back, but he managed to cut my lip while doing the surgery, and his hand seemed very shaky for a surgeon’s hand. Those are just casual observations. I’m not a surgeon expert at all so I’m not qualified to judge them. But nonetheless, this thing has grown back to a good double or triple of its original size.

The new oral surgeon has a much MUCH MUCH nicer office than Dr. Pell, and way nicer receptionists (Dr. Pell’s receptionist hung up on me, and they also messed up my insurance, causing me to spend 6 months fixing the problem). I still haven’t checked the new surgeon’s ratings out on Dr. Oogle.com yet, where I just paid $13 for a lifetime membership. The site has many dental ratings. Unfortunately the dentists suggested to me by my friends weren’t listed. Dr. Oogle has made it clear that some 1600 dentists have legally requested that their ratings be removed from the site. Thus, I will assume that no rating on that site means they might not be good dentists, someone reviewed them badly, and they had the rating removed. Much like being a contractor with no Better Business Bureau rating draws my suspicion, being a dentist with no Dr. Oogle rating draws my suspicion as well.

If this is cancer, I am NOT getting a fucking job!

need… stem… cells… (more…)

I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Yet another low-rated old comedy that we had ignored for many years, Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde garnered a whopping 4.2 on IMDB! But we watched it anyway, becuase there just aren’t enough comedies, dammit!

PEOPLE: Sean Young, famous for her replicant role in Blade Runner, played “Ms. Hyde”. Tim Daly, who we originally knew from Wings, but who we really remember as the voice for Superman in Superman:TAS (1990s), Justice League, and the post-cancellation direct-to-dvd Braniac Attacks movie (2008). And a small role by Harvey Fierstein playing a flamingly gay (of course) character who can’t understand his attraction to Ms. Hyde.

BAD STUFF: I believe there were a few small plot holes. The type of imperfections that are best not to dwell on, if you want to enjoy yourself.

CONCLUSION: There’s nothing wrong with this movie. It’s not spectacular by any means, but it provided a night’s entertainment. It gets the “generic pass” that we give most passable movies. I don’t think I would watch it again. Someone mentioned it was a direct-to-HBO project, if that means anything.

RECOMMENDATION: I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have an affinity towards the actors or plot devices used. (Which is true for most movies, so I wonder if I should even bother saying this?)

As I deal with my digital cam photos, I realize I waste time changing folders. That is, I will be in this folder:

p:\new pictures\2007_10_31_Halloween parties

…And then when I’m done dealing with those photos, I change into the next folder. In order to do that, I have to “Cd ..” to change into the parent folder, do a “dir” to get my directory of folders, notice which one the next one is, and do “cd FOLDERNAME” to find it. Now this only takes a few seconds, but a few seconds here and there will cumulatively add up to 24+ hours of my life wasted. So I wrote a script to change into the next parallel folder (nd.bat) and previous parallel folder (pd.bat). It’s soooooo much easier now. Deal with folder, type “nd”, deal with next folder, etc.

Why not use explorer? Explorer would have the same problem. Backspace to go to parent folder, visually locate next folder, and click it. And everytime you go to the parent folder, your view will be reset to the top, so you better hope your folder is on the same screen, or you will also have to scroll. Furthermore, I need to be in the folder at the command-line to run my flickr-upload-script-generator script. Anyway — go past the jump for the actual scripts. (more…)

We planned this for some time, and finally I remembered to bring my camera to work and record Kate’s reaction to seeing 2Girls1Cup for the first time.

Watch it here yourself: http://www.mfxmedia.com/Trailer/mfx-1209.mpg … Or read the wikipedia page.

In response to Slashdot’s recent article, “What RSS Feeds Do You Use?“, I decided to share some of the feeds and types of feeds  that I subscribe to. If you don’t know what RSS is, you’re really surfing the web in an antiquated way that only made sense last millenium. Have fun getting less information for more time, because failure to use RSS accomplishes exactly that: It takes you longer to get the information you want, and you get less information that you want, and less awareness. Get a google account, signup for Google Reader, and ask me to forward some feeds to you.  Anyway, here are some feeds I use… (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] I completely despised The Bourne Identity, finding it utterly pointless, and being completely unable to care about a character enshrouded in a mystery with no real explanation. I need to know WHY. I actually gave it only 2 stars on Netflix, which is RARE, as most movies get a “generic pass” from me. But The Bourne Supremacy explained some of these issues, and was actually enjoyable. As a completist, this makes it impossible NOT to watch the 3rd movie in the series, and it did not let us down.

PEOPLE: Matt Damon, of course. Julia Stiles, who I like. And they used someone who writes 24 episodes in this movie — too lazy to look up his name, but it definitely showed through. Maybe it was our mood, but it felt more like 24 than the past 2 Bourne movies had.

BAD STUFF: Nothing, really. The first movie f’ed up so badly in not explaining things to my satisfaction, but “3rd time is the charm”, as they say. I think this is the best yet, and am looking forward to the upcoming fourth installment in the franchies.

CONCLUSION: It was the most enjoyable of the 3. It’s rare that a franchise gets better with each movie, and even rarer when the rest of the planet agrees with me. (The Matrix trilogy and Saw movies are good examples of when I disagree with everyone else, thinking each successive movie better than the last)

RECOMMENDATION: Even if you hated The Bourne Identity, or even if you hated the first two — see this. It’s far better than the previous ones!

Given that I believe in natural selection, I have a theory: I think every sentient species in the universe goes through an awkward phase when the development of medicine causes natural selection to be halted, by allowing the survival of those who would have otherwise died. This changes the governing mechanism of survival from traditional Darwinism into Social Darwinism, where it is survival of the richest (and those in the best society) instead of survival of the fittest. Case in point: Genetically, we’re generally decendents of the richer people who lived in the middle-ages, not the poorer ones; they didn’t survive to reproduce as much.

Said awkward phase goes on, weakning the gene pool, as people who would have died in the old order survive and reproduce in the new order. Birth defects, bad eyesight, and other genetic illnesses propagate at a higher rate due to the people simply not dying.

Finally, all species that develop science must eventually conquer their own DNA or DNA equivalent. At this point, the science of genetics takes over. Once medical services are properly socialized throughout the whole species, defects like imperfect eyesite can be permanently ironed out. And to stop pesky mutations from watering down our DNA again in the future, natural evolution itself could be “almost” permanently halted by introducing error-correction code at a DNA level; first using parity, and later using more sophisticated techniques such as CRC checks. A lot of our DNA code is unused, and we can certainly set it up so that it repairs bad mutations.

Once this happens, natural selection has stopped, and even social darwinism has stopped. Once genetic mastery is achieved, the perfect being can be developed. Caution must be taken to ensure that peopel do not lose genetic diversity; everybody can’t be perfect in the same way or we would become vulnerable as an entire species — one plague could kill us all if we had the same immune system.

But there’s no reason everyone can’t be more or less perfect in his or her own way, and no reason that we can’t make ourselves a much more powerful species than we currently are. This may be the key to space travel and colonizing other planets: Don’t terraform the planets to suit the humans; change the humans to suit the planets. It’s probably far easier. (more…)

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