Need some advice on how best to cope with an old injury...

Several years ago, I messed up something in my rotator-cuff. It healed up, but somewhat clumsily, such that I often feel a twinge when I exert any strength in my right arm while it's extended above the shoulder. If I don't stop and rest my arm at that point, it keeps getting worse.

I think what's happened is that whatever scar tissue formed when the original injury healed has increased the girth of whatever tendons or what-have-you that have to slide around the bones atop my shoulder. Because of this, they rub against the bone and bruise & swell. When this happens, the swelling just makes the problem worse and there's nothing to do but stop and wait for the swelling to go down (which takes a day or two, more if I don't catch it in time).

I'm trying to think of some better solution than just leaving-my-shoulder-alone, since it's incompatible with my new get-out-and-exercise-more thing, which I hope to keep up.

I thought maybe I should ice my shoulder before work-outs... but I wasn't sure if icing a limb that you hope to use vigorously is such a bright idea. Isn't "warming up" all about doing just the opposite?

I thought maybe I'd take NSAIDs like naproxen or some such before workouts. But Zannie looked up some stuff on-line that seems to indicate that these can make your workout less effective, can contribute to muscle-soreness, and generally aren't a good combination with exercise.

Another option is surgery. For some folks, there's no real solution to rotator cuff problems other than to make a little more room between the bones up there for the tendons to slide around in. Maybe I'm one of them. But I'm hoping to try some less-radical solutions first.

Any ideas?
chairman (snooty)

Rottin’ luck

I’ve lately developed some sort of mania for preservation and fermentation. I’ve canned a bunch of soups and other foodie glop. I’ve got home-made yogurt in the fridge, home-made bread on the counter, and three different vats of stuff bubbling away in various other parts of the kitchen: oatmeal stout, sake, and sauerkraut. I’m not sure why this obsession has hit me now… a winter thing maybe, storing up nuts until spring.
soak (relaxed-beer)

There's something about dreams that disturbs me

Several years ago, in a dream, somebody told me a joke. It wasn't a great joke, but it was a good joke, and I hadn't heard it before, and when I woke up I remembered the joke and it was still funny enough to make me smirk.

Some time after, in a dream, a Ween song I like was playing over the speakers in some establishment or other. In the dream, in my head, I started to sing along. But I didn't know all the lyrics (I only knew the lyrics that I actually knew in non-dream life), so from time to time I would basically "hum along" in my head while Gene & Dean sang. They knew the lyrics fine.

A few days ago, in a dream, I met a friend that I hadn't seen since High School. I didn't recognize him at first, but he recognized me, and I scrutinized his face for clues while he talked about the good old days. Eventually he said something that enabled me to narrow down who he was, and then I recognized his face: Oh! it's Marc! A little less hair, a little more wrinkles, a little pudgier, but it's Marc sure enough.


My governing hypothesis about dreams changes in its more detailed speculations from time-to-time, but what almost never changes is the hypothesis that dreams are generated inside my own head by assembling bits and pieces of what's already there.

How can a dream come up with a funny joke I've never heard before? know the lyrics to a song I don't know the lyrics to? present me with a face I cannot recognize and yet give that face words to speak that could only belong to the person that owns it?

It seems the mind is vaster, more creative, and more of a trickster than I give it credit for.
soak (relaxed-beer)


Dear Friends,

If you feel you must post advertisements for politicians on your LJ, could you put them behind an lj-cut helpfully marked with something like “basically the same sort of horseshit spam lying about power-hungry phonies that the mail carrier is pushing through your door at the rate of about ⅓ of a rainforest per week these days”?

Thank you for your attention.
soak (relaxed-beer)

Brilliant stragedy

The Democrats are eager to demonstrate that Palin is an empty aw-shucksing Miss Congeniality without any grasp of the issues while Biden is an experienced policy mastermind, which is a brilliant strategy, given the history of U.S. Presidential elections:
Empty SuitExperienced Wonk
Jimmy CarterGerald Ford
Ronald ReaganWalter Mondale
Bill ClintonGeorge Bush
Bill ClintonBob Dole
Dubya the clownAl Gore
Dubya the clownJohn Kerry
(excluding the Carter/Reagan smile-vs.-pompadour race and the Bush/Dukakis dual wonk showdown)

Of course, up-ticket it’s a different story… But seriously, by now they should know never to underestimate what Americans will vote for.

soak (relaxed-beer)

Fail (to disobey a lawfull order)

First, a brief excerpt from an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle about a fellow who was arrested for hanging up signs lamenting the war crimes of Bush & Cheney:

They searched him and wrote a citation containing several misspellings, including “fail to disobey a lawfull order” and “demostrating without a permit.”

Second, this delightful T-shirt put out by the police union in Denver to commemorate their performance at the recent Democratic National Convention:

We get up early, to beat the crowds
soak (relaxed-beer)

What's up with the Moorlock?

  • jedipussytricks got one of those Kill-A-Watt things for us (PG&E will loan some out to you for free if you ask). I’ve been measuring how much electricity various things use. I’m an electricity n00b: it’s been a while since I took the one electricity-for-idiots class that was required of Computer Sci students, and I've long since forgotten the difference between watts, volts, and amps. I assumed a kilowatt-hour was some measurement of how much juice something draws per hour. Turns out it’s not per hour but, since watts already has a per-units-of-time bit built in, kilowatts×hours to cancel it out for an absolute measure of how much juice something sucked up — translatable directly to joules if you’re in the mood. But anyway, aside from that refresher course, I’m mostly impressed with just how incredibly cheap energy is. We’ve got one of those cat water dishes with a constantly-running fountain so that our Bowiekins can always have delicious fresh running water (he still prefers to smoosh his head as far down as he can in whatever glass we bring to the table). I'd been faintly embarrassed by the extravagance of it, but, as it turns out, running 24/7, it costs about 25¢ per month. It takes about 3¢ of electricity to mix, knead, rise, and bake a loaf of bread in our bread machine. Our rice cooker will cook a batch of rice for a penny. It's hardly worth adding in to the calculations.
  • I’m finally out of the +1 Girdle of Healing™ and I’ve started a modest (simple sit-ups) exercise regimen to try to get my back to stop complaining. I’m off the naproxen and the (“John Travolta is”) cyclobenzaprine (“in L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth”).
  • Estoy traduciendo “El Anciano y La* Mar” para mi clase de español.
  • I made a nice linguini tonight with olive oil, garlic, thinly-sliced garden zucchini, lime zest, and chopped mint. I don’t usually use mint except in desserts and drinks and maybe lamb. For some reason it’s not categorized in my head as a meal-herb, but it was just right for this.
  • Still hunting for employment, which is turning out to be harder than expected given the current economic environment.
  • Gave my blog a total make-over. It’s prettier now, and has some groovy features that make it a little more show-offable in the quest for the previous bullet-point.
  • Been living off the fat of the land lately. Last weekend, jedipussytricks and I went up to the Presidio to pick blackberries, which we then turned into two-fifths of five gallons of hard berry cider which I hope will be ready by the time of the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park. In addition, our backyard garden has been keeping us well-stocked lately, and I’ve tried to take some advantage of the seasonal vegetable glut as well. For instance, they had a 3-pounds-for-$1 special on almost too-ripe roma tomatoes at the local market, so I bought pounds and pounds of them and brought them home to combine with our garden herbs and some other veggies into gallons of pasta sauce which I canned and either pasteurized or froze for the damper months.
* sic
soak (relaxed-beer)

So what’s up with the Moorlock?

Cache Creek
  • My back is still hosed and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get better. I did end up going to the doctor, who prescribed me muscle relaxants and high-dose NSAIDs and said I just have to wait it out. In a panic on the day I was set to go whitewater rafting, I went out to get one of those back-support belts: basically a girdle, but black and with suspenders so men can wear it on the job without feeling like they’ve been caught putting on mama’s unmentionables. It worked wonderfully, and I actually came home from the trip feeling better than before I’d left. I’ve taken to wearing it pretty much all day now in the hopes that it’ll help me keep from reinjuring myself long enough to heal.

  • The book I’ve been working on for the last five months or so is finally out — American Quaker War Tax Resistance: from the 17th through the 19th century. This one has a more well-defined audience than my last one, so I’m hoping it’ll find readers more easily. I’ve been offering review copies to Quaker periodicals and bloggers in the hopes of getting some buzz.

  • Having been working on these books all year, I haven’t been doing the sort of work that pays the bills yet. And it’s starting to get late in the year. I’m hoping to pick up something soon. My usual source of contract work has dried up, and though I’ve interviewed at a couple of places I haven’t gotten any gigs yet. I’m hoping for something in the web-programming line, as I’ve been doing tech writing for a decade now and the software engineering lines on my résumé are beginning to look pretty stale.

  • Went to see Ubu for President in Berkeley a few weeks back. It’s a take on Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. It was a good way to spend some time outdoors with a picnic lunch in a pretty part of the Berkeley hills, but the play didn’t stick with me much more than an episode of Benny Hill would have.

  • I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Mostly dry stuff.

  • I’m looking forward to Shakespeare in the Park — always a highlight of the year for me, and an opportunity for tremendous Falstaffian gluttony. This year we’re going to the afternoon show on September 21st — it’s the sleeper play Pericles: Prince of Tyre. C’mon along!

  • I’m also eager to see MC Hammer (?) at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in October, and to see the new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park which should be open by then. Not on my list is Burning Man. Haven’t been since 2003 and haven’t been missing it much either. I’m still hoping to get some folks together for Xico’s big bulls-and-fireworks fiesta some July, or maybe some fiesta I haven’t heard of yet.