31 March 2008

Finally. Six Days Post-Op.

I (finally. FINALLY) had my jaw surgery last Tuesday. I am six days post-op, and I'm feeling much better now. I think I may even be able to stay awake all day, although I won't be running any marathons any time soon.

The constant grogginess and crankiness is something I'm looking forward to living without. I think that I have kept a very positive attitude about the surgery and the recovery so far, but I also know that I haven't been little miss sunshine over the past week, either. I decided to continue on the pain medication, even though I was told by the doctor that I didn't seem like the kind of person who would depend on it. I took his words entirely too far, and sort of stopped taking it when I got home from the hospital (they only kept me one night), relying on the Ibuprofen instead. You know, there's a reason that they prescribe the pain meds, and as someone who battled with a lot of inner conflicts to finally decide to take anti-depressants, you'd think I'd have finally learned that pain medication is no different than any other medication. Relying solely on the pills to keep me hazy and remove me from reality is not the same thing as using them to help make my recovery less stressful. It took me two days of incredible pain to figure that out.

My face is changing every day, now, and as the swelling goes down, I am starting to hope that everything falls into place without altering the way I look too drastically. I liked my face before the surgery, which was never considered cosmetic. My surgeon, however, is of the opinion that it will improve my profile and minimize the impact of my chin, a nice by-product of trying to stop the mind-numbing headaches and inability to eat chewy things. Thing is...I really liked my face before. Okay, so I wasn't in love with the chin, but I had never had to teach myself not to hate it, either. I just don't want to have to get used to any drastic changes. I guess I'll have a long time to wait and see, though, since the message board I've been using as support has indicated that my face will be changing for months, maybe a year. In the meantime, the thing that surprised me most as I was examining my face today was the bruising:

Bruising, Right Side

Bruising, Left Side

I guess now that the swelling has gone down a little bit, I'm more anxious than ever to get my "old face" back, which I just said will take a while. Then again, the bruising makes me all the more aware of the fact that...well, they took a saw to my skull...and moved a part of it forward. My face has suffered some serious trauma. And despite all of it, and whatever may happen in the future, I'm really really happy right now. I feel complete, like I just crossed a major finish line in my life. I may not have run any marathons, but I did cross off a BIG to do on my life list.

Next up, I can't wait to get these braces off, y'all.

*The funny thing about the bruises being a reminder of the enormity of what has happened to me in the last week is that they're the bruises that occurred from my wisdom tooth removal. Simple wisdom teeth bruises that 99.9% of the population understands because people go through it all the time. Not that my surgery was in any way special, out of the ordinary, or even particularly serious, but the thing I'm most concerned about is a side-effect of the most mundane and routine part of this jaw stuff.

19 March 2008

[People] Watching History Repeat Itself

J and I saw a pretty bad couple-fight last night. After they both stormed off, I asked him why we always had to be the ones to witness these things. I'm sure it's because before the wonderful days of anti-depressants, we subjected plenty of other people to these sorts of scenes (just in case anyone is uncertain, I was always the one causing the scene. Yeah, I'm wondering why I felt the need to clarify, too).

We had just had a great dinner at Border Cafe, and were standing outside the Harvard T entrance. A couple walked by, and the guy was telling [presumably] his girlfriend that she "should take his credit card, and...

...I don't want your credit card! Besides, it's my credit card."
"Yes, but I'm the one who is paying them off, so..." (he keeps trying to give her the card.)
"You know what, you can take that card..." She grabbed the card and threw it at him as hard as she could, and then put a finger to his chest and drew her face up to his until they were touching noses, "...shove it. Up. Your ass."

She stomped into the T while he picked up his the credit card and walked in the opposite direction. I couldn't tell if he was angry, frustrated, sad...or probably a combination of all the emotions in the world, except maybe the happy ones.

This reminds me of the time...well...actually, I don't remember details. But just yesterday while I was walking to Border Cafe, I saw a bench in Cambridge Common, and I thought, "Hey, I remember having a really bad fight at that bench." Sigh. Memories.

18 March 2008

Death Before Yielding

A very interesting article about the mentality of pedestrians in the Cambridge (&Somerville) area.

I found this buried in a comment section somewhere else, but I felt it was worth reposting here, both in light of yesterday and just because this is a subject of general interest.
Death Before YieldingRenewed efforts to ease the age-old blood feud among Boston’s drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians blow right past a key question: What if, deep down, we kind of enjoy the madness that transpires on our roads every day?

By Joe Keohane

I nearly killed a woman in Cambridge a few years back. I was driving at a reasonable speed through Harvard Square when she stepped off a curb and walked right into the street without looking. I hit the brakes, bringing the car to a hard stop about three feet from her. Since the woman wasn’t even in a crosswalk, I expected some acknowledgment of wrongdoing—a chagrined wave, a “my bad,” anything. Instead, I got a look that suggested I had just taken away her right to vote and buried a meat axe in her adopted greyhound. Clearly, I was the oppressor in this little tableau, and she, as the oppressed, was no longer obligated to follow the law.

The whole encounter was no doubt partly due to Cambridge’s being a monument to the ecstasy of fake victimhood, but it’s more complicated than that. This woman didn’t develop a habit of blindly forging into the middle of the street on her own. Something had to happen to make that behavior seem acceptable. My guess is that she, like many of us, had spent a lot of time marooned in a crosswalk with cars hurtling by on both sides, and at some point just said, “Ah, to hell with it. If you’re not going to recognize the crosswalk, neither am I.”
read the rest of the article here

17 March 2008

Look Both Ways, Then Never Leave the House

Update: It looks like they've made the identity of the victim public. It's such a hard thing to have had to witness, even after the fact. It only serves to remind us of our own mortality.

Someone commented on one of the articles, saying she witnessed the accident - that Isaac walked right into the back wheels of the truck while he was trying to cross at the crosswalk, possibly listening to an ipod - assuming that he and the truck wouldn't occupy the same space at the same time. This is consistent with a lot of the speculation and, sadly, the evidence I (and many others) witnessed. I have been caught off guard before when the rear wheels of a truck clip the curb and I have to jump back to avoid being hit. I also am among good company here in Camberville when, even while being a vigilant pedestrian, I stand [just barely] in the street, impatiently waiting for any opportunity to walk (whether it's at a lighted crosswalk or at an unlit one). It is tremendously scary when things like this happen. They're accidents. Simple. But how many times have we been lucky not to be victims of those accidents ourselves?

My heart goes out to the family and friends.
If you live in the Boston area (or any other metropolitan area, I'd imagine), you've probably done your share of jaywalking. Whether or not you're always careful, you've probably had a few near run-ins with some vehicles, and hopefully, you've always been okay.

The corner of Russell and Highland has always been this intersection for me, where the buses come barreling around the corner at (what feels like) 55 mph, regardless of the status of the light. There is no sign that disallows right turns on red, but whenever I'm watching this intersection I'm lucky if I see cars even pause before speeding around the corner, where the crosswalk is inconveniently and unsafely located. I want to go up to cars that actually stop and look, so that I can give the driver a high five. And on the same token, I want to smack pedestrians that just walk into the street when the light is green.

On the corner of Mass Ave and River street the volume of pedestrian traffic mixed in with the morning rush has made for some harrowing moments for me, too. The potentially deadly mix of man and vehicle was halted this morning, though, after tragedy struck. A 28 year old Harvard student was in the crosswalk when a Shaw's delivery truck turned right onto Mass Ave, and hit him, dragging him 25 feet (right in front of the subway entrance). The driver says he didn't see the guy. At 6:45 in the morning, it's very likely that the pedestrian had the right of way, and the truck simply made a (perfectly legal) right turn on a green light (the green traffic light and the walk signal both happen at the same time, despite a high volume of right turns. Stupid much, Cambridge?). Many people are blaming the morning sun. Could either one of them have paid more attention to the situation? Probably, but I doubt that any of us think like that when we're just trying to get to work - walking the same route we walk every morning. You shouldn't have to fear for your life when you have a walk signal. The driver should have been more cautious - always.

If your commute takes you to the Central Square T stop, it's likely that you saw this accident, or the grisly aftermath in some form or another. Unfortunately, Monday is the only day that my commute takes me to Central Square. I stopped to look at what I thought would be an exploded manhole cover (frequently happens in the area, unfortunately), or, when I saw the semi-truck, someone crashed into a pole. I never dreamed that I would be staring at the remains of a fatal pedestrian accident, thinking about how terrifying it is to watch cars blaze through red lights, or pedestrians walk blithely into traffic.

My mom always used to say, regarding right-of-way, that it's better to be wrong than to be dead right. I do honestly think about this frequently while crossing, but how many times have I bolted across the street to beat a blinking orange hand, trusting the traffic lights to keep me safe? It's enough to make a person doubly cautious, and even that won't do it sometimes. There's no traffic light that's going to protect you from the laws of physics, or someone else's carelessness.

Unfortunately, the Harvard student didn't make it. If you're the praying type, you should keep his family in your prayers. If like me, you're not, then just keep them in your thoughts. And be careful out there. I imagine sometimes what I would do if J were ever hurt, and it knocks the wind right out of me. And that's just pretend.

(edited to add: I got into an interesting discussion on someone else's livejournal, and he pointed out that the truck was going at a low speed, and the pedestrian got caught under the back tires (true, I also noticed this when I saw the scene). He made note that this could have been any kind of accident where someone was or was not paying attention - someone wearing headphones, someone tripping, a truck clipping the curb...so I'm not trying to make the point that anyone is to *blame*, but a person can never be too careful!)

14 March 2008

We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery

We Are Scientists have a new album being released in the UK (and most of Europe) on Monday. Lucky UK bastards.

The song After Hours is a sweet and catchy tune with the most adorable video. I sense a new addiction coming on:

These boys are the cutest indie rock band out there (Tokyo Police Club being the main competition for my heart, but I don't know...right now it's a toss up). Last time I saw them live, I swear the lead singer and I had a moment. Then again, it was probably the beer talking. Next time I'll just have to take off my shirt, rush the stage, and make sure.

If you're a little bit crazy like me, you can order it here. Or, you know...chance it and wait until it's available in the States.

13 March 2008

Like Ninety Percent of All Indie Films

While Listening to an Elliott Smith cover of Cat Stevens' Trouble:
me: I am 100% sure that I have seen Thumbsucker. Did we try to watch it together? Because of the Elliott Smith music? And then we just couldn't do it? Or was I alone?

Laura: No, it was with me. As I recall, we both fell asleep.

me: That's right.

Laura: Within ten minutes.

me: It really wasn't very good.
....or it was too deep.

Laura: or it thought it was too deep.

Spreading Their Filthy Tolerance All Over the Place

I don't like spreading hatred all over the Internet, but I think it's important for people to see things like this because I trust you to make intelligent, informed decisions:

The best(worst) part is that since she has recieved flack for this she issued a response (that was absolutely not an apology):

“To put this simply, as a Christian I believe homosexuality is not moral. Obviously, you have the right as an American to choose that lifestyle, but I also have the right to express my views and my fellow Oklahomans have the right to debate these issues.

“In recent years homosexual activists have begun to aggressively promote their agenda through the political process, often providing substantial financing to candidates who agree with their views, including many running for state legislative races. National publications such as Time, The Atlantic and USA Today have noted that trend. That is their right, just as it is my right to voice opposition to their agenda, which I have been asked to do at several public forums in recent months. That’s what democracy is all about. It appears some homosexual activists believe only one group is allowed a voice in this debate. I disagree.

“A vigorous debate on an issue is not ‘hate speech’ – it’s free speech. I have made clear my opposition to the agenda of homosexual activists, but I have never endorsed or supported any hateful action targeting individuals on the other side of this debate and never will. The fact that many gay rights activists claim anyone opposing their agenda is engaging in ‘hate speech’ says more about them than me.

“Most Oklahomans are socially conservative and believe marriage is a sacred institution, the union of one man and one woman, and that the traditional family is worth protecting and preserving. When I campaigned for office, I promised my constituents to stand up for those values, and I do not apologize for keeping my word.”
What agenda, exactly, is that which the homosexual activists are aggressively promoting?


Lord knows we wouldn't want any of that in Oklahoma.

12 March 2008

A Shiny, Pretty, Quiet iMac

I never really did follow up with this saga about my computer and its impending molten death.

After he found the potential trojan (which ended up being nothing, really), J cleaned out the whole computer with some virus software and then compressed air, and we tried to start backing things up before the whole thing went up in flames. I felt like I was racing the clock.

The next day, after a third sudden shutdown during an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, I had had enough. I was ready to throw the thing out the window. Instead, I sighed, and unplugged it. I flipped it over, and went at it with the air can again. This time, I noticed a little bit of hair in the fan, so I picked up a pair of tweezers. Instead of a little bit of hair, I ended up pulling out a dust ball the size of a small mouse. I don't even know how that much dust managed to get into my fan, but there it was.

My computer was instantly quiet. More efficient, perhaps, but more importantly - quiet. And no longer shutting down suddenly for no good reason.

Since this resolution, my computer has gotten progressively louder again, and is almost as loud as it was at the height of it's near-death. It seems the honeymoon period was over before we even got started. Stupid laptop.

So the long and short of this whole unfortunate business?

I'm getting an iMac.

06 March 2008

All American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret

Sometimes I know what the lyric is, but it doesn't stop me from singing what I hear:
I'll keep you my dirty little secret
Don't tell anyone or you'll be
Just another egret.