Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sign of the times

Saw this today, at the shopping plaza downtown.

"No Segways".  That they have to post the sign...  :)



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bone progress

Ventured out to the mall today: my first non-medical instance of leaving my yard since Friday a week ago.  The Lady drove, of course.

My sister recommended some calcium supplements for the bone healing, and glucosamine + chondroitin for the ligaments -- plus eating more protein.  Picked up vitamin supplements for the first two, and chicken muscle for the protein.

I was unusually wary of having people stand close to me at the mall, especially on my right-hand (bad) side:  I tended to keep my left hand up near my chest, ready to cross-block if anyone seemed like they would bump in to my bad shoulder.

I'm feeling much better, psychologically and emotionally, now that I know exactly what's wrong with my shoulder -- and that it's in the correct alignment and it's OK to start healing and re-building. No pain in some positions; some minor pain in other positions, or if I lift heavy things with my "good" side, which causes me to tense my entire shoulder structure (both sides); gah! So, I have to remember to not lift things.

Otherwise, I was taking the pain meds just out of principle, every four hours -- but I stopped as of last night. (Well -- I woke up with minor pain about 3am, so I popped some pills. But other than that, no meds today -- and it's now about 6:30pm.)

I feel a little guilty, having less pain from a self-inflicted (by way of stupidity) injury, when a friend at work has chronic headaches from no fault of his own.  Not that I want pain.  But it just doesn't seem fair.

I can now at least type with both hands, for brief busts.

Getting better using my left hand: cut up an entire cantaloupe with just my left hand, except for using my "bad" hand (R. hand) to steady the halves when I used my "good" (left) hand to scoop out the seeds. Otherwise, completely one-handed.

Also opened the screwdriver blade on my pocket knife, pried open the staples from a small Daiso purchase, all with my left hand.

But I can't tie my own shoes.  A weird feeling, to be dependant like that.  Haven't had that since I was four.


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Good bone news

VERY good news:  we visited the specialist today, and it turns out that my shoulder was already back in position, and the broken bone was actually more like a greenstick fracture.

The Lady says that the doctor at the ER was not a native speaker of English (some sort of Eastern European accent?) -- which I hadn't noticed, as I was otherwise preoccupied.  So when he told us that "the end of my collarbone had broken off", he was incorrect.

So, no surgery necessary (good; surgery always carries risks, e.g. infection).  However, it turns out that I will always have a lump on my shoulder.  I had resigned myself to a scar, but not to the permanent bone lump and asymmetry that I'll have -- but the doctor said that I'd have the lump regardless of whether I had surgery (with a metal plate) or not.  So it took me a while to adjust to that shift in my body image and body structure.

Anyhow:  no surgery -- which is good, because it's less intrusive (risky), and less costly, and (presumably) a faster recovery time.

Also, it turns out that I could've gone back to work this week, after all.

So, back to work on Monday.

Despite my injury, it was kind of nice having a week away.  I was bored all to heck -- but I took a lot of naps.


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Mike Dean song about being an away dad

I discovered this song as the backing music to a YouTube video.  I'm not usually "Country" -- but I like anything with good lyrics and a good melody.

To me, it's about being a dad with a job that takes you away from your family.  I think it's about working on an offshore oil rig -- but it applies to Navy folks, people in the mining industry, touring musicians, etc.

Applies to husbands, wives, and moms -- not just dads, of course.

Mike Dean's webpage is here, if you want to buy his music.


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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Movie review of The Garden State

Saw Garden State, on DVD, which starred and was written and directed by Zach Braff.  

It's about a guy who's an aspiring actor in Los Angeles, who comes back to his hometown in New Jersey for a few days for the funeral of his mother.  While he's back in town he re-connects with some of his high-school friends, and meets a love interest (played by Natalie Portman).  A very young Jim Parsons has a small part.

Most of the characters are likeable enough, and I was curious enough to see how it ended – and it basically had a happy ending, of which I typically approve. 

Zach Braff said that he intentionally made a move that didn't have three acts with the traditional pacing – and I'd have to say that he succeeded:  the movie is fairly low-key, and it putters along. 

I'd heard about the movie over the years, and I'd always been mildly curious – and now I've seen it.  So, yup.

It's worth seeing once, as it's pleasant enough, and once you've seen it you can say “Oh, yeah – I've seen it” if the movie comes up in conversation. 

Some cussing, some drug use, some hints of sex.  No nudity or violence that I recall.



They taunt me

The day before my shoulder accident, I had the day off, and one of things that I did was check out one of the local pawn shops that I hadn't visited in a while.  And I found two handplanes, each at a very reasonable price.  

You don't usually see handplanes at pawn shops -- and when you do, they're either in poor condition, overpriced, or both.  But these were pretty good.   A few months ago I had decided that I had enough handplanes for now -- but these were sufficiently different from my existing stash that I thought, "Sure".  Plus, I had specific uses for them in mind.

I offered a price that was 20% below the sticker price -- and the clerk shrugged and said okay.  I was fully expecting to negotiate "up" from my lowball offer -- so, hey!   :)

The metal one is a Stanley 4-1/2  It's wider, and therefore heavier, than a usual smoothing plane.  I'm planning to turn it into a scrub plane:  the extra mass will allow it to plow through the rough spots.

The wooden one is just a horned plane:  I have one other of this general type, but with a wider blade.  This one will probably be used as a smoothing plane.

I picked these up because I'm assembling an "away" kit -- so I want certain tools duplicated from my "workbench" kit, so that I don't have to keep swapping back and forth.

Both planes need sharpening, and a little tidying up -- but that's fine.

Of course, now I can't -- because I only have one working arm -- and everything that I need to do for this task requires two arms.  For that matter, using the handplanes really requires two arms.

So, they just sit there, and taunt me and my one-armed-ness.



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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Movie review of Reality Bites

I watched Reality Bites (with very young Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo and Ethan Hawke).  This was my first time watching it since it came out in 1994.

I thought it was "okay" back then, and that assessment is still true for me today.  It was "fine", and I was vaguely curious to see how it ended -- but because it was on DVD I kept getting up to do other things, and then drifting back a few hours later.  It took me twelve hours complete an hour-and-a-half movie:  I was hardly "captivated".

They ticked a few boxes for the period:  the soft job market, an AIDS scare, a guy "coming out" to his parents.  But most of the characters were annoying, and/or unrealistic:  playing a (public!) practical joke on your boss, and then being surprised that you got fired?  A guy in upper management not knowing the term "court jester", and referring to "Intelligence Quotations" rather than "Intelligence Quotients".

Moderate cussing, and discussions about sex.  No violence that I recall.  One scene where a character didn't wear a bra under her clothes, which I didn't pick up on until my wife pointed it out.

Worth seeing once, just 'cause it's semi-well-known, and "of an era".



Movie review of Run Lola Run

Still at home still with a broken shoulder.

Watched Run Lola Run for the first time since it first came out.  Still good.

Basically, Lola's boyfriend is a petty criminal that has misplaced 100,000 Deutchmarks that he owes a tough criminal, and he has until noon to get the money back.  Lola hangs up the phone and sprints out of her apartment to try to find the necessary funds.  And then the movie provides several different alternate realities, where minor changes early in her quest have substantial changes later on.

A few touches of the surreal -- especially Lola's ultrasonic scream.  :)

Enjoyable -- although not as exciting as the first time I saw it, since I somewhat remembered how it was going to end. 

The whole thing is in German -- so you gotta be okay with subtitles.

Some violence -- mild, by today's standards -- and moderate swearing (but in German, then written in the subtitles).

Worth seeing twice -- the second time just to fully understand how the changes are interconnected.




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Movie review of That Thing You Do

I just finished watching That Thing You Do with The Girl:  she asked me last night if there was another DVD that we could watch together, so we watched most of it last night, and finished the rest of it tonight during dinner.

It's one of my favorite movies -- partly because it involves a band -- but also because it's well-acted and well-written, with a lot of good scenes.

Basically, it takes place in the early '60s, and a Beatles-y garage band becomes one-hit wonders when they win a talent show because their substitute drummer improved their song by kicking up the tempo.  There's more than that, of course.

I'm pretty sure it's rated "G" -- so I think they say "carp" once, and that's about it.


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Movie review of Waiting for Forever

I tried watching Waiting for Forever, which is a romantic comedy that's a little like a poor-man's Benny & Joon. 

Basically, it's about this guy who had a female best friend when he was ten years old, but then his parents got killed in a train crash so he got sent out of state to live with relatives.  And for the last few years he's kind of stalked her, by living in the same town as her but never actually talking to her.

The acting was... fine.  The dialog was functional, but not witty or engaging.  And I just didn't care:  I kept stopping to do other things. 

Finally I checked, and I had just begun scene 10 out of 24 -- so, about 40% through the movie -- and I realized that I really didn't care how it would end, or what would happen to the characters.  So I turned it off.

This is the first movie in a long, long time that I would simply not recommend.  Sorry, people who made this movie.



Movie review of Resident Evil: Apocalypse

I'm basically housebound, so I'm going through my backlog of DVDs that I've not watched.

Saw Resident Evil:  Apocalypse (Basically Resident Evil 2) this afternoon.  In this one, people foolishly allow the virus-infected undead to escape from the lab, so it infects Racoon City.

A good popcorn flick:  action-horror.  Not too scary if you see it in the light of day.

Fairly violent in places, and a moderate amount of cussing.  Some nudity.

Worth seeing once, if you're into action-horror.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Movie review of Along Came Polly

This morning I watched Along Came Polly, starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Anniston, because there's not a whole lot of other things I can do (due to my shoulder).

I picked up the DVD cheap (used), and it's been in my "To Watch" pile.  Once I started watching it, I realized that The Lady and I have watched it before, back when we lived in Seattle.

The fact that I'd already seen it, but didn't remember having seen it, says a lot.

So:  It's fine, and I laughed in a few places.  But I didn't notice any scenes that I would revisit again and again -- and no "choice lines".

So -- worth seeing once. 

Some sex talk, implied sex, and probably some cussing (I don't remember).



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Partway through day two

So, I'm partway through Day 2 of my little adventure.

I've learned that I can unscrew a jug of milk one-handed, make a bowl of cereal, and eat it -- but it's hard to get the last little bits by myself because I can't tilt the bowl and use a spoon at the same time.

When you try to butter toast, the toast skitters around, so you need to borrow a child to hold the toast.

I had to have someone else floss for me:  my right hand no longer reaches that high.

Typing one-handed is a nuisance -- but shockingly, one-handed keyboards cost $550:  a rip.

I've worked out a technique for folding some bits of laundry one-handed -- but haven't tried it on shirts or pants.

Until I see a specialist -- and get the bones pushed back into place -- I'm in limbo.  I don't want to move my right arm, for fear of shifting my pieces further out of alignment.  Ergh.


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Saturday, October 17, 2015

That was stupid

Yesterday around 5:30pm I managed to dislocate my shoulder and break off the end of my collarbone.  It was completely avoidable -- I was showing off for some little kids, was in a rush, underestimated the risk, and didn't prepare properly.

Funny how a single moment can put you on a completely different trajectory.   I was going to mow the lawn, then spend the rest of the weekend building things out of wood.  Nope:  you need two arms for that.

I also have to take the week off work -- and not in an interesting way (see above), and won't be able to drive for a while.  And, there goes my weight training for I-don't-know-how-many months.

So, I'm feeling a bit stupid.

But, I guess I've learned... stuff.

Possibly will need surgery -- but won't know until the swelling goes down and an ortho can see me (hopefully mid-week).

On the positive side, I might get a chance to get better at the piano (one-handed, at least).  And catch up on reading my e-mails (the writing of emails is cumbersome, as I'm one-handed).  Maybe record a keyboard-only song?  (Not my primary instrument -- or even with a level of competency, but...)

Going back to work will be awkward, as I'm a touch typist and (kind of) a programmer -- so, frustrating.

Ah well.




I heard a gristle-sounding "crunch" as I drove my shoulder into the ground. 
A stuntman roll, across a distance, but I was too leisurely in my approach, so didn't get enough distance, AND let my arm collapse instead of keeping it in position.  So a confluence of things. 
Basically, accidents (workshop, driving, etc) seem to occur when you're in a hurry and/or not focused or planning properly, and/or take shortcuts from the best approach.  I was several of those.  Sloppy in both the planning AND the execution.  In hindsight, avoidable at several points -- as are most accidents.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Movie review of Dan in Real Life

Last night I watched the movie Dan in Real Life. I liked it a lot: its well-written, well-acted, and had some sweet sections. Steve Carell plays “sad” well.

Steve Carell plays a widower with three daughters. He's a good guy, and a pretty good – but imperfect – dad. On the way to the annual family get-together – with his parents, his siblings and spouses, and their kids (and his kids) – he meets the woman of his dreams. Then it turns out that she's his younger brother's new girlfriend.

It spoke to me: I was in a similar situation, a hundred years ago.

Two quotes from the movie:

If you want to be completely honest – sing.”
Love isn't an emotion: it's an ability.”


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Saturday, October 10, 2015

De-rusting with vinegar

When I venture into garage sales and antique shops, I often end up buying a few rusty tools.

My technique for cleaning them up is to soak them in cheap vinegar for a week -- then rinse them off with water, while scrubbing them with a handheld wire brush -- and then drying them with a rag, and spraying them with WD-40 (and also spraying the bristles of the wire brush, so that it doesn't rust!).

Some people use something alkaline to "stop" the acid.  I used to make a solution of water and baking soda and dunk the tools after the initial water-rinse -- but I stopped doing that long ago, with no apparent(!!!) ill effects.

Also:  if you're as cheap as I am -- pretty much anything acidic seems to work.  I've used my wife's expired Diet Coke (the artificial sweeteners turn sour after a year or so), and also the squeezings of lemons that have started to go bad.  They all seem to work -- although I hedge my bets my mixing them in with the vinegar.

Here's a recent example.  I'd picked up the tools at a garage sale a few months ago.

I have a few different plastic tubs to choose from.  I try to get one that best fits the size of what I'm soaking, just to make the most efficient use of vinegar.

Here's the tools submerged in vinegar.  I also have a few rocks that I put in, to fill in the empty spaces.  Note that the metal pieces are touching each other:  this doesn't seem to be a problem; the "touching" areas also end up de-rusted.

Then I just put it off to the side, and wait a week.  Occasionally I'll jiggle the tub a bit, so that the vinegar slooshes around.  It could be that my agitating the tub occasionally permits the rust removal at the points where the metal bits are touching.

By the end of the week, there's a weird layer of orange foamy scuzz floating on the top of the vinegar.  But it's harmless.  I just dump it out on the lawn. 

One of the people on the woodworking handtools e-mail list that I belong to says that two days is better, because longer than that and the vinegar actually eats into the metal itself.  But I haven't found that.

Plus, for me, "from weekend to weekend" suits my available worktimes.

And, here's the finished results.  I've used this de-rusting approach a lot over the years -- but never with items with moving parts.  So I was pleased that even through the wrench and the callipers were "stuck" when I put them into the vinegar, they actually moved freely once I took them out.

I actually took the wrench completely apart to scrub it with the wire brush, and I dried it and WD-40'd it inside and out.

Some people don't like the resulting grey color.  But I think it's pretty cool.

Note that when you rinse and scrub the items under water, it tends to stain your hands.

Also, I end up having to use soap and water to clean the residual WD-40 off of my skin.  I should probably wear protective gloves.


Movie review of The Comet

Last night I watched The Comet. It's a romantic comedy, which plays with time in that the movie keeps jumping forwards and backwards in time, through various stages of the couple's on-again, off-again relationship.

I liked it pretty much – it had some good dialogue, and there were some bits where I laughed – but I was dissatisfied with the ambiguity of the ending.

I did like the Sherlock Holmes-like deductive reasoning abilities of the male lead, though. And the lead is played by Justin Long – whom I tend to enjoy.

There were several frank sexual references, and a fair amount of swearing.

Worth seeing once – but I won't be buying the DVD.



Friday, October 09, 2015

I must be eyecatching

Tonight I almost stopped by the local fish and chips place -- but then decided that I should get something that wasn't deep-fried, and went to the Subway sandwich place next door.

Whenever I choose Subway over the fish and chips place I feel a little guilty, because the fish and chips place is a non-chain, whereas the Subway shop is a multinational chain (although I suspect that this branch is a franchise, so locally owned).

While I was standing in line -- wearing a funky vest and tie, and my black cowboy hat -- a guy entered the shop, approached me, and asked if he could take a "selfie" with me.  I agreed.

When he left, I followed him outside to see what it was all about.  It turns out that he was sitting with some friends outside the fish and chips shop, and one of his friends had bet him forty bucks that he wouldn't approach me and ask for a photo.

I jokingly asked if I could get some sort of commission, for my participation.  Just then the waitress from the fish and chips shop walked by, so I changed my request and said, "If there is a commission, just give it to the waitress as an extra tip." 

Then I went back to the Subway shop.

A little while later, the guy stuck his head inside the Subway shop and told me that he'd given the waitress ten bucks.

Sounds good.  :)


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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Two bachelor tricks

I had forgotten about these, but these came up in a conversation with a co-worker.

Here's three "lifehacks", from back when I was a single guy, living in a two-bedroom apartment with my roommate Old Roomate.

Number 1:  Never make your bed.  There's no point.  As long as the bottom is tucked in, it's more efficient to leave it "open" -- that is, with the top sheets and blankets folded back.  Not only does it air out the bed, but it's faster to go to bed that night:  just jump in!

Number 2:  I used to use one of these -- 
-- as my primary dish.  It was a really big mug for hot chocolate; it was a soup bowl; it was a cereal bowl; and you could cook microwave burritos in it.  Basically, you cook in the same container that you eat out of.  And you can refrigerate leftovers, and then eat them again, also from the same container.  And, since I never had any guests, I didn't need any additional bowls or plates.  Actually, I had a few other bowls and plates -- but I rarely used them.

Number 3:  Put your dirty dishes in the 'fridge or freezer, instead of washing them.  This works better, of course, if you do number two (above), and just have a single dish.  Just give it a bit of a rinse, if you anticipate the next flavor "clashing" with the old flavor (e.g. stew versus cold cereal!), then put the container in the 'fridge so the bacteria doesn't build up like it would if you left it on the counter.  And the new layer of food "flows" across the old layer, like a running brook -- so the surface layer of residual stuff is always getting renewed.


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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

My shadow

I've been playing dress-up for the last few months, including with hats.

This last weekend I saw a black cowboy hat on sale.  I don't own any proper cowboy hats -- until now, that is.

It's coming into summer, here in Australia -- so it was about time to transition from the smaller-brimmed fedoras into something with a wider brim.

I've been wearing the cowboy hat to and from work, all this week.  Back in Seattle, I'd feel like a poser.  But in Australia:   eh, I'm an American -- I'm allowed to wear a cowboy hat.

Here's a shot, at night, using my cheap smartphone (thanks to The Girl for taking the photo).

When you wear a cowboy hat, you get a pretty cool silhouette.   :)


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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Movie review of The Giant Mechanical Man AKA Love is in the Air

For some reason, the movie that I rented last night is called Love is in the Air in Australia -- but in the U.S. it was called The Giant Mechanical Man.  Huh.  The American title actually makes a lot more sense.

The movie is about two people who are in their early 30s (I think), and are kind of lost.  The guy is a performance artist, where he dresses up in silver paint and walking stilts, and is a giant mechanical man.  The woman just got fired from her temp job.  And they both answer an ad for "various jobs available" at the local zoo.

It's a sweet movie, although rather low-key.  A few good lines.

For a variety of reasons, it spoke to me and where I am at the moment.

As you might know, I collect good quotes.  There's a quote that takes place at a birthday party, and is paraphrased later in the movie:

"It only takes just one person, just one person, to make you feel special, and valid, and like you belong in the world."


"It just takes one person, just one person, to make you feel like you belong -- to make you feel special."

I think the second version is a little punchier.

Some swearing, and implied sex (i.e. they end up in bed, obviously naked under the covers).  No violence that I recall.

It has a sweet ending, which is a happy ending -- so, yay!  :)

You might, or might not, like it.  But I did.


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Monday, October 05, 2015

Movie review of Age of Adaline

Last night I watched The Age of Adaline.  It's kind of a fantasy -- except that it's "played straight", beyond the basic premise that a person can live many decades without aging.

A young widow named Adaline is in her late 20s when she gets into a car accident -- and stops aging.  Her daughter thus ends up the same age as her mother -- and then older.  Adaline ends up having to go into hiding and never fall in love, due to the complications of not aging while your partner does.

It's a well-made, enjoyable movie:  some amusing bits, some sweet bits, some sad bits. 

There are some vague sexual references (mostly, they've clearly had sex with each other, but nothing is "shown"), and some occasional swearing.

I really enjoyed it – but because there weren't any “key scenes” that I can see myself watching over and over again, I won't be buying it on DVD.  But it's  totally worth watching.



Down the rabbit hole

Well, I've gone down the rabbit hole with YouTube, and with Wikpedia -- chasing layers upon layers of interesting-sounding related links -- but never with poetry.

I rented The Age of Adeline on DVD, and one scene around the twenty-minute mark has a guy quoting some poem about "Jenny Kissed Me".  It sounds like a good poem, so I Google it, and find it here at The Poetry Foundation -- and the next thing I know I've started a "Poetry" folder on my hard drive, saved twenty-one poems to it, and re-discovered Sonnet #18 from Shakespeare:  "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" -- which I memorized in high school.

I've never been "into" poetry -- but I appreciate a good song lyric, so --

Good stuff.



Saturday, October 03, 2015

Movie Review - Singing in the Rain

Each weekend we have "Family Movie Night", where we have a roster for whose turn it is to choose the DVD from the fairly large pile of unwatched movies.

Tonight it was my turn, and I chose Singing in the Rain.  I wasn't sure that the kids would sit through it -- especially my youngest boys (B1, B2), who are six.  Particularly the musical numbers.

But, they were actually engaged.  I was impressed.  And I was also impressed with how well the movie has aged:  it didn't seem "dated" at all -- which, of course, is why it's such a "classic".

Just in case you don't know the story:  it's about a movie star (Gene Kelly) around 1927, just as silent movies were transitioning to "talkies".  His recurring co-star/leading lady has a horrible voice, which causes difficulties in re-working a half-finished movie to make it sound-compatible.

There's more, but that's enough -- except that I'd forgotten how fun Donald O'Connor is.  :)

The kids each had a favorite musical number, which they were comparing after the movie ended (B2's was "Make 'Em Laugh", if I recall correctly).

So, yeah -- a success.

I recommend you re-watch it.  A good movie.


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