Monday, August 29, 2011

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

Have you ever been such good friends with someone that you find yourselves knowingly finishing one another's sentences; since you can accurately predict what it was they were going to say and it's all very surreal and reassuring because it makes you feel loved and understood? This is actually nothing like that.

Google has recently decided to start guessing what I'm going to search for. Its guesses are based on no clear pattern I can identify. It certainly is not using previous search inquiries or things I like, such as octopodes or tulips or robots. With every letter I input it just randomly starts adding letters of its own. Sometimes even whole sentence fragments. Like a terrible game of charades or hang-man or some other game based completely on guessing at random (Wheel of Fortune, I'm looking at you).

This makes even the simplest of searches unnecessarily complicated as I spazz out in a desperate attempt to backspace so that my completely innocent intent to look up, "manatees bumping into things," (you're welcome) doesn't spiral out of control into a search for, "man eats himself one bite at a time." Or something equally unrelated and probably bad.

I know there are settings I can go into to turn this feature off, but here's the problem: it never stays off. It turns itself back on out of the blue all of the time. Not simply if I restart or close the tab or crash my browser. No. All the time. I can turn it off as I'm searching and it will turn back on as soon as I begin to type again. Just to %#@& with me.

This is what happened to me earlier today when Aaron asked me if I would mind if he turned my corpse into a diamond if I died first (the answer was no, I don't mind). Then out of curiosity I wanted to find out how big of a diamond a human body could make. Bigger than a breadbox? I don't god damned know because Google hijacked my search and I looked up this instead:
What the hell?
How many women die in childbirth carbon? That doesn't even make sense! What makes even less sense is that two of the returned results are purple, suggesting that I have been to them before. Apparently on the 31st of last month. But I haven't. I'm not even sure how one would come up with the idea of looking up, "how many women die in childbirth carbon" all on their own, had Google not forced it upon them. The only logical conclusion is that Google is an emergent A.I. and we aren't long for this world.

Furthermore, those statistics are kind of frightening. A woman dies in childbirth every minute? FFS, we can clone eachother and walk around on the moon, why are we still dying having babies?

P.S. I do not live in North Highlands, CA. I do not know why Google thinks I do.

P.P.S. Seems like the max size for a human-diamond is 1.5ct.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friendly Reminder About Being Human

Everyone knows that being the moderator of a website is a thankless job. In fact, it's often the opposite of thankful. Forum denizens are caustic assholes, more often than not, and the fact that you have the audacity to make them adhere to any sort of rules which prevent them from being just that makes them angry. When it's for a gaming website, the potential for nerd rage grows exponentially.

I'd say, compared to my peers, I get relatively few hate mails about my modding. That said, I also don't get many love mails either. My inbox is often filled with random people posturing to try to get on my good side, a few honestly friendly individuals, and the rest are all people confused about something or another.

This is why I rarely bring it up. Everyone knows that the internet is like The Crow; where there are 3 or 4 good guys and everyone else is for some reason a malicious sadist if they aren't completely oblivious. The bad guys are numerous but they aren't actually evil, they're just assholes.

When I post on the forum I moderate, I act like any other user. Despite that I can lock your thread, or have you banned. Why? Well, because even though I can do those things when needed, I am just another member of the community. And since it's my duty to at least have a look into every thread posted, every now and then I encounter someone who could really, truly use my help.

I say that loosely. They could use anyone's help, certainly. But getting sincere help from another human on the internet isn't easy to do. Most people will either jokingly tell you to kill yourself or regurgitate memes until their fingertips are raw. No one likes to acknowledge, for one reason or another, that the people they're talking to online are actual people. People with lives that may or may not be crappier than their own.

This is why no matter how unlikely the case may be when it presents itself, I always, always respond constructively. You know, actually try to help someone in need. Whether it may just be a cry for attention or not. People cry out for attention for a reason afterall. After losing a friend to suicide, I can say with all certainty that they won't always seek help from someone they know face-to-face.

It's to that end I bring you this story. Some time ago, a member of the GT community came to me seeking advice. Their life was in a bad place at the time and they didn't know what to do. I offered them advice, as I would anyone else seeking it, and proceeded to corresponded with them a few times over the next couple of weeks. When things seemed alright, I walked away and almost had forgotten all about it. Even knowing what I know about anonymity and an audience, I didn't consider what I did anything out of the ordinary.

Today, after having not logged on in over 3 months (RL gets in the way of moderating sometimes), I had a message in my inbox. The name wasn't immediately familiar. When I opened it, I was shocked. But in a good way. I'd apparently done more than I even knew, and I wasn't even aware of the magnitude of their situation. I was just doing something unheard of on the internet: being nice.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Holy Potatoes! Did You Hear That?

As someone who hears on average, less than 30% of the sounds one normally hears in their day, I am often startled by hearing something I didn't think I'd be able to. Which makes me look like a weirdo to onlookers who either do not know I'm deaf to begin with, or for some reason believe that hearing aids cure deafness. They do in fact not cure deafness. I'm not sure why people seem to think they do, but they do not. Just had to take a moment of time to clear that up for everyone.

My hearing aid improves my environmental awareness, certainly,  and I hear a lot more than I otherwise would without it, but I still do not hear everything. Without my hearing aid I'd say I can faintly hear about 5% of the sounds one normally hears in their day. With it I hear about +25% more sounds, granted some of them are still indecipherable. It more or less gives me a greater sense of where a sound may be coming from. Making it less likely I will get hit by a car... or a train.

So when I am walking along and suddenly an eagle cries out from above me (something you don't hear often to begin with), I may jump -- startled. Not because I have a strange fear of eagles but because I had not anticipated the sound. Even if I see something I know will make a sound should I step on it (crunchy leaf), or bump into it (tall hedges), or even simply pass it by (unruly dog), I'm still startled when it makes a sound and I hear it. Because I am used to the world being a very quiet place.

So this morning, when I bumped a paper bag which had fallen under my desk with my foot and it made a sound, I recoiled in fear. Not because paper bags are terrifying but because first of all, I didn't even know it was down there and second of all I rarely ever hear paper make a sound anymore. Which had to look funny and/or retarded because Aaron was like, "What the hell?" and giving me a weird look. Then I had to explain to him what had happened and why it had happened, even though I'm pretty sure he understands, just to placate my own mind about why I overreacted to a paper bag.

This gave me the idea to just explain it to everyone simultaneously, so that I do not feel obligated to explain it to you when it undoubtedly happens again at some point in your presence. I am not scared of mundane objects. I promise!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Playing Catch Up

So where to begin? The State Fair seems as good a place as any. We had a super fun time at the California State Fair. The first year it was just Aaron and I, which was magical. This year we went with Jon, Josh, Sean, and Sean's lady-friend Amanda and had a great time. I sprained my ankle mysteriously the week prior, so I was a little concerned I may not be able to go at all. Vicodin saw me through it.

The day after we all got together for drinks and a game of Arkham Horror. It being Amanda's first time, she got to choose the Old One that would seal our fate. She blindly chose Cthulu. Oh noes! Much to our surprise, we did actually did really well. The terror track barely rose at all and thanks to Josh's suicide bombings, we wound up winning the game. Against Cthulu. /flex

That paragraph likely only meant anything to about five of you, so for everyone else I apologize.

So about my ankle then...

Several weeks ago my ankle began to hurt. At the time I thought, "My, this is uncomfortable," but didn't think anything of it. Mostly because I could not recall having done anything to injure it. The next day the entire exterior part of my foot was bruised. The day after that, my ankle was so swollen that the bone looked like my kneecap. I called my doctor to set up an appointment, but they were not able to get me in until the following week, so instead Aaron took me to the emergency room.

At the emergency room they took an X-ray and determined that the bone was not broken. They diagnosed me with a major sprain, gave me an ACE bandage and some crutches, then sent me on my way. I went to my doctor later on for a follow-up, as directed, and she confirmed the diagnosis. Since the swelling and bruising were still present (albeit way better than it had been) she gave me prescription strength Naproxen and told me to take it easy fro an additional two weeks.

Four weeks to heal a sprain, wtf did I do?

My doctor suspects that recovery is slowed by my neuropathy. Since I cannot feel my feet, I forget the extent of my injury and do things a person in my situation would normally find too painful to do -- ultimately refreshing the damage. If it isn't better by the next appointment, I'll have to go to physical therapy. Meh.

Speaking of my neuropathy, I called Blue Cross to schedule a hearing  and they said they would be sending me something in the mail within 2 weeks. Well, 2 weeks passed and I had not received anything, so Monday I called to inquire as to why. The person over the phone could not figure out why my appointment had been declined and needed to make some calls in regards to find out more information. Once she had done this, she said, she'd call me back in a day or so. Tuesday night no one had made any attempt to contact me at all, so this morning (Wednesday) I called again.

This man was far more helpful. While he also could not find ANYTHING on file as to why my appointment with a Neurologist had been declined, he kept me on the line while he made a bunch of phone calls trying to figure it out for me. What it came down to was one of two reasons, neither of which are related to my health whatsoever.

The first: the loopy receptionist who left us waiting in the neurologist's office last month? Well she also works at my Primary Care Physician's office and when she filled out the paperwork for the insurance company to approve -- she spelled the neurologist's name wrong. Completely wrong. So when the insurance company ran a check to make certain this guy was part of their plan, they could not find him on record. So they thought my doctor had tried to schedule me an appointment with a doctor outside of my group and declined the appointment.

The second: my doctor's name is Irina. The office she works for is Greenberg. Greenberg is not her name. The insurance company did not recognize my primary care physician as being the referral doctor because they mistakenly thought my P.C.P. was Greenberg. Therefor when the request came through it was denied because they assumed the referral was made by an outside doctor.

In other words: herp derp.

In either case no reason was ever filed by the insurance company, so there was no way to know which of these was the case and in turn, who was really at fault. Furthermore because there was essentially no record of the appointment, let alone it having been declined, the man suggested I simply go back to my doctor and have her submit the paperwork over again. Though he also filed a grievance on my behalf, just in case. So at least there is a record about my complaint in case I encounter an issue like this again.

Unrelated, many of you have probably noticed many of my updates on bookface recently have to do with Neelix. Essentially he injured himself and compulsively licks and scratches at the wound making it worse. A cone around his neck would fix the problem, if the place where he had injured himself were not his gd neck! So instead he requires constant supervision. This means Aaron and I have to take turns staying up all night caring for him.

He gets Vetricyn 3-4 times per day as well as the area thoroughly (but gently) washed and at night he gets a gauze pad put in place, secured by a bandage made from the cuff of a sock I hemmed to suit the purpose. We tried using bandages but he would just get his tongue or nails stuck in the knit and ruin it. The cotton is much better to that end.

He will undoubtedly get better, the wound was never so bad to actually endanger his health, it just needs to be taken care of so he doesn't make it worse. The fur is growing back and it's no longer raw from being licked, so that's good. I'll definitely be buying more Vetricyn in the future though. It fights bacteria, viruses, fungi and increases oxygenation of wounds to speed healing. To anyone with a pet, you should definitely keep some of this handy. No matter what the problem (allergies, laceration, puncture wound, insect sting, etc.) it really does help.

In the meanwhile we're stressed and seriously sleep deprived. We consider it practice for the future, when we have babies. Only we don't have the comfort of knowing he'll grow out of this. Who'd have thought a pet could be more work than an actual child?

On the subject of cats...

Last week Aaron brought me some beautiful orange lilies, just because. In a fit of jealous rage (because the cat likes to fancy herself cat-wife) Intruder knocked the vase over onto my desk splashing water onto my laptop. It wasn't very much water, and it didn't appear to have gotten beyond the keyboard, so there was no reason to assume the worst. Not until the keyboard randomly began inputting whatever the hell it wanted with no actual contact. I powered it down and waited 36 hours before turning it back on to let it dry out. Normally that's all it really takes when electronics get a bit wet.

Sadly, even after it was all dried out the problem persisted. I was hoping to get at least another year out of this laptop before needing a new computer, but looks like I no longer have that luxury. I had my mother ship my old laptop out to me from Ohio, so that I at least had something reliable to use. Though that one has maybe half the gaming capacity the other one had, so it doesn't bode well there.

In other news, school starts soon. I don't know if I'll actually be attending though. Much to my dismay all of the classes I actually want/need to take were completely filled up -- to the point of there not even being an available wait list. I can try crashing classes and just begging to be let in, but given how full they apparently are, I get the feeling I just may wind up having to wait until next semester.

Not a HUGE deal, but I was really looking forward to taking Sign Language with Aaron, and also not being home alone while he is at class. No sense letting it get to me though, I've had quite enough stress lately to deal with.

On that note, I anticipate wedding planning kicking into official capacity this fall, once I get a better feel about which month precisely will work best for an outdoor Autumn wedding. Any advice to that end is sincerely encouraged. Having never been married before, I obviously do not possess much know-how here. Tips, tricks and even things you may think of as mundane, I'd be happy to hear-out.