Friday, May 24, 2013

Wallet Safety

I've personally never lost a wallet. I've heard horror stories of friends getting their wallets stolen on a train or all of their money being removed before the wallet was returned. And sure, my wallet has taken more than a few rides through the washing machine. I might have left it at a friends house or in the car. There was even once where a dog might have eaten it. But I have never lost a wallet.

Short of chaining your wallet to your belt loop or wearing a wicked sweet fanny pack (see below) there's not much you can do about protecting your wallet or hoping that it's returned when you lose it.

Not even Hulk Hogan can make fanny packs look cool.

That is, until now. 

Scottish researchers have found that having certain pictures in your wallet might have an effect on the person who finds it and whether they rob you or track you down.

The baby photograph wallets had the highest return rate, with 88 per cent of the 40 being sent back. Next came the puppy, the family and the elderly couple, with 53 per cent, 48 and 28 respectively. At 20 per cent and 15, the charity card and control wallets had the lowest return rates.
This essentially means I need a picture of my grandma, holding my youngest 2nd cousin, who is petting a puppy and I will paperclip it to my "Human Fund" charity card.

You don't even have success odds like that with modern birth control.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Podcasts I Like

I have time to listen to a ton of podcasts while I'm doing housework. I feel that if I can learn something or be entertained by something while doing some menial work like sweeping the floor, I'm better off.

I get asked what podcasts I listen to, so I figured I'd post what I listen to and give a run down of what the pod is.

  • Dan Carlin's Hardore History - This is only posted about once a month. It can sometimes be a few hours long, but is worth it. Dan Carlin takes really interesting stories from history and discusses them in depth. The last podcast was about a crazy form of torture, the Anabaptists take over of Munster Germany in 1534, and what a single spark (Martin Luther) can cause. 
  • Giant Bombcast - These are the bad boys of the gaming journalism industry. I say they are bad boys because most of them were fired or left other gaming institutions because they couldn't be honest enough. Thing about this podcast is, 50% of it has nothing to do with games. It turns into discussions of suburban life, ham radios, and food. 
  • Hollywood Babel On - Part of the SmodCo network, Ralph Garmin (a KROQ DJ) and Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, etc) deliver the week's news in Hollywood. Instead of the standard putting celebrities on a pedestal, they understand how ridiculous this whole sub-society is. 
  • SmodCast - The original Kevin Smith podcast. This was the first podcast I ever subscribed to back in February of 2007 and I haven't missed an episode since. Usually this involves Kevin and his best friend Scott Mosier dissecting film, news, and general geek culture. 
  • The Adam and Dr. Drew Show - Remember when Love Line was on MTV? This brings the two hosts back together. I like this better than Adam Corolla's podcast because Dr. Drew has a way to get Adam to shut-up when he needs to. They discuss relationships, sex, and politics from a doctor and a comics point of view. 
  • The Moth Podcast - This is a short story series. People get on stage live and tell a 5-15 minute story from their life. 
  • The Nerdist - This is arguably the weakest of my podcasts. The host is a bit of a comedy nerd and often times tries to drag the conversation to comedy. His guests are what make it. Sometimes you'll get a fantastic pod (Dave Grohl) or a mediocre one. (Bob Saget) 
  • This American Life - A weekly NPR radioshow put in Podcast form. Usually 5 stories, each one all have a common subject. One of my oldest podcasts. 
  • Wired's Gamelife - Another gaming podcast, but this one is hosted by a guy that likes all things that I don't: Apple and Nintendo heavily featured. This is so that I have a well rounded knowledge and hopefully prevents me from getting dragged into fan boy wars too often. 
  • Radiolab - This is another NPR podcast, but this one focuses on great stories often dealing with science. Lately it seems the 5 senses have been a heavy focus.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sending the Food Back

Sallie and I have been tearing through Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares as of late. After watching an episode where probably 20 or so plates were sent back, Sallie turned to me and asked if I ever had issues with that.

For those of you that don't know, I was in the restaurant industry for the better part of 7 years. I loved it. I was great at it. But not even the best ball player hits a 1.000.

There were three incidents.

BBQ Joint: We had this server who was only worried about how much money she made. She didn't care if she screwed people over to do it. One Saturday night, she let customers in 15 minutes after we closed. The kitchen had already moved all the food to the walk-in and we were cleaning up. At 10:25 we heard our ticket machine start printing.

She came back and basically told us to screw off and make the food. The manager was pissed, the dishwasher was pissed, and we were pissed. Because this lady wanted to make another $5, we all had to stay another 20 minutes.

We had to microwave the food they ordered and of course they sent it back saying it didn't taste right and was cold in some places. We microwaved it again and they said it was much better.

As a side note, this same waitress once pooped her pants while working. She was 48 years-old. No excuses.

Noodles 1: Lady came in right at closing and ordered shrimp Alfredo. I didn't eat shrimp at this time, but the shrimp we had wasn't very appetizing to me. It was cheap shrimp.

So she orders her shrimp Alfredo and leaves. About 45 minutes later (we had been closed for 30 minutes at this point) a heavy knocking starts on the front window. It's this lady and she's going crazy. The front of the house person had already gone home, so I went to the front door thinking they forgot something. She busts through the door and stamps up to the front counter.

She then opens her food and says, "TASTE THIS! TASTE IT!" She had already eaten about 33% of it and the food was now about an hour cold and contained the shrimp I didn't eat hot. There was no way in hell I was eating this. She said it was the worst food she'd ever had and demanded a refund. I went to the back and got our General Manager and let him deal with it. (Sorry Alann!)

Noodles 2: This is the only time I fought back. Lady asked for our buttery noodles dish. She was rude when she ordered, complained when we wouldn't give her free chicken, her kids poked our cotton candy, and then they went into the dinning room screaming and running around.

The lady then comes back complaining that OUR buttery noodles didn't taste like HER buttery noodles and she wanted something else. This is of course after her and her kids ate most of the plate.

I told her I would give him a new buttery noodles, but if she wanted something else, she would have to pay the difference. (The buttery noodle was at least $2 cheaper than any other dish because it was just butter, noodles, and garlic.)

She relents to the second buttery noodle. So I pour about 3 cups of butter into her pasta, cook it, and serve it.

She huffed off, not eating any of it and presumably never came back.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Results of Surgery (Now with pictures)

Sorry to keep sending blogs, but this is an interesting one. I went to the doc today as a followup to my surgery and got some cool looking pictures. I suppose you could classify the pictures as gory, but you really can't see much. There's no blood or anything. Really, it looks like someone took a microscope to a coconut.

So the doc is incredibly happy with my healing. The broken bone from two years ago lined up perfectly. He said normally that is what would cause arthritis, but since my healed so well, I shouldn't have arthritis from that part of my leg anyway.

His goal for my first two weeks being home was being able to move my knee 30-40 degrees. I already have 40 degrees. So he's incredibly happy with that.

I have to unfortunately walk with my brace locked (this is the pirate peg-leg walk I've referenced) for 6 weeks and I can't actively bend my knee, meaning if I am going to bend it, I have to do it manually by hand.

I also have to stay out of work another week. (Returning on the 22nd) The doctor didn't recommend I go back since I'm still not sleeping so well and I'm starting physical therapy next week.

Anyway, below are the pictures. What you're seeing is a close up of my PCL and ACL. They sort of run criss-crossed. The picture on the left is my knee before surgery. The one ligament is tissue paper and barely holding on. The second ligament wasn't even attached. It had fallen and calcified.

The picture on the right shows my brand new, nice thick, strong ligaments, or what every knee should look like.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sick Days

I'm feeling weirdly nostalgic for movie rental places right now.

I used to go to Blockbuster almost every Friday on the way home from school, just to browse around for 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I would rent something, sometimes I would buy  used game, but for the most part, I just liked wandering around Blockbuster.

But I think the main reason I'm feeling nostalgic for rental places is because it was a sick day ritual.

I didn't have many sick days when I was a kid, in fact I had sort of an iron man streak where I didn't miss school from 1st-4th grade. (I have the awards to prove it) And even then, I would maybe miss 1-2 days a year at most. But the days I was sick, there are certain things that would always happen. Rituals that still make me feel a bit better.

7Up (or Sprite) and saltine crackers. These are a must for getting me better. Luckily my mom went to the pharmacy on our way home from the hospital and had the foresight to grab both. I just killed off the 2 liter or Sprite and I have enough saltines to last me well into the summer.

I used to curl up with this ugly (but comfy) brown blanket in my parents room and watched their old CRT TV. That obviously cannot be replicated for that house is no longer in the family, that TV has long been trashed, and I'm sure that brown blanket is around somewhere, but it is probably being used to keep old furniture in a basement somewhere from getting scratched up.

And finally, and this is the most important, VHS rentals. Those ugly faded boxes, handwritten film title on the cover, rented usually from the grocery store. Even in sickness, the moment the tracking was off, I'd perk right up and fight through all the crappy VHS settings just so I could see Grumpy Old Men or Eraser in all of its edited for home use glory.

Today, I really want to go to Blockbuster or the grocery store video department, but sadly neither exist. There was something magical about choosing the films, standing in line, and having to rush the film back before you got late fees. It's something that Red Box, Netflix, and Amazon Instant just can't replicate.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's Been 7 Days

It's been a full week. Feels like it has only been a day or two.

Tuesday-Thursday of last week were tough. I was on crutches, generally didn't feel like myself, and thought summer this year was lost. I'm blaming the anesthesia.

We removed all my bandages on Sunday and it looks like I had five incisions total. My knee is of course swollen to three times its size and you can barely see my knee cap. But that'll go down soon enough.

I'm starting to feel "normal." (Whatever that means anymore.) I've been able to get around without my crutch (in my leg brace of course) but I do get tired quickly. And even though I haven't been able to bend my leg yet, I can tell my knee feels more right.

It's hard to explain how it felt before. It was like I had a functional knee, but I didn't. It was almost as if someone put a hard wedge behind my knee cap. I could move my knee, but the longer I walked the more that wedge pushed on my knee cap. Eventually I would feel like my leg was jetting outside and getting stiffer. As I got more tired, pain would creep in.

Now it feels like that wedge has been replaced with a soothing gel. I'm interested to see how my knee reacts to when I can start bending it.

I had my first outing last night. We went out for dinner with Sal's dad. It was fine until the end, my leg started hurting. It's hard to sit in those type of chairs if you can't bend your leg. Everything starts going numb. Then Sallie and I went to Target to grab a couple quick things and by the time we were done with that my foot was swollen and my leg hurt.

I've been able to get a lot of writing done that I've been meaning to do. I've just about finished a short story. I haven't written a new short story since college, so its been fun. Debating on whether I'll post it to my blog once its finished so everyone can read it. It might be a little long to read in blog form, but we'll see how I feel when I actually have an ending.

Also been talking to Brett about a game we've discussed developing a few times. I can't wait for his school to calm down a bit. (probably after graduation) Between his programming, my ideas, and Rosie's art, we've got a small development team. Maybe we can get something ready by the next console launch.

I might have to stay out of work another week or so. I'm still not sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time and often find myself dozing during the day. Can't really do that when I'm on the phones.

I also anticipate starting physical therapy next week. And if its even half as tough as it was last time, I'll be exhausted on those days and need to nap often.

I go to the doc Friday, so by then I should have a full update.

Until then, Let's Go Blues!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Post Surgery

Monday was perfect walking weather and I took full advantage of it. The sun was shining but not burning, the temperature was 60 degrees with a night light breeze. It was fantastic.

Tuesday I woke up at 5:15 am to head in for surgery. It was weird not being able to do my normal morning routine. I was ready to make breakfast and sign into my work computer.

I showed up for surgery and my insurance company failed to tell me that we were expected to have a co-pay. Luckily, Sallie had her flex spending account ready to rock.

Other than that, things went well. I was under for much longer than they had planned (something like 5 hours) because they found that both my ligaments needed to be replaced. They were about a third the size they should've been.

It was rough coming out of anesthesia. I remember being incredibly tired. There's a brief moment where I remember eating crackers and the crumbs falling down my beard. I remember being told I was going home and I remember all of a sudden being in the car and hating life. Apparently I was really helpful to the staff and Sal during all of this, so even in a drugged out haze, I'm a nice guy.

Then came the vomiting. I spent the rest of the day vomiting every time I got up to move.

All in all though, it hasn't been bad. I had to take pain killers yesterday and had a muscle relaxer last night to sleep.

But then I had these incredibly psychedelic dreams where humans were car sized and they were driving out of garages and eating everything and Sal and I showed up to a party that was filled with Sal and I in green coats or brown corduroy jumpsuits.

Basically, stay off drugs kids.

The pain has been relatively low. Mostly soreness in my leg and back. I hate sleeping on my back, so it's been rough nights of sleep. That will be the hardest obstacle to overcome when I go back to work.

My PS3 is on the fritz which is a bummer seeing as how Sallie and I don't have cable and its our only source or entertainment. It keeps overheating and turning itself off. It won't eject disks.

Also, the stump guy showed up yesterday. 6 days after the tree guys finished. Now there's a giant pile of mulch in our back yard and the neighbors holes are still not fixed. Might have to send Sal out there this weekend to as least fix the holes. The mulch isn't going anywhere.

Blues won Tuesday night. I saw most the important stuff. Well, except for Steen's first goal. I was nodding in and out. Tonight's game will be a little tougher. Late start at 8:30 pm. But I've been slipping in and out of coma naps all day today.