Category Archives: personal

Imagined Conversations with my Dentist

Can you describe where the pain falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Me: “Is it a logarithmic scale?”

Dentist: ???

Dentist: “Can you describe where the pain falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Me: “Well, I’m a software developer and I tend to think in either base 2 or base 12. Could I give it to you that way?”

Dentist: “Can you describe where the pain falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Me:  “Does 1 mean no pain? Because it seems weird to me that a 1 would mean no pain. What would a 0 represent on that scale? Less than no pain?”

Dentist: “Can you describe where the pain falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Me: “Do you get tired of asking the same question over and over again?”

Dentist: “Can you describe where the pain falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Me: “About as painful as this conversation. Where would you say it falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Dentist: “Can you describe where the pain falls on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Me: “No.”

Dentist: ???

General Updates, 1/15/2015

It occurred to me that I haven’t posted since Sunday, so here are some general updates for folks who might be wondering what’s going on.

1. Recovering from wisdom tooth extraction. I’m still recovering. Things were going pretty well until yesterday when it seemed that I started to have a reaction to the antibiotics. I’m off those now and on a special mouthwash. The pain is okay during the day, but pretty bad at night. This was expected. I have a follow-up appointment on Monday and hopefully things will look much better then. Needless to say, it has been slowing me down and making me grumpy.

2. Writing. As of yesterday, my writing streak stands at 542 consecutive days. Despite the pain, medication, and grumpiness from the extractions, I am still writing every day. My numbers over the last week or so are down, but that is to be expected. My mind is fuzzy with pain medication and it is harder to write, but I am writing and making forward progress on the novel draft.

Writing without wisdom

The data in the red box shows my writing since my wisdom teeth have been yanked, and it is clearly down. But the extraction isn’t the only thing causing the lower word counts. I’m busy with other stuff as well, including day job projects and setting up a new work laptop.

3. The new work laptop. I got a new Dell Latitude 3800 laptop at the day job and have been setting that up. It is by far the fasted Windows machine I’ve ever had. It boots in seconds, which is pretty amazing. I’ll have more to say about the laptop (and the setup process) in a separate post when I have more time.

4. Morning routines. A while back I was asked to participate in an article that would discuss people’s morning routines as they relate to productivity. I’d written and sent my responses a while back and pretty much forgotten about it. This morning, I learned that the post went live. If you are interested, check out, “22 experts share their morning rituals to stay productive” and you can see what me, and 21 other people have to say on the subject.

That’s it for now. I hope to get things back to normal here shortly. I have some ideas for new Going Paperless posts, and lots of other good stuff, once I can find the time to sit down and write it.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Completed

I am home, and lighter by two wisdom teeth. The last two. As Hawkeye Pierce might say, “Hopefully they took the took and the left behind the wisdom.”

I’m feeling better than I expected to feel. They put me completely out for the procedure, and the numbness around the affected area is still pretty numb, although it is beginning to ache. Kelly is off to the drug store to pick up my prescriptions.

I plan on taking things easy today. I’ll probably alternate between watching episodes of M*A*S*H and listening to the current audiobook I’m working my way through, Will Durant’s The Age of Faith. I got some writing in first thing this morning. Later today I might try for some more.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Twitter and here on the blog as well. But I’m glad this is finally done, and I’m glad I did it with a weekend to back me up on the recovery end.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Tomorrow

I was supposed to have my remained 2 wisdom teeth extracted back in late September, but had to reschedule. Tomorrow, I’m set to have #1 and #32 removed. It will be only the second time in my life that I will be under a general anesthetic1. I opted for the general because, as the doctor explained, when you are 18 years told, your jawbone is like sponge, and the teeth come out relatively easy. At 42, the jawbone is like cement, and the process is more difficult.

So I’ll be asleep for it.

The appointment is first thing tomorrow morning, and the whole visit is supposed to last about an hour and a half, after which Kelly will deposit me at home.

For those who might be concerned about my writing streak–535 consecutive days and counting–I plan on getting some writing in early tomorrow before heading to my appointment. That way, it’s done, in case I don’t feel up to it later in the day. Of course, if I do feel up to it later in the day, then I’ll write more.

I hope to be online after the appointment, but I might be slower than usual in responding to email, tweets, etc. over the weekend. Now you know why.


  1. The first time was when I had my tonsils removed when I was 10 years old.

Back at the Day Job

I think there is a universal law that says the longer the vacation, the faster it goes by and the harder it is to go back to work. We were off for a total of 23 days–just over 3 weeks. Today we were back to work, and the kids were back at school.

When I am on vacation, I completely disconnect from the day job. No checking email, no thinking about projects. Nothing. I’ve gotten very good at this. So when I got back to the office this morning, I had over 900 emails awaiting my attention. I quickly whittled that down to 140 that I actually had to read, or at least skim. By the end of the day, I’d sent nearly 50 email messages, knocked a ton of items off my to-do list, and in general, felt like I had a good first day back.

My new work laptop had arrived, but was still being imaged. It’s a high-end beast, 16 GB of RAM, a large SSD, and I was looking forward to getting it it setup (often a multi-day process), but it probably won’t be ready until tomorrow or Wednesday.

It was also good to see my coworkers (those that I could see–many I work with are in L.A. area) although I spent a lot of time behind closed doors today, either in meetings, or working on things that have been waiting for me.

Overall, good to be back. Lots of work ahead this year, which seems to be the case every year. I remember in the year leading up to Y2K, the workload seemed to increase dramatically. “It’ll ease up after January 1, 2000,” we were told. But it’s only gone up every year since.

Can you believe it’s now Y2K + 15?

The “Instant Classic”, Revisited

Once upon a time1 I wrote a post2 titled “Instant Classic” in which I bemoaned the misuse of the term “classic” in the phrase “instant classic.” I wrote,

“Instant classic” is an oxymoron, right?… A just-released comedy can’t be a “classic”. The reviewer needs to go back to reviewer school.

This was an example of me, in the youth of my blogging, trying to sound clever and cynical, but also, genuinely believing that the term was being misused.

I write today in recognition that I was wrong.

In the years since, I have come to learn that the term “classic”, or “classical” means “of the highest class” as opposed to what I thought it meant–something that was old and revered. In this sense, an instant classic is something that a review deems at once of the highest class (of quality, presumably).

Long time readers have probably noticed fewer rants today like those from 2006. I like to chalk this up to the wisdom I’ve gained that I am far from a know-it-all. I’d further add that I’ve found on many occasions, this one not withstanding, I have been wrong in my judgments and observations. I expect this will continue until the day I die, but I am trying harder to recognize when I’ve bene wrong and call attention to it. Fair’s fair.


  1. November 2006, right here on this blog.
  2. I wonder how many people can say that they have been blogging consistently for 9 years.

The last blog post of 2014

I am spending New Year’s Eve in a hotel in the wilds of North Carolina with the family, the second of three legs of our long drive home from Florida. Tomorrow, January 1, we finally get home.

I still have a few “year-in-review” posts to write, but I am too tired from driving to work on those from the hotel room. All I want to do right now is wait for the kids to fall asleep so that Kelly and I can finish watching Going My Way1. Fortunately, I’ve already gotten my writing done today. Indeed, as I mentioned earlier, I wrote every single day in 2014. That makes me happy.

It is already 2015 in several time zones. Happy New Year to everyone, regardless of what time zone you are in. Stay safe! See you in 2015: Also known as Marty McFly’s future!


  1. It takes us, on average, 3 nights to watch a movie these days for a variety of reasons, all of them amounting to energy levels at the end of the day. Today is Day 3 of Going My Way and I’ve been looking forward to watching it all day. Yes, I’ve seen it before.

My First New Year’s Eve Party and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”

Driving back to my in-laws this afternoon after taking the kids to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, we sat in the blessedly cool air conditioning of the car (it was nearly 90° F outside), listening to Sirius XM 80s on 8, and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy1” came on the radio. I did the same thing I always do when I hear that song: flashed back to my first ever New Year’s Eve party which took place while I was in 7th grade.

Only this time, it occurred to me that inaugural New Year’s Eve party took place three days shy of thirty years ago.

My memory of the party is a little sketchy, not because we were drinking, or because so many years have intervened to distort my picture of it, but because it was also my first all-nighter, and that seemed wreak havoc with my 12-1/2 year old brain circuits. What I do remember:

  • The party took place at my friend and fellow homeroom classmate’s house. Her name was Bonnie. The house, I seem to recall, had recently been used in an episode of Matt Houston2, or some show like that.
  • It was an all night party at which boys and girls attended. That was something new for me.
  • There was a scavenger hunt that had all of us roaming about the neighborhood in what seemed to be the middle of the night, looking for the things we were supposed to collect.

After that, things get fuzzy. There was a lot of music, and among that music, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” sticks in my mind as representative of both the time period (late 1984) and the mood of the partygoers. At least, it is what 12 year old kids thought of as “going crazy.”

I seem to remember the sun coming up in the morning. The L.A. river (we called it the “wash”) ran beyond the backyard of the house, and I remember being out there while the sun came up. I remember doing some silly things over the course of the night, too, but there is no need to bore you with those here.

The next day, I was supposed to go to a friend’s house. I did go to his house, and I think I recall Stephen King’s Christine playing on the TV at one point. But I was so worn out that I asked for my parents to come pick me up. I went home. My mom had made lasagna for dinner, but I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t concentrate. Indeed, I swear that I had started to hallucinate from a lack of sleep. I went to bed before the sunset, and didn’t wake up until late the next day.

None of this would be of particular interest, except for my realization that it took place almost exactly thirty years ago. And it shows. I don’t even stay up for New Year’s in Times Square anymore, let alone pull an all-nighter.


  1. Alas, I could not find a good quality version of the video for the song online.
  2. I grew up in Los Angeles, so this was not entirely uncommon.

A Few Brief Programming Notes

I am here at Disney World, having a blast with the family. I have been entirely immersed in vacation, and I guess that means I’m doing something right. A few notes for the next couple of weeks:

1. I mentioned that I would be posting a new Going Paperless post on Tuesday, but as you may have noticed, no post. This was poor planning on my part, thinking I’d get the post written while at Disney World. Silly me! But never fear, the new Going Paperless post will be coming out on Friday.

2. Although I am on vacation for the next 3 weeks, my email does not seem to care. While I am reading my email periodically throughout the day, you can expect slower than normal response times over the next few weeks. Basically, if it seems to me that the message does not require an immediate response for some business reason, I am likely not to response for several days, or even a week or more. Please be patient with me.

3. For those wondering, yes, I have been writing every day, despite the fact that there have been some long days. Today for instance: We left the hotel room for the Disney World parks at 7 am and didn’t get back until 8:30 pm. In between, I had a blast, and also managed to walk 22,109 steps (10 miles), and yet I still managed to write nearly 600 words when I got back to the hotel this evening, this despite being utterly wiped out. The streak continues at 514 consecutive days.

4. Tomorrow is our last day at Disney World. We then head down to the gulf coast, where I plan to relax quite a bit more.

And with that, I am off to bed. Good night everyone!

A Quick Check-In from Disney World

The first leg of our vacation is complete, and the second leg has just started. We left the house Saturday morning, and drove to Florence, South Carolina, which is our usual first night stopping point. We did the entire 403 mile drive making only one stop, in large part because the kids were entertained and well-behaved. According to my Automatic Link data, the first leg was 182 miles, and took us just over 3 hours.

First Leg

That was  impressive, but the second leg was even more impressive, at 218 miles and hitting 31 MPG (not bad for the Kia Sorento):

Second Leg

We spent Saturday night in South Carolina, and then drove down to St. Augustine, Florida on Sunday. We wandered around the old town Sunday evening. This morning, we made our way to Orlando and arrived at the Disney World resort around noon. We spent the afternoon wandering around Downtown Disney, had an excellent dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, and then returned to the resort, and walked around the grounds to get some air. The sun set just as we completed our walk.

Coronado Sunset

The drive was good for audiobooks. I listened to more than 10 hours of Will Durant’s Caesar and Christ on the way down. I also managed to write 600+ words on the first night of vacation, and another 1,000 words last night. And as soon as I get this post finished up, I’ll be tackling my writing for this evening.

So far, vacation has been great. A lot of driving, but most of that is over now for a couple of weeks. Everyone is having a good time, the weather is great, and I feel far more relaxed than I felt on Friday.

We are here through Thursday, and then we head down south to the gulf coast for the rest of our vacation, before we begin the long drive back home.