Wednesday, July 30, 2003

those crooked sob's

well, i like signing up for free magazines, but i made the mistake of not keeping track of my credit card bills. well, this is how they were able to scam me. i had about 7 free magazine subscriptions. and for one of them (and only one of them) i paid a small price for it so i gave them my credit card information. but it turns out that all these magazine subscriptions online are ALL centrally connected. when the rest other 6 free subscriptions ran out, and i didn't respond to any of their renew noticies, they just decide to charge me anyway to renew without my notice by obtaining my credit card information through the grapevine. fraud? smells of it. another trick they pulled is that when you sign up for a free subscription, they are supposed to add that free subscrpition to the one you're already paying for. what they did was just send me 2 issues of the same magazine. and another thing that makes me mad is that I had paid for Stuff magazine last year. Like $22. All the other magazines (excluding the double copy one) were okay. but for Stuff? that magazine could be called Shitt and it wouldn't change what I would expect from that magazine. so beware. they are sneaky like you wouldn't believe. make sure you cancel the magazine when your free subscrpitions run out. just by waiting for them to stop sending you renewal noticies won't work. i wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have your credit card info and the just got the billing and payment information that someone with your same last name is getting in the house and start charging that person.

card counting is coming along great. i can coun about 3/4 of 6 decks in 5 minutes with 0 errors. i need to dramatically cut that to probably less than a minute to actually try to use it without getting caught in the casinos. the program also has the memorization mode of all the basic combinations. same thing as the multi colored pocket sized card you buy in vegas. i always tried to memorize that table without much success...i'd always make it to somewhere in the middle of the card and give up. with this program, they drill you in filling it out like you do an excel sheet, and in about 2 hours spanned in 3 days, i was able to memorize every combination. just by using this program the last 2 days, i think i am 10x better in blackjack than i was before it. and i always thought i was descent at it. vegas, watch out!

the music pitch lessons are coming along nicely. i now have c major down (7,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,1) with 100% accuracy. i'm finding out that what makes it hard is the note that you hear before they play the note of the one you're trying to guess. its not just memorizing how the pitch sounds. it also has a lot to do with how the preceeding note affects your perception. if i just heard the note on its own, it some notes would be much easier, some notes would be much harder.

the appointment with the surgeon was rescheduled for this wednesday noon (today), but it just dawned on me that i probably won't be scheduling until the paperwork comes through, which might actually not be for 5 business days. i'll have to see if i can get the doctor to pull some strings for me.

things i'm looking forward to

when i'm able to return to normal activities after surgery:


just walk on semi flat surfaces around la jolla (yes, i'm actually really looking forward to this)

when i'm pretty much done recovering:


moderate hiking

walking to work

when i'm fully recovered:


back to the gym

i think the overall lesson i'm learning from all this is, when life is just ok, you shouldn't hesitate to change it up and make it great.

Monday, July 28, 2003

herniated disc 1, michael 0

well, if i haven't stated it before, i finally admit is the only way to go. the disc herniation was severe, and if i had gotten a new bed earlier, maybe.....could have been a good chance possibly....that i would have recovered from this....if i changed that and small things here and there. but i was in that bed......just giving that disc no place to go and no room to heal. and i did it long enough to where the disc is healed mostly but it's bulging so it is still stimulating the nerves significantly. and the operation will basically remove the part of the disc that is bulging. live and learn. I'll be finding out this friday on the 5 w's and how about the surgery. damn, it's almost august...where did 2003 go?

totally off topic....I don't know exactly what inspired me but I woke up today and I wanted to accomplish some things while I was still stuck in bed all day. and 2 things i want to get really good at is counting cards in black jack and detecting pitch in music instruments. my ultimate goal is being able to break out an riff on whatever i felt like playing. it is a 3 step process....knowing what note to play, knowing every scales on every fret, then actually playing by ear. i downloaded software to help me with ear training the pitch...called Pitch ID. I also found a card counting and proper play drill program for blackjack called Blackjack Counter. These 2 are very nice and simple programs. these 2 goals should keep me busy for a while. i only wish i had started sooner.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

can I handle the truth?

finally got around seeing A Few Good Men. it was a very solid movie. and the movie took place pretty much in doors. no action necessary. i also tried to watch Pet Sematary and Bullet Proof Monk. Other than the fact that they are poorly rated movies, I couldn't really pay attention for more than a few seconds. maybe i'm just in the mood to watch drama and just way too desensitzed for action and gore. everyone knows that there are feel good movies. but what's up with the feel bad movies? i also saw this russian drama called Lilja-4-Ever. Anything with 4 for "for" in it, should have been enough movie. The acting was really poor...yes even in russion, i could see right through the horrible acting by just listening to the dialog...sounded like she was just reading in russian at times. anyway, it was about this girl who got abandoned by her mom, and left to fend for herself in russia. she gets taken advantage of, is pretty much forced into prostitution, then she kills herself. that movie and the word "enjoy" does not go together. it hit an emotion, and some of my abandoment issues. and maybe that's why it has a rating of 8 on IMDB.

one addition to my sleeping "tools" is a leg spacer that raymond picked up for me at brookstone. i probably could have found something less luxurious, but i can't expect a friend to go hunting for a product like i would. so i found out that tempur pedic made one, so i just decided to get one. it opens up about 3 inches in between my legs and knees, and this supposedly gives more breathing room to the sciatic nerves and puts the lumbar area in a more comfortable position. sounds just like what i needed. still, it's not going to be the magical cure. but taking care of my back now and after the operation is and will be one of my highest priorites in life, so i'm glad i got it. it feels good so far. i wish i knew about all this proper sleep stuff and had all this sleeping tools before i got injured. oh well, i might as well wish that i had known lottery numbers in advance if i start talking like that. it's a done deal, i gotta live with it. hopefully after surgery, and proper precautions, this will be the last time i'll need an operation period. i am more keen to my physical health, that's for sure. some of my friends have been telling me of physical injuries and warning signs that they have been experiencing, yet, they don't seem to think its important enough to attend can't blame them cause i was the same way before i got injured. we are not supermen. at least not after we hit our mid 20's.

speaking of which, i'll be turning 25 in about a month from now. hopefully i would have at least had the operation by then. if i am back on my feet by then, i'll probably have my birthday at pampas. great food, and it's pretty damn vacant, so reservations should be easy on a short notice. i'll be celebratining my 25th birthday, and my recovery.....if that is the case.

Friday, July 25, 2003

commenting is back!

well what do you know.; just when i thought we weren't going to see them for a while. oh well, i'm just glad tohse errors are gone. i finally actually saw a good movie for a change. saw Boys Don't Cry with Hilary Swank. the plot summary on IMDB:

Based on actual events. Brandon Teena is the popular new guy in a tiny Nebraska town. He hangs out with the guys, drinking, cussing, and bumper surfing, and he charms the young women, who've never met a more sensitive and considerate young man. Life is good for Brandon, now that he's one of the guys and dating hometown beauty Lana. However, he's forgotten to mention one important detail. It's not that he's wanted in another town for GTA and other assorted crimes, but that Brandon Teena is actually a woman named Teena Brandon. When Brandon's best friends make this discovery, his life eventually is ripped apart by betrayal, humiliation, rape, and murder.

just trying to imagine how much courage and guts it took for her to go against the world that probably was going to lynch her, you can't help but to root for the little guy. the main character is played by Hilary Swank who won the best femal actress that year. by no doubt she deserved it. it was weird seeing someone i knew to be an attractive female successfully play the character. and as much as i wouldn't have minded seeing her nude in any other movies, it wasn't something i wanted to see in this movie. it was quite disturbing. but all in all, this movie is one of the best dramas i've seen in a while.

another funny thing is that in the movie, when she dresses up like a boy, she looks a lot like the skinny nerdy guy in the movie Road Trip who hooks up with the big black girl. well, its funny cause one of the last movies that Hilary Swank filmed was The Core, and the nerdy guy was in that movie too. I wonder if anyone else made the connection.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

too much fluff or just desensitized?

since I've been watching tv and movies to death, every movie I see now looks like just like any other movie. i lose interest.....or more like don't have any any to begin with. like I was watching Raging Bull of the best dramas out there, and i couldn't seem to get into the movie. with that said, i went over my near 200 DVD collection and realized i had a lot of stuff there that i probably don't feel like ever watching again, and some i would have just done fine with a divx. so i picked out a little over 1/4th of my dvd's and i'll be looking to sell them on or something. still means i have about 150 movies worth keeping just for the replay value.

also, the klink family (ones who host blogout) must have went on a family vacation because their doesn't even have a DNS record any more. i'll give them a few more days before doing something about it. its not like anyone uses those comments anyway.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

the little 27" tv that could

i bought my RCA TV when Value America was having a $100 off $400 promotion. so I got my 27" RCA with PIP and S-Video in for $299 shipped. from the day it was first turned on 12/06/99, I've had it on for 18728 hours. Am I still under warranty? hahaha...i serious doubt it. that comes to 1324 days, and it comes to over 14 hours a day. but i gotta admit, i wasn't there for probably half the time. it is pretty well known that i sleep with my tv on and i've done that since high school. i don't sleep with the sound blaring....just barely on so that i can barely make out the voices, but it does help me distract my mind so i can fall alspee quicker. i also like having it on the backgrond while i'm using my computer...just listening to what's on tv. and i have been home for the past 4.5 months and it literally has been on for 24 hours a day. sure its not a flat screen, but i've always been happy with the quality. every feature that is on there, i've used to death (PIP and svideo-in). Only problem is that the tv buzzes and gives off a pitch the brigher the picture is...not noticable during the day, but when the volumes are set very low, i can still hear it. but i've gotten used to it to where i don't think about it anymore when i'm trying to sleep. i wish all electronics were this reliable.

i've had somewhat of a fever all day today. i think i caught something. even in my isolation, i have managed to catch the flavor of the month. probably caught it from my dad or my roommate. he said he might have come down with something too. damn it. just noe more thing i don't need right now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I've been doing some thinking about the audience in my blogs. A part of me wishes that no one read it (at least no one that I knew) so I can just blog about anything and everything without the risk of embarrassing myself or another person. But if I knew no one read it, I would lose enough interest in keeping a journal up to date. So it just is a censored journal and a place to share some things I find once in a while.

So I still don't know what my target audience is. Sometimes what I write is something just for me to reflect no audience at all. Sometimes, I write directly to the readers...whoever that may be. Sometimes I'm just writing to myself.

Maybe I'll write 2 blogs...both public. But in the uncensored blog, I'll have a false identity, and the the details like where I live, what I drive, where I work, and most importantly who I'm talking about will have completely different names. Yeah, I think that's it. don't get me wrong. i never really have any negative things to say about anyone, but some thoughts are meant to be And maybe another creative blog of a fictional character. That should release my creative side. But that seems like an awful lot of work. Maybe some time later. I'll start on the unmarked and uncensored blog soon, but still not change what this current blog is here for.

Friday, July 18, 2003

an out of body experience

before i go on any futher, there is a tidbit you need to know about REM sleep and how it affects the body. The more known fact is that during REM sleep the brain is actually awake and the brain waves resemble patterns it gives off when you are awake, explaning why dreams feel so real sometimes. What you might not know is that before your body goes into REM sleep, the brain sends enelectric signals to the spine paralyzing the body. This way you don't run the risk of actually trying to fly off your balcony while you're having one of those interesting dreams. But this mechanism doesn't work perfectly. When the body doesn't get paralyzed, you sleepwalk. What I experience however is much less common. I can give my brain the go ahead to paralyze my body, without actually going into REM sleep. I can't do this any any given time. I can sometimes sense that I'll be given the option to do this to my body a few minutes in advance. What does it feel like?

Well, it feels like you're swirling around a tornado being pulled in all directions. You feel great pressure on every square inch of your body. the amount of pressure isn't overwhelming, but the fact that it is everywhere on your body is. its definitely not a good feeling. it feels demonic, like you've been posessed, and lost the control of your body and once paralyzed every cell in your body wants to break out. then why do i do it? the same reasons we put both ends of the 9 volt batteries to our tongues when we were growing up. it never felt good. but for some reason or another, you just wanted to try it again. so it's kinda like trying to alter reality without doing anything illegal or damaging to the body (hopefully).

so today, on my new matress that got delivered today, i felt it was one of those days that i can do this. during this time i have the option to fully wake up or go into this temporary paralysis. so without much thought i thought why not. and damn, it was pretty violent this time. for the duration that i was in this state (probably around 3 seconds or so) my body felt like i was grabbing a high voltage wire and not letting go. so i freaked out and tried to break free, and actually half way got up from my bed. then i just couldn't make it out because of the sensation of high voltage, so i just gave up. i saw my room vividly, that the lamp was on and the TV was displaying my computer's desktop. a second or two later i woke up, realizing i hadn't moved an inch. so in my opinion, an out of body experience doesn't get more vivid than this. would i do it again? probably.

after i woke up for a minute or two, i slept really well and had really lucid dreams. lucid dreams being being in REM sleep but also consciously knowing that i was dreaming. and if you do it carefully, what happens in your dream is liimted only by your imagination. unfortunately someone called me and woke me up. oh well. next time.

I thnk by the end of this weekend I would have finished all of Simpsons (~10 eps left), futurama (15 eps left) and family guy (6 eps left). now that I've caught up, I can move onto other shows. still got 3/4 of seinfeld to finish. 1/5 of the twiight zone. then maybe after that, I'll start on friends and outer limits (old and new).

Thursday, July 17, 2003 is so lame. one cease and desist letter and they give up. too bad for all the people that donated some money for them to buy a descent server. bytemonsoon probably got these twice a day, and it took 4 months of coordinated denial and service attacks to bring it down. well, there's another site:

shares the same code as bytemonsoon, but definitely not bytemonsoon server and bandwidth wise. we'll have to see how long it lasts.

movie quote of the day:

"They were floating along just as nice as you wanna

and around the corner.

she rose up like a big ol black viper

and pulled them under

just liket that swallwed them whole

never found one of them"

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

i have been using the Matrox G450 for quite a while. It's proven to be the best $95 I've spent so far when it comes to computer parts. Thepicture has always proven to be amazing. Its as amazing today as the day I first saw it. And after I got injured about 4 months ago, I found out that this card came with a top notch zoom in capability. But one feature has always has been a thorn at my side. The TV out was always zoomed in about 10%, so I would lose about 5% of the video on each of the 4 sides (top,bottom,left,right). but today, I found this thing called DivxG400 filter which will compensate the zoomed in video. So when I enabled the compensate for overscan, all my video now displays correctly. Other than that this card is not 3D capable (it was never designed for it), I still think this card is truly a gem. I'll always have to have one of these cards in my computers (there is a limited release of a pci version so i might get that if i ever want 3d card in my agp slot instead).

i also just found out a few days ago that TV out is much better at 16 bit color mode. the video out now feels more like 60 fps compared to the 12fps that I was getting in 24bit color. this fixes the audio popping problem as well.

other exciting news is that i'm getting my bed delivered on Friday. which was quite a shocker. About 3 and a half days after my order was processed, much better than the (within 3 weeks) they quoted me. Can't wait. I've been trying to compensate for the worn out springs on my bed with a small pillow...its been somewhat effective, but it's not all that great. hopefully this bed will be as good as I expect it to be.

I'll also be quoting lines from the few movies that I'm watching as the days pass. Feel free to take a guess if you wish.

"Soon they'll be breeding us like cattle! You've got to warn everyone and tell them! _______ _____ is made of people! You've got to tell them! _______ _____ is people!"
bytemonsoon, pho, and boba is officially down until further notice. the guy hosting it finally got fed up with the denial of service attacks and is now on vacation. there is some relief however. just came back, and though not as good as bytemonsoon, it is close to it. its success will have to be judged on how many people will start using that site as the main site.

today, wendy brought over some pho and boba for lunch. that was really cool of her. i didn't think i'd be eating pho for at least another month or so.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

iron chef and a matress

i have been watching a lot of iron chef. mostly downloaded from

i've always wondered how the 3 main iron chefs are there so frequently. then i just recently found out that they only film a few during one year, and the ones we've been seeing are a couple of years old at least. what appeals to me is that the show offers artists to show off their technique and creative abilities competitively. what better way to do this than food. even thpugh i haven't learned any techniques from that show (compared to Good Eats), it definitely stimulates my imagination. It looks like the run in Japan is pretty much over, but they just started Iron Chef here in Las Vegas, and hopefully they can keep the show interesting.

i finally got a new bed. i've been thinking about getting a tempur pedic for years. but the price was just too much. but here was my reasoning. i realized that its a necessity now than a luxury. and my decision was based on a lot of good reasons. when i got the 3rd epidural injection, they had a live xray-ish machine, and i had a good look this time what was going on inside. basically, where the disc is herniated, it's herniated to the right, and the left side of my spine at the location has just collapsed due to its empty space. so in that small pocket of empty space, the spine bone is actually touching each other. and the thing is, for this this to heal, i need to give that space some breathing room. my old bed is so old that whenever i lay down, i'm just clamping that area shut, giving it no chance to move back on its own. so actually, if i had just gotten this bed a few years ago, there probably would have been a good chance that i wouldn't be here now. but, better late than never. i ordered one. they had a promotion for a pillow. and if i waive a 90 day free trial, the shipping and setup is free.

plus, there are many good reasons why you should invest in a good bed. for one, you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping on it. if you have worn out springs, you are not keeping your spine healthy, it will catch up with you. if you cannot sleep comfortably, it will affect you in a million ways when you are awake. you will physically and mentally not be operating at 100%. the less you sleep, the less time you give your body to heal itself. your immune system supposedly has a lot to do with REM sleep. so does your sanity.

another thing that applies specifically to me right now is that i spend nearly 24 hours in bed every day. and considering that i'm injured, in pain, and uncomfortable, its just not acceptable. plus, i'm convinced my current bed is the reason why i'm not getting any better. but you can't really blame the bed because my bed was designed for me to lie on for months at a time, only about 8 hours a day.

there are a few things you can be cheap about (food, clothes, material posessions), but your bed shouldn't be one of them. so this was clear as day to me when i woke up for the ~130th day with a messed up spine on a messed up bed.

i have a feeling this bed is going to offer a leap forward in my recovery. it should be here in about 1-3 weeks.

Monday, July 7, 2003

well, i'm continuing to make some big steps in recovery. I'm significantly better than I was doing last week. Still, i fear it is not going to be enough. i'll have to see where i'm at on august 1st when i go into consultation for surgery. i would like to still recover without surgery if it is at all possible. so my symptoms are no longer on the severe side. actually, they are mild in comparison to the levels that i've been dealing with. sitting has become a little easier. so has walking, and sleeping. so its all good news. hopefully next time i post, i can stand straight without any tingling sensation in the calf.

this weekend actually has been quite good, considering i didn't leave my bed, but i had a ton of visitors. all pretty much unplanned. my friend from LA, and diem came over on thursday. my whole family and eric came over on friday. and wendy came over on saturday. also, my coworkers visited during tuesday and i thought that was really cool of them. had some good food. saw some movies. had some laughs. thanks everyone.

i started a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. i'm about 50-60% done. saw a bunch of movies. T3, donnie darko, holes, spy game, and a few others. going in for another mri tomorrow, and third epidural friday.