Saturday, November 10, 2012

Prisoner of circumstance

Poor Maui is confined to the spare shower stall, along with his food and water dishes, a floor mat and his own personal sandbox. His Guantanamo Bay experience is hopefully temporary, that is until he can overcome his incontinence problem. Vet Nair guesses that Maui has been under stress and isn't drinking enough water, thus contracting a urinary tract infection.

His problem explains the little droplets of moisture we found all over the living room floor since yesterday. But it was only when I carried him for a playful noogie that I realized how damp my hand had become all of a sudden. Ew.

Nair shot him up with two weeks' worth of antibiotics, but he still has to take a daily syrup by syringe. To encourage him to drink more water, we're starting him off by filling his dish with pet milk, which he likes and will drink. Overnight, we'll change the milk for water and see if that works.

There is only one suspect as to who has been stressing out Maui: Pebbles. The two boys really do not get along well at all. Pebbles has since been banished, sent back to the tender loving hands of M-i-L who now has to look after him when May is away. Pebbles is now felinae non grata in our house. Sorry, May. :'(

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Not the whole tooth

After a day to calm down from the initial shock, a more objective assessment of the damage is that it isn't as bad as I had imagined. Although I gave up the old molar for lost, it actually is still mostly there... except for about a quarter that's been temporarily filled in with spackle or whatever they're using. That would explain why when the dentist tried to show me the fragment that she'd extracted -- fell out, more like -- I was all like, "where's the rest?" to which all I got in reply was a mystified look.

The temporary crown has the consistency of sandpaper, though, and because it's the most unusual thing in my mouth, my tongue is rubbing itself raw on its surface. :p

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Unexpected procedure

This really is an update on today's post, but it deserves a spot of its own. Funny how things turn out. First you comment that instinct is telling you to save a grand, later fate tells you you're gonna have to spend two.

Perhaps I should have taken the bosses up on their lunch offer, but I decided to eat alone. Halfway through lunch, there was a loud 'crack' inside my head. I thought I'd crunched a bone shard, but my tongue found a sharp edge where I once would have felt a molar. That wasn't good. The finger probe went in next and drew out blood. That really wasn't very good. Broken tooth, no doubt.

Did a Google search on my S3 and found a few dentistries in my immediate area. The first was closed for lunch. Fortunately, though the second was also closed for lunch, the duty dentist was still on hand to look at my emergency.

I had big plans when I woke up this morning. But in the afternoon, my mouth was numb and drooly and I was having an unexpected root canal treatment to save what was left.

I'd heard about root canal, and it usually isn't described as a pretty picture. Here, there were charts pinned to the wall explaining everything. The consent form they had me sign listed some possible horror scenarios that could occur though the dentistry absolves itself from liability for any such eventuality. Tools breaking off inside the tooth requiring further surgery, for example, or infections setting in if the patient was negligent in following after-care procedures. None of this information is helping me settle my mind that I'M HAVING ROOT CANAL!!! But I know I will regret not seeking treatment more, so I sign consent.

Anesthesia numbs, yet there's still feeling where you don't want it. But the procedure went tolerably well and I didn't die of pain or other complications like I thought I would. In the gap, now there's a temporary crown that feels more like a blob of hard, dried putty where there once was smooth enamel. I bought a couple of painkillers for when the anesthesia wears off, but it's worn off and I don't feel the need to take them. There is a mild, throbbing sensation at the moment, but no real pain. Perhaps my brain is still hopped up on oxytocin and assorted endorphins, naturally produced through positive emotional stimulus, such as through scrolling pix of lolcats, etc.

Dinner was a sad affair of soft foods: a triumvirate of medium-sized whipped potato from KFC, washed down with a delectable corn soup from MOS Burger. Looks cheap, but altogether costs more than a regular meal at either one of those places.

Today's treatment set me back over $400, while the entire series was quoted at two grand, barring complications. Hopefully, June's corporate insurance can help me recover some of the cost, but certainly not all of it. Poor Mr L33t will so have to wait another year for upgrades.

If it ain't broke (but I am)

I really wanted to fork out a grand on a complete overhaul of Mr L33t's system. This after a year of procrastination. I had already researched what I figured was the best motherboard-cpu-RAM and video card package for what I was willing to pay... and didn't go through with it.

The same reason for holding back is exactly the same reason from last year: there's nothing wrong with him. He's decently fast; gets all my work done without breaking a sweat; and for the record I've defeated Diablo 3 on Inferno mode (the hardest before Hardcore where death is permanent) with my Monk character -- on a four-year-old PC. He's even up to handling my D3 Inferno farming runs at Monster Power [level] 2, though I simply have no patience to increase MP levels any further.

I may yet go through with the upgrade sooner or later. It's a consumer inevitability. But not today, not while a cooler head rules and the wallet is tight.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Spot this!

GP 2012 was a bag of mixed nuts. Let's see what questions I can recall (in no particular order):

  • Something about the functionality and beauty of math.
  • Something about the value of preserving the world's minority languages.
  • The protection of animal rights in your society.
  • Can violence be justified?
  • Should technology be used for financial gain?
  • Is the economy the criteria for good governance?
  • Can humour be serious?
  • Something about the donation of "suitable" organs after we die... though I can't imagine why I would want to donate UNsuitable organs at any time.

And four others that probably left no impression on me.

I do recall my first response being that if the kids prepared themselves by "spotting questions", good luck to them. These questions appreciate a broad, current coverage of material, and can be a lot of fun to write as they present a nice range of thought-provoking assumptions. But then, those who rely more on a cut-and-paste approach would hardly find this exercise fun at all.

For my colleagues who like to identify "patterns" and "trends" in essay question setting, the vibe I'm picking up from today's experience is that the paper is being designed to be less predictable. Guess Cambridge is getting tired of our cookie-cutter essays and is hoping to encourage more originality of composition -- for the sake of their own sanity, if anything.

Over on Paper 2, the discussion was music and its function in society. Even if we don't raise the subject of music much in class, hopefully the kids do listen to some music and can talk about that... though extending from the individual perspective to the social perspective is what they realize they have to do. *keeps fingers firmly crossed

Ah, well, it's over. Whatever the kids did, we hope and we pray that it was enough.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The name's Little, Chicken Little

After "Skyfall" can anybody really justify why 007, James Bond, is still on the British taxpayers' payroll?

Warning: SPOILERS follow

Let's do a run-down of the events that occur in this installment:

  1. Save Agent Ronson's life -- Ronson dies
  2. Retrieve stolen laptop hard disk -- gets hit by friendly fire, target escapes
  3. Goes on unauthorised three-month vacation -- MI6 gets blown up
  4. Reports back for duty -- fails every field agent test in the book
  5. Captures Silva -- Macao contact killed
  6. Holding Silva -- Silva escapes
  7. Protect British public -- subway disaster; Wesminster gets heavily shot up
  8. Protect M -- Bond ancestral home, "Skyfall", blown to smithereens; M doesn't make it
  9. Receive M's legacy -- gets M's favourite paperweight... and new boss is Lord Voldemort himself!

So, did Bond even get one thing right in this story? No wonder they say civil servants live off an iron ricebowl.