Friday, April 09, 2004


Yesterday the new driver’s-side mirror for my car arrived, and I put it on in about 15 minutes. It helps that I had done the passenger side one several years ago.

This morning I went to see my general practitioner about my perceived cardiac arrhythmia, and to make sure I am first in line for the autumn flu shot, and about my grumbly tummy. They are going to put me on a 24-hour harness to monitor my heart. I’ll be free to wander around but I will have electrodes on me. This arrhythmia is something I have noticed since I was an adolescent. It’s a bit scary but very infrequent. The grumbly tummy has been feeling yucky and full in the late afternoon, some days, and not some other days. It interferes with my appetite. I have a pal who experiences his pollen allergies as a painful stomach. But this is not pain. I already tried Mylanta. The ginger ale at 12:40 AM seemed to help (after a while). I think I may just be fighting a bug. [yucky bit] But it is also possible that I am generating more saliva than I should, and swallowing it without thinking about it, and filling my stomach. I think I remember reading somewhere that it can be a problem for people with ALS. But when I looked in the index of the Munsat book, “Saliva” is not even indexed! I got some GasX on advice of the doctor and took one for the heck of it. But since I wasn’t feeling the queaze at the time, I don’t know what it might do. This morning my stomach did not want to eat the raisin-bread toast.[/yucky bit] Or it could be all psychosomatic. Had headaches yesterday, too. And last night. Usually in ALS that is a sign of poor breathing. But we saw on the 5th what an awesome heavy breather I am. So it can’t be that.

I went to the gym this morning with the wife and kids. We lifted weights while they played in the kinderstalag. Actually she and they are still there. I completed a full set with generally 20 pounds less than usual, and fewer reps. Then I jogged back in the pleasant sunshine and cool air. Had a little snack just now.

I am experiencing frustration trying to capture my analog video into the computer. I am using the digital camcorder as a bridge between the analog and the computer. So far I am able to get exactly three frames from the analog machine (and by the way, they do look fuzzy, not nearly as harp as digital), and then the computer starts sucking from the digital camcorder. Oh, well.

While in Honolulu, I read Theodore H. White’s In Search of History: a Personal Adventure. White became a big-time journalist who wrote for Time magazine when Time was the CNN and Fox of it’s day. The story is most gripping in the beginning when he sets out for China and gets swept up in WWII. By the end of the war he is a big shot and goes off to Europe. He takes some hits for being perceived as a Lefty in the McCarthy era. After that the book is still worth reading, but it’s less compelling. He obviously had to have some kind of personality that made powerful people, both story subjects and media magnates, trust him. He gushes from time to time that some powerful person asked him for advice, which, in a post-Watergate era, I find annoying. And he constantly does this glib, pat, Time-magazine type summation of things. He boils everything down with an unassailable verdict. But the verdict always contains a duality. Let me make one up: “The people saw Leader X as a liberty lover, as fervently as America saw him as a dictator. Both were right.” The glib summaries were frustrating, but I read the book for the details and the stories. I am not sure whether to recommend it to you, dear reader, but I like it so much that I am buying a copy.

Then I picked up a copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel the Fates of Human Society belonging to Ronolulu’s lovely wife. This one is really cleanly and clearly argued. It’ so sharp. It won the Pulitzer. I can see why. The author makes plain to you what he is saying, why it matters, considers the alternative, and then examines the evidence. When we got back, my wife checked it out of the library for me. I am three quarters of the way through it. I recommend it to you, dear reader.

I don't have a library card because they make you show a driver's license to get one. Am I crazy? I understand the problem of lost property, but I also think that what you read in the library should be private. I fear Big Brother. Similarly, I went to buy some expensive Co-Q10 in the supermarket, and they had a 2-for-1 deal, so I went to fill out one of those club cards using a fake name (I had left my usual card with a fake name at home). I noticed that the form had a box saying that you are allowed to get the card without providing any information. I decided to give them a fake name anyway, but the lady just gave me a card, waved off the form and told me to fill it out whenever I chose to. I think they are starting to realize that 80% of people give fake info and the other 20% change addresses frequently. As my friend Storm points out, they'd just like to have a consumer profile. Which is why I think the idea of trading cards with people every time you cross paths is such a good one. And lastly, when I was at the doctor's office today they gave me a form to sign "for your privacy." A lot of these forms are coming at me these days, because the law recently changed to reduce your privacy rights, and the various companies want to get your signature acknowledging to it. However, this particular form has an option wherein I don't have to sign, and they aren't allowed to deny me service. The lady behind the counter said that if I did not sign, they would need to get my consent before sharing my information. She made that sounds like a bad thing. I didn't sign. Maybe the law says I don't have to. I should find out more about that law. I won't.

I have been enjoying pruning the trees in the back yard in the past few days.
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