For posterity’s sake…

C’est moi, circa 1988ish, early in my college career. Many years and pounds ago…


I probably still have that shirt stashed in a box somewhere. I wonder if it will fit my son… should be a bit of room left in it for him. I was maybe 170 pounds in that picture.


A new old game for us boys


I’d been watching my son play one of his games last year – Battlefield Bad Company 2 – and decided I wanted to play with him. We’ve played a few freeplay shooters together before – Team Fortress 2, Combat Arms, etc. – but this game looked like there was more tactics involved, more actual team play… not to mention fewer hackers. So I ponied up the $10 for the game and installed it on my machine.

It ran much worse on my old Mac Pro with Boot Camp than it did on his hand-built Windows machine. So much worse that it was all but unplayable, even at the lowest possible settings – whenever I would get shot, the gameplay would slow down to half a frame a second, if I was lucky. Meanwhile, he was clicking along on his with all settings jacked up to the max without a hiccup. After a few days, I gave up trying to play it.

Until tonight.

I took a second tour through settings, fiddled with this and that, and still wasn’t having any luck. Then I did something that hadn’t occured to me before – I took the display out of native resolution. My display is 1680×1050 native hardware resolution, but I dialed it down to 1280×800 – still widescreen format, but far fewer pixels to have to manage. That’s all it took for performance to drastically improve, so much so that we played together for almost two hours with no problems. We flew in helicopters, drove tanks across battlefields… jumped out of helicopters and had them fall on us… good times. And plenty more good times to come now 🙂

Stabbed and electrocuted… for a good cause

I went to a doctor today that specializes in physical rehabilitation to see what he had to say about my ongoing neck and shoulder problems. (And after filling out the paperwork in the office that included a “color in where it hurts” map on the human body, the problem I’ve been having with my left arm falling painfully asleep while in bed.)  He checked my posture, and my balance, and my reflexes… and found that not only does my neck hurt, but my left hand and arm were weaker than my right. This was odd, since I’m left-handed. He said it looks like I have a pinched nerve in my neck, as well as a slight case of carpal tunnel in my left wrist. But to confirm this, he’d have to do some stimulation tests.

He left the office and returned a moment later with a cart and a device on it that looked brand new— in the 70s. Beige box, orange and tan and brown buttons, 9 inch green and black CRT… and what looked like a Taser on a cable. He got out a tape measure, measured and marked a series of lines on my left arm with a ball-point pen. He then taped a fat electrode to my hand, lubed up the prongs on the “Taser”, touched it to my hand, and started working a foot pedal. I felt a flicker of electricity in the palm of my hand, which then grew to a heavy press, then a full-on shock, and then my hand jumped off of the exam table.

“A little slow”, he said, scribbled notes on a chart based on the display’s graph, and re-positioned the Taser.

He did this several more times up and down the length of the hand and arm, convulsing my arm repeatedly, causing it to flop around like a dying fish. If that was anything even close to being tasered, you can count me out of it.

And then he got out a needle.

It was attached to a wire, and he said he was going to use it to test the electrical impulses in my muscles. I was going to ask how close in size the needle was to an acupuncture needle, but I was already a bit uncomfortable from the first tests, and was more interested in just being done.

So he takes the needle and taps it into the big muscle just below my elbow. Not too bad, I thought… but then he started to tap it, and wiggle it a bit… and then it bit into the muscle for which he was searching. PAIN. He flexed my arm, checked the display, popped the needle out, and moved it further down my arm. This again was repeated several times up and down my left wing, ending with two stiff jabs in the meat below my left thumb, which are still sore two hours later.

The doc said that based on the readings and reactions, that it definitely looks like a pinched nerve in my neck, and mild carpal tunnel. He said the physical therapy I had scheduled to start next week should help, and he also said to get a wrist brace (“But not the ones downstairs, they’re no good. Go to the medical supply store *gestured* over there…”), and to take 100mg of vitamin B6, twice a day, to help with the nerves. (That’s 10,000% of the RDA for B6. Good thing you can’t OD on it.)

Oh, and come back in three weeks, after getting some therapy… so I can be stabbed and electroucted again. That should be fun.