donation 112

I gave my 112th blood donation today.

They take half a litre every 56 days.

Someone asked me, “Is that a pump?  Are they pumping it out of you?”  No!  It’s not a pump!  It’s just a bag of blood sitting on a platform that moves back and forth every few seconds to stop the blood from coagulating, or whatever blood does when it sits still.  The heart is a pump.  It pumps it all around; and if you put a hole in a vein and let it out into a bag, your heart doesn’t know the difference.  It just gets pumped out.  No biggie.

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holiday outside the box (or inside the box)

Now here’s an idea that, upon first look, seems kooky.  Vacation in prison.  But, having lived in South Korea for many years, I know that work can take its toll on a person.  The busy busy busy, go go go, workaholic lifestyle wears a person thin.  Enter: Prison.  Well, a place that apparently resembles prison.

Prison Inside Me: Providing Koreans peace and solitude in a cell

One only has to Google “prison hotel” to get prison vacation destination ideas.

Yes, I get it.  But … what about self-restraint?  (Unintentional play on words.)  Book a simple place somewhere, without annoying people all over the damn place, vendors hungry for money, where peace and quiet are the norm.  Buy a tent, go camping.  Don’t bring your Winnebago.  Not even your VW Westfalia.  Just you and a tent.

Not the outdoorsy type?  Go stay in a small prairie town hotel.  Go to Cadillac, SK.  Or Fort Smith, NT.  Take a simple “cruise” on BC Ferries up the Inside Passage.  But I guess all of these offer distraction after distraction, noise, people all over, and / or lack of solitude.

Oolong

I’m drinking Oolong tea these days.  I did a search on Ask.com.  According to Caffeine Informer, the average cup of Oolong has 37mg of caffeine.  My Starbucks Americano (tall) has 150mg.  And their Pike Place – I was surprised at this – has a whopping 235mg of caffeine!  Good gawd.  So this is why I’m switching to tea as my “second cup”.  Eventually I plan to go without caffeine.

You probably don’t know this, but my nickname from way back is Oolong.  The Wife gave that to me.  Why?  I still don’t know, but it’s probably because it sounds like Allan in some languages & cultures.  Good enough reason to switch to tea.

Mom’s biopsy is today

Mom’s biopsy is today.  I was thinking of going, but Mom says there wouldn’t really be anything to do – just go and wait for her to finish.

I’ll stay here and do some maintenance on the house instead. I am digging around the rear of the house to stop the house itself from sitting on the ground and to replace the rotten wood that had most likely been there since the house was placed here. Lots of work.

50 first dates OR Sublinox

You know that movie, 50 First Dates?  If not, look it up.

You’re reading this for the first time, right?  Yes.  Well, me too, or at least I will be.  Telling friends & family this is pretty weird.  Here how it works.

I take sleep meds called Sublinox.  It’s an hypnotic made to help fall asleep.  But it has a side effect of inhibiting memory (storage of, for example, writing in this ongoing letter blog) until sleep is underway.  It takes about 15 minutes to work, and, during that time, I cannot study, talk on the phone, visit with family, nothing.  I can make coffee ’cause I know that’s something I do every night.  I wake up in the morning and thank the person who made the coffee for me.  All I have to do is turn it on.  Well, really, it was me.  But I just don’t remember doing it.

So when I read this blog sometime – don’t know when – I’ll go, “Oh, somebody has broken into my server, left a blog entry in my writing style, and posted it.  That was … let’s see … right about the same time I was getting ready for bed.  I wonder who that was?”

I can’t do homework because I won’t retain it.  I can’t have important conversations, like with classmates to get things done, for the same reason.  I can’t change passwords!  That would be bad.  About the only thing I can do is go to bed.

So that’s what I’ll do.  Good night, y’all.

feeling iffy and mouldy

Feeling a bit iffy this past week.  With the cold snap, getting down to -32°C (-26°F), condensation collected on two walls in my room.  With my bed pushed up against the walls and the storage area under (in) the bed full of stuff, no heat got back there, and this condensation collected, froze, collected more, and eventually grew mould on the bottom 6 inches of the walls.  I was headachy and hacking away for the good part of a week.  I happened to notice a little pool of water at the head of my bed.  Oh crap, where’s this coming from?  I pulled the bed back and found a black mouldy surprise.  It’s pretty much cleaned up now, but I’m still a bit achy.

The Stranger In the Woods, or ode to Glenn

I just finished a book that was given to me by the staff at Flexibility called The Stranger In the Woods by Michael Finkel.  What’s weird is that it took until the third-last chapter to draw a comparison between the character in the book, Chris, and my brother, Glenn.

They both escaped society and all its absurdities, couldn’t co-exist with people around, somehow found meaning in solitude, excluded the trappings of modern life from his own.

“He’s done some research; hypothermia, he believes, is a painless way to die.  “It’s the only thing that will make me free.”  (Page 182)  Glenn organized his things immediately around him in such as way that showed he knew exactly what he was doing – planned completely.

“Yeah, the brilliant man,” says Knight, “the brilliant man went to find contentment, and he did.  The brilliant man wishes he weren’t so stupid to do illegal things to find contentment.”  (Page 183)  My brother grew & sold pot as part of his income.  And, yes, he was brilliant, and he was trying to find contentment somehow.

I could go on, but I won’t.  The book is done.  Perhaps this is why Elma chose this book.  Thank you, Elma.  I get it.

last day of classes, mice, magazines, & banjos

As the title of this journal entry states, today is the last day of classes for this term.  I did my final exams for STS-2260 Statistics / Applied Research I and EDD-2268 Architectural Design II.  The goofy thing is that I think I did much better in my weaker subject, Stats, than I did in the one that gets my blood going, Architecture.  But we shall see.  My other two classes – ENF-2250 Fluid Mechanics and EDD-2255 Process Design I.

I got a subscription at the suggestion of my Architecture prof – Fine Homebuilding.  I haven’t gotten my first issue yet, but they did offer a free two-week online subscription.  Nice, except that I can’t print, can’t store it for later, and can’t get past page 32 of the issue.  I also asked my prof about a magazine I read ages ago called Architectural Digest.  His idea is that it isn’t what it used to be but is still an interesting read about various architecture of well-to-do folk around the world.  But I’m more interested in ideas and such that will help me in the ordinary-folk architectural world.

I’m finding it hard to play the banjo and use a normal (i.e. cheap) mouse.  Why?  Ages ago, on my 16th birthday, I guy hit me and Ron Ripley while we were crossing the street on our bicycles.  His leg was broken and fingertip torn off, and my hand was broken.  To this day, my right ring finger bends somewhat toward my middle finger when curled.  I got a new mouse – the CAD Mouse from 3D Connexion – and even put racing stripes on it, allowing me to speed up my Revit, CAD, & Inventor use.  If only putting racing stripes on my banjo would help me play faster and better.

Sundry things:

Tomorrow I’m getting an oil change for my little Kia, pulling the forms off our experimental concrete blocks, and giving blood.

calm after the storm

Things are settling down now.  I’ve been on my ulcer meds for about two weeks.  Only one somewhat nasty attack during that time.  I’m happy for that.  The doc said the third time I get this there’d be some major s*** to deal with.  I’m hoping this is not the case.

There’s a kind of calm these days.  I can feel it about here and there.  Instructors are not as go-go-go as in the past, no work stress to deal with, no wondering how Father is doing, Mom is doing better these days (made gravy for Sunday’s turkey dinner), Floyd has no issues to speak of, friends (most) are understanding of the various things that have gone down, and the yearly Hell is gone (Pete knows all about this).  Calm before the storm?  No, after.  Feels good.  (Knock on wood.)

I’m not as behind in classes as I was.  I’m actually ahead in one but behind in another.  The rest are good.

I fixed my stereo.  …  Ha!  They don’t call them stereos anymore, do they?  My home entertainment system.

The fan had been making noise, so I cut it out with some metal snips.  In the process, I ended up destroying it.  I just wanted to squirt some WD40 into it.  So much for that.  So I duct-taped a computer fan with a limiter to it.  It seems to work just fine.  A bit overkill, but it is quieter than before.

My little Fujitsu also developed a problem.  A ribbon cable controlling the power supply broke.  I ordered a new used one online and put it in.  It took some monkeying, but it’s working now.  It’s now 12 years old, so it doesn’t compete with today’s computers, but it does make a good background music player.  “Ghibli” on “Study jazz” on YouTube.  Kevin introduced this to me during our final week of last term’s studying.  Look it up – unless you’re allergic to jazz.