musings

Rants, diatribes, attempts at humor.

The Five Stages of Back Pain

Having gone through the cycle of back pain many times, I felt like posting this handy chart to aid in discussion:

Stage Pain Phrase Response Activities
0 none “woohoo” charge around anything
1 tweaks a bit “oh” stretches and strength exercises careful lifting
2 twinges more often “hm” stretches, careful strength exercises, maybe ibuprofen no lifting or bending
3 angrier twinges, aches most of the time “not this again” careful stretches, ibuprofen no smiling or fast movement
4 constant ache and some stabbing “oh no” ibuprofen, cyclobenzaprene no facial expression or unnecessary movement
5 strong pain whenever vertical and often when horizontal “holy sh*t” above + narcotics lie and grimace

Fortunately, none of these last forever. Unfortunately, that includes Stage 0.

When are we going to get artificial discs? I’d like a whole new spine, please. read more...

Troubleshooting Rule #3: Is it working as designed?

Sometimes you start by troubleshooting assuming something’s broken, when really it’s just not working the way you expected. Put another way, it’s “working as designed” - but you and the designer miscommunicated, or disagreed.

Some questions to ask: read more...

Oscar 1994 - 28 November 2009

Oscar on the sidewalk

(the photos below and more are in a gallery of Oscar photos)

I first met Oscar at a party given by Mary Crinnin. I was playing guitar, and he came up and sat next to me all while I was playing. read more...

Manos found guilty

Manos found guilty
Jury convicts Ithaca woman of murder, abuse of niece, 2”

Life recovers.
But not completely.
Wounds heal into scars, sometimes beautiful scars.
But not always. read more...

Troubleshooting Rule #2: Is it turned on?

While troubleshooting, another embarrassing discovery is that the thing in question isn’t working because you didn’t turn it on. This rule could come first, as in some sense it’s more basic than Rule #1, but for the simple AC-powered appliance, you have to plug it in before you can turn it on, so I list it second.

Again, there are lots more useful ways to think about whether you’ve turned something on. For instance: read more...

Troubleshooting Rule #1: Is it plugged in?

The first in my series of troubleshooting rules:

A surprising number of day-to-day problems are solved when you realize that the thing just isn’t plugged in. Oops.

The obvious sense of “plugged in” is “plugged into the mains supply” - the AC wall outlet.

But there are many other useful senses to look for: read more...

Weber's Troubleshooting Rules

These rules certainly apply to electrical engineering, and software, but they are also basic enough to apply to interpersonal issues, group dynamics, etc.

  1. Is it plugged in?
  2. Is it turned on?
  3. Is it working as designed?
  4. What’s changed since it worked?
  5. What don’t you know?

Robot Taxonomy

Having been playing with various electronic gadget designs that might or might not be considered “robots,” and recently thinking about buying a Roomba, I was wondering what my own working definition of a robot actually is. Here’s what I came up with while washing the dishes. read more...

Eleven Roses

Rose #12

Clara and I often get smiles from strangers as we walk through town, with Clara riding in her backpack, singing and swinging her feet. It was a great feeling that she was so happy: just three days ago she woke up from her nap with a fever of 106 degrees, and spent a traumatic evening in the emergency room. read more...

Bad Tea

Do you love coffee? Or soda, or some other perky drink? Then perhaps you are annoyed now and then by reports of the health benefits of tea, with its antioxidants and its relaxing cultural traditions. Or perhaps a tea snob has extolled the refined subtleties of flavor it offers. So you know it’s a habit you should cultivate, instead of whatever depraved beverage or daily habit you currently pursue in the search for stimulation and/or security.

Well, I’m here to help you out. Because the procedure I am about to set forth will, if followed faithfully, allow you to say, honestly and with pride, “No thanks - I’ve tried tea, and I hated it.” read more...

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