Journal Entries

NaJoPomus Interruptus

I'll resume writing journals when I feel better and emerge from antibiotic side-effects.

Discuss this Journal entry [4]

Latest reply: Nov 8, 2014

Lil's NaJoPoMo #5 - Slang

There are times when you feel conspired against, when paranoia seems justified. This is one of those nights. Ladera's wifi went down just at midnight, and nobody on the graveyard shift knows how to reset a router, let alone knows where the router is, let alone knows what a router is. So I can't publish the journal I had planned. Or read other researchers' journals. Or check my email. Or browse the news.

Worst of all, I find that the new kindles are cloud-based. With the old ones, you turned on the whispernet and all your purchases downloaded automatically. With the Fire, only the book covers download. You actually have to click on the cover to get the content. So I have no wifi and nothing to read!

Well, on with the show.

Something Icy said got me thinking about slang. I would like to know whether teeners still have their own slanguage -- those with children should be able to answer this. It seems to me that the internet and the fact that family members can and do "friend" each other on Facebook and other such watering holes should make slang transparent across generations almost immediately. Also, I wonder whether there is something about textspeak that militates against creative wordplay, out of which slang words are usually born.

Not long ago, I was talking with an aide, a woman in her late twenties, and I finished my thought by saying, "...but I guess they put the kibosh on that." And I saw a brief flicker of incomprehension in her eyes. Oh no, I thought, I just used dated slang! I have proof of oldness: I speak that variant of English known as "out of fashion." When I was still in high school my mother would frequently criticize my hair and tell me I looked like the Wild Woman of Borneo. I assumed this was a quasi-goddess creature from south-east Asia with an origin myth about unmanageable hair, but it turns out the source was closer to home. In ~her~ youth, my mother evidently saw a movie called "The Wild Women of Borneo." A poster of the period (the 1940's) shows white women with lush figures, langorous poses, and long hair. Anyway, I still use the expression. Nobody has really understood me till now, when I have explained all.

"To put the kibosh on" has a mysterious history, by the way. Its first recorded appearance is in a London newspaper from the early 1800's, in an article concerning the trial of some young street sweepers. They had been protesting a new law that curtailed some of their commercial activities. The account replicated the boys' pronunciation as well as reporting what they said verbatim, and they used the phrase "put the kibosh on" exactly as we do today. Nobody knows for sure what a kibosh is, but there are some entertaining theories. The most plausible etymology I found was proposed by an Irish author; he suggests that 'kibosh' is a corruption of a Gaelic phrase that means 'cap of death.'

I like that. It fits. It makes me think of the cloth that an English judge traditionally would place on his head before pronouncing a death sentence.

Discuss this Journal entry [7]

Latest reply: Nov 6, 2014

Lil's Najopomo #4 - Everyone's a Bureaucrat

The Social Security Administration has written to inform me that on this, my imminent 66th birthday, I am being switched from disability to retirement income, a change that does not make a single penny's worth of difference to my monthly mite. In the letter, they state, "Based on the information given to us, you were born on November 7, 1948."

What's wrong with this sentence?

In other news, I still am blocked from viewing my own website. The young woman tasked with following up on this matter came to me yesterday asking me to write down my website address, including the "H T something", as ordered to do so by the tech support humon to whom she spoke. Really? And yet it is not permitted for me, the prole in the long-term slot, to address MIS directly. They get two more days and then I'm taking the issue to Facebook and Twitter.

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Latest reply: Nov 5, 2014

Lil's Najopomo #3 - Violation!

I haven't done anything with my website in a long time, but now that I have Brackets installed, now that I am well into creating images for a new 3D project, and now that we're doing the NaJoPoMo... well, I thought I'd click in and see how it looks on a tablet.

Imagine my surprise when I tried to go to and instead found myself looking at a screen that said WEB VIOLATION! Genesis Health Care Corporation has blocked this web page.
The reason given was that the site is unrated. WTF? I built, tested and published my website while at Ladera (which is why it doesn't look that great), and never had a problem viewing any page.

A bit of ferkling revealed that I could still ~manage~ the site. I can get to the control panel and upload stuff after I've viewed the page using my IDE (integrated development environment). I just can't look at the site onlne.

Pastey looked at the problem and opined that the Genesis web filther is at fault. That my web site is unrated means that their spider, the bot that finds and evaluates web sites, is not working. Unrated means my website is moderated until a decision is reached about its acceptability. Therefore the thing to do is contact Genesis HCC's IT. Well, that's not permitted. I had to explain the problem to the non-technical-minded concierge, who herself called MIS, and was issued a Support Issue Ticket. I'm now in the Issues Queue.

Milla looked at my website and found it to be clean, unhacked: she did this while she was in China. Hey, if you can access a website in China, you should be able to access it anywhere, yeah? Well, not if your wifi is brought to you by GenesisHCC. It makes me feel faintly guilty, as if I'm peddling smut or fomenting nursing home unrest. Unrest Homes!

I will post news about my ticket as soon as I hear anything.

Discuss this Journal entry [8]

Latest reply: Nov 3, 2014

Lil's Najopomo #2 - Hallucinations

I've been an ardent reader of Oliver Sacks ever since "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" came out. He has a great talent for describing complex neurological problems in layman's language. That book introduced us to the weird world of right-brain deficits.

Last month I was sent out to Presbyterian Hospital, or Prez as the staff call it. I arrived on Sunday evening and was back at Ladera (at my strong insistence) by Wednesday night. I'll write about the whole experience later, but I want to focus on one particular event in this journal.

Wednesday morning at about 2 a.m. I awoke very suddenly to find the whole world trembling. Well, it wasn't the whole world, of course, but had the bed sprouted a massage feature? No, it was just me, trembling. My legs were trembling.
My legs!! My legs, which have shown all the movement of a large boulder since 2009, were trembling. I actually raised my head, looked down (I was lying on my left side) and exclaimed, "What are you guys ~doing~?"

I was expecting the charge nurse at 2 to come and give me a heparin shot, so I lay back, closed my eyes and processed the experience. Occasionally I have experienced a mild proprioceptive hallucination in which I can twirl my feet from the ankles but the experience fades quickly as if the muscles grow tired. So I decided to see whether I could do the twirling thing, to ride this trembling thing, as it were.

Well, holy smiley - bleep! I actually grabbed hold of the bed rail to keep from flying off the bed as my brain seized the opportunity. Of course nothing was happening in reality, but my sense of the matter was that the legs were windmilling as if I were swimming or dancing madly. Let's not do that any more, I suggested to amygdala, but the brain was off and running. I lay there with my eyes closed as my legs strode across the world in huge Paul-Bunyanesque leaps. My legs became a river flowing away from me. They slithered off the side of the bed and formed celtic knots.

It was a trip, man.

The charge nurse was only politely interested in my exhilarated description of the experience; she administered the shot, threw a blanket over me, and went away to her next task. I grabbed my kindle and opened Oliver Sacks' book "Hallucinations" to see whether my little trip fitted into any of the categories into which he divides hallucinatory experiences.

And there it was, a subdivision of phantom limb weirdness. My legs suffer from a reflex paralysis, what we call paraplegia. Yesterday, when I was suffering from major chills, I asked the nurse whether my legs were moving: they were not. The chills were from the waist up only. But the coldness of that hospital room induced shivering, and somehow my brain was aware of the movement and used it to generate phantom gestures, imperfectly remembered skills like walking or sitting up on the side of the bed.

I'm tempted to suggest that my legs be packed with ice bags, to see whether the experience can be duplicated.

Discuss this Journal entry [4]

Latest reply: Nov 2, 2014

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