Thursday, July 29, 2010

Career Ending Injury

Here's how my celebrated amateur sports career officially came to an end - getting wheeled off the field on a stretcher.  Tuesday night while playing flag football, I was running a pattern across the middle when someone rolled into my leg, causing my knee to bend in directions it's not meant to bend.  I'm not sure exactly what happened since I was looking back at the QB and never saw it coming, but I'm assuming somebody just tripped and rolled into me.  What I do know for sure is that I looked down and saw that my right knee was dislocated.  My knee cap was to the right of where it was supposed to be and my tibia was to the left of where it was supposed to by.  I immediately grabbed my knee and shoved both bones back toward there normal location and they popped back into place. 

I'm not sure how long it took the ambulance to get there, but it seemed like an eternity.  Luckily for me the drivers went to the end of the field where they had to drive over about 10 speed bumps to get out of the parking lot, providing a lot of jostling fun on the way to the hospital.  At the other end of the field they could have driven out onto a surface street with no speed bumps.  The game was at Juanita High School and Evergreen Hospital is about 2 miles away so it was a quick trip there once we got going. 

Despite the fact that the ER was surprisingly empty - I didn't see anyone there that didn't work there and most of the employees looked a little bored - I was there for over an hour.  In that time they took my pulse and blood pressure, and 4 x-rays.  They told me no bones were broken but they have no idea as to the extent of the soft tissue damage.  They slapped a brace on it to immobilize it, told me not to put any weight on that leg and that I would need some crutches and could buy some at any pharmacy.  They wrote me a prescription for crutches and wheeled me out the door in a wheel chair.  My phone was still in my car, and since I don't remember anyone's number off the top of my head, so they wheeled me over to a phone and gave me the number for a cab.  Overall I have to say I'm quite disappointed in the level of care provided there for which they will no doubt bill my insurance company several thousand dollars. 

I have an appointment with an orthopedist on Monday and don't know how much more I will know then, but at least some more.  At this point I'm just hoping I won't require surgery.  Based on the diagram of the knee I found online, what I saw when it was dislocated, and what it feels like, I'm pretty sure there is damage to the medial collateral ligament (the inside part of the knee).  Hopefully it's not completely torn, although right now it feels as though, if I were to put any weight on it, it would immediately buckle and pop out of place. 

The good news is that as long as I don't move around much and keep that leg elevated, it really doesn't hurt much.  The real pain is psychological.  After spending about 10 minutes trying to get my sock off, I am frequently frustrated by how difficult it is and how much effort is required to do things that would normally be trivial.  I can't even go into the kitchen and get something to eat or drink because I can't carry anything while on crutches.  And thinking about the probability of never playing football again, and never being able to run without pain again is pretty hard to come to grips with.  I just hope the orthopedist I was referred to is good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Write Like

Recently I found an interesting web site:  I Write Like.  It supposedly uses a statistical algorithm to analyze your writing and tells you which published author your writing style is most similar too.  Finally a means to end the age old debate of whether I write more like Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss.  I won't keep you in any further suspense - I copied and pasted a recent blog post and the result was Stephen King.  This is a little unusual since I've never actually read a Stephen King novel - I've only seen the film adaptations - so I don't know if this is complementary or not.  Is the statistical algorithm trying to tell me that my writing is not very artistic - that it is more for the masses?  Or is it that my writing invokes terror in others? 

I had originally planned to test this site but haven't yet gotten around to it.  I haven't submitted the same writing sample twice to see if it gives me the same results or if it just kicks out a random author.  I also haven't submitted multiple different samples to see how much the results differ.  The one thing I'm really curious to try though is entering an excerpt of a Stephen King novel and seeing if he writes like himself.  It would be kind of amusing if it told him he writes like Danielle Steel or JK Rowling. 

I'm also a bit curious as to how big their database is.  If I enter an excerpt from the novel I've been working on - The Big Book of War - will it tell me it is stylistically similar to Sun Tzu's Art of War?  I can't find anything on the site which mentions how extensive their list of authors is.  It could be that every truly bad piece of writing it simply tells you is like Dan Brown.  It's kind of an interesting concept and I'll have to play with it more later.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


There's nothing quite like the reflection of a full moon off of Lake Washington, illuminating the entire lake in a silvery glow.  There's especially nothing like it when driving home after watching the Mariners beat the hated Boston Red Sox and their band of vulgar, drunken thugs who call themselves Red Sox nation.  Everyone I know I'm sure has heard one of my many rants about how much I hate those lunk heads, so I'm not going to retrace that territory.  Instead I will revel in the fact that, after losing the first game I attended this year, the Mariners have rebounded and are riding a 3 game winning streak.  I'd have to check the schedule to be sure but I believe these have been the only 3 home games the M's have won this year.  I feel I'm entitled to some kind of bonus.  It was also memorable because it was the first game ever for my 6 month old niece.  She didn't seem too interested in the game and she fell asleep for a few innings, but she seemed to enjoy herself regardless.  She looked a little startled when the crowd woke her up following Michael Saunders' majestic 2 run blast but from that point on she could barely contain her enthusiasm.  I believe Saunders is now her favorite player.  I think he is going to be a solid player for years.  If we trade him, that will almost certainly ensure that he will go on to become an All Star.  Here's hoping that doesn't happen though.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pretzel M&M's

Yesterday I went to the store across the street from my office and was coerced into buying a bag of the new pretzel M&M's that were sitting by the register for me to stare at while I was standing in line. Damn you product placement! Anyway after trying them I was disappointed to find that they are too salty and they don't taste pretzely at all (yes that's a real word), they just taste funky. I would say that they taste more like malt balls than chocolate covered pretzels, and I don't like malt balls so that's not a good thing. Making matters worse, they gave me a stomach ache after eating them. And since I was dumb enough to buy the big bag I still have plenty left over today so I tried them again thinking it would be different this time. It turns out that the only difference is that instead of making me sick, they make me angry. I am filled with rage with each one I eat. And so I give a resounding thumbs down to this product and a hearty boo to Mars for creating this atrocity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pray For Mojo

I doubt the validity of this article, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining.  Apparently the Taliban is experimenting in gorilla warfare, training monkeys to shoot automatic rifles and mortars at people wearing US military uniforms.  No word yet on whether the US is working with insurgent monkeys of their own, but hopefully some strategy is in the works to deal with this.  I think I found a new team name for future sports teams I play on though - the terror monkeys.  Or maybe the semi-automatic monkeys.  Either would make a decent band name also.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home Made X-Wing Fighter

This is so close to awesome, but I guess if this video teaches us anything, it's that you're better off purchasing a store bought X-Wing. 

Friday, July 09, 2010

Enough Already

The cliche that needs to go away is adding the word "much" to the end of a question.  For example, the most common occurrence is it's pairing with the word jealous.  Instead of just saying, "are you jealous?" the hipster doofus who is trying to be cool will instead say, "jealous much?"  Not only is this remarkably stupid to begin with, it quickly became over used and passe.  To the best of my knowledge, it's use has yet to incite a severe beating or even a solitary punch in the face, but it's certainly deserved.  So do the world a favor and stop it.

Being the generous kind of guy I am, I will not take away one cliche without replacing it with something else.  And so I offer what I consider to be a vastly under used saying:  Crossing the Rubicon.  It is so under used in fact that I don't think it can even be considered a cliche, rather simply a saying.  It simply means passing the point of no return and it's etymology comes from Rome.  When Julius Caesar, at the time a mere general, led his troops across the Rubicon River he was effectively declaring war on Rome since the river was one of the boundaries of the city and Roman law forbade this act as being treason.  So in crossing the Rubicon, Caesar was announcing his intent to seize power from the senate and could no longer change his mind without facing execution.  He had passed the point of no return. 

Now some of you may be thinking that I'm simply being pompous by suggesting a somewhat arcane idiom, but truth be told I first learned about it many years ago when I first heard the Journey song Rubicon and had to go look it up to learn it's meaning, and I was just reminded of it today when I learned of a new show on AMC titled Rubicon.  So for those of you who claim that television and rock music have no intrinsic value, put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Take Advantage of the Heat

The warm summer weather is here (for now) and so it's time to ask:  don't you hate it when you open your car door and get a blast of hot air in the face like you've just opened a furnace?  Wouldn't it be much better if, instead, you opened the door to a blast of the smell of fresh baked cookies?  Now you can.  According to the all knowing internet, if you've got 2-3 hours to let your car sit in the sun, you can bake cookies on your dashboard.  What better way to beat the heat than to use it to your advantage.  Sure, anybody can fry eggs on the sidewalk, but then there are sanitation issues involved.  And engine block gourmets can tell you that the hint of oil isn't too appealing.  Dashboard cookies are definitely the way to go in hot weather.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy 4th of July

As we quickly approach what is probably my second favorite holiday (after Christmas) I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July.  To me Independence Day means spending time with family and friends, eating too much BBQ and pie, knowledge that once the 5th rolls around it will stop raining and warm up, and of course - to quote the Simpsons - celebrating my nations independence by blowing a small part of it up.  It's just a good time.  Hell, we even had a pizza party at work today and I found myself smiling in the office for the first time since ... maybe ever. 

Anyway, a quick reminder on safety though, take a hint from this guy and don't make your own fireworks.  I would really like everyone I know to still have their eyebrows come Monday.