Monthly Archives: February 2009

Best Table Tennis Celebration

This is so awe­some.

Adam Bobrow (the player in blue) times his loop per­fectly in the mid­dle of a series of defen­sive lobs against the smash of his oppo­nent, throw­ing off his oppo­nents offen­sive rhythm, and caus­ing him to drive the ball into the net.

I gen­er­ally don’t post stuff like this (i.e. con­tent that isn’t mine, as I don’t want to have a tum­blelog), but I couldn’t resist. As an avid lover of table ten­nis (who has since given up prac­tices for a love for Tai Chi because they’re on con­flict­ing nights), and as a player who fre­quently gets destroyed by oppo­nents in the league, I under­stand exactly how good it feels to get a sin­gle point when it’s match point for the other guy. After all, it’s not a com­plete thrash­ing if you don’t have zero points. You can tell the ref isn’t impressed, but he doesn’t hand out a yel­low card for misconduct.

I want to see some­one do this after win­ning in push hands. :D

Edit: I showed the video to Norm, my old league team­mate and coach, and also a cer­ti­fied level 5 umpire (the high­est level you can get, which means you can pre­side over inter­na­tional and Olympic level matches; I’m a lowly cer­ti­fied level 1 umpire). He had this to say:

I watched the game, when the point was over and the guy did his dance I wouldn’t give him a yel­low card for the first 5 sec­onds. But he kept on doing this and it def­i­nitely deserves a yel­low card. But then when I saw the score board, I changed my mine again. Seems like the game was lop­sided and he was just crown­ing around for his point.

I have to agree. If he was cel­e­brat­ing a lop­sided game on his end, it would be con­sid­ered cocky. But the fact that he’s los­ing and danc­ing to such a hol­low vic­tory means that he acknowl­edges how badly he’s los­ing. Well played.

My First Colonoscopy

Warning: This may be a lit­tle too much infor­ma­tion for some. I find it funny that almost a year ago, Tiana crowned her­self the win­ner of our inad­ver­tent com­pe­ti­tion on gross-out bod­ily func­tion blog­ging, and specif­i­cally men­tioned that to top her period-blogging I would need to do a live blog­ging of a colonoscopy. I was too sedated to do a live blog­ging, so this is a night-of blogging.

Bishop takes rook-pawn, Tiana. Your move.

Before

The first (overnight) lax­a­tive is to clean out your colon of all solid wastes. It doesn’t kick in overnight, it starts work­ing in about an hour, which means you aren’t going to get much sleep.

The sec­ond lax­a­tive (mag­ne­sium cit­rate) makes your intes­tine absorb water through osmo­sis, so that you start pass­ing liq­uid for a more thor­ough clean­ing. The mag­ne­sium cit­rate wasn’t as bad tast­ing as I expected (sort of a chem­i­cally sour lemon­ade), but that, along with hav­ing to drink ten glasses of water to make it effec­tive, did make me slightly nauseous.

When liq­uid comes out of you from this end, it doesn’t make a nice con­tained splosh. No, it goes every­where. I lost track of how many times I went to the bath­room, and used almost two rolls of toi­let paper in two days. And when you wipe this many times, even three-ply, ultra-soft toi­let paper feels like it’s coated in dia­mond dust and dipped in acid.

I was able to get through a decent chunk of my novel, The Last Light of the Sun, and learned from GQ how to “Work That Tan”, why Shia LaBeouf is the upcom­ing bad boy of Hollywood, and that Rolex makes a $37,500 nau­ti­cal watch.

You really don’t feel like doing any­thing but lie around when going through this. As such, I was able to fin­ish God of War 2, and unlocked the awe­some Cod of War cos­tume, which still makes me laugh every time a Greek sol­dier addresses Kratos as “My lord!” when he’s wear­ing it.

During

Every per­son I spoke to who had a colonoscopy said that it was a breeze. Not so for me.

Pretty much as soon as they injected the seda­tive into my IV, I passed out, only to be awoken by bouts of agony. I’d say that for the entire pro­ce­dure I was only con­scious for about two min­utes in total, but those two min­utes were not fun. I don’t think I would have woken up if it wasn’t for the pain.

Part of the dis­com­fort is sup­posed to come from inject­ing air into the colon so they can bet­ter see the colon. I couldn’t tell if it was that, the instru­ment they used to do it, or the endo­scope itself snaking into my colon, but I felt a sharp pres­sure on both the anal cav­ity, and inside the colon.

I remem­ber scream­ing through grit­ted teeth, grab­bing the han­dles of the bed, swear­ing, and think­ing that I should have bet­ter man­ners before pass­ing out again.

At one point, some­one also had to hold me down, and uttered com­fort­ing words, but I couldn’t make out what he said.

After

Since the colon is inflated with air, I was warned that I’d be pass­ing gas for a while after the pro­ce­dure. This is true, and very invol­un­tary.

I have severe ulcer­i­tive col­i­tis, which is an inflam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease. The doc­tor showed me pic­tures of my colon; the right side is fine, but the left side is so inflamed that it’s black, red, and bleed­ing. All the infor­ma­tion is being sent to another spe­cial­ist, whom I’m very glad to be able to see soon.

I was pretty groggy for a while after, par­tially because I hadn’t eaten in two days, and par­tially because of the seda­tive. Every time I stood up, I felt like I was going to pass out.

Right now, I have to take 12 pills a day, one of them being pred­nisone, a steroid to sup­press the over­ac­tive immune sys­tem responses, the other being mesalamine, an anti-inflammitory drug to bring the swelling under con­trol. These drugs are scary. The side effects are pretty bad, but the doc­tor judged the ben­e­fits to out­weigh the poten­tial risks.

I may have to take pills (con­sid­ered “main­te­nance med­ica­tions” to pre­vent relapse) for the rest of my life. While I feel this low­ers my qual­ity of life, it’s much bet­ter than deal­ing with the flare-ups and side effects of col­i­tis. Aside from that, the only cure is to have part of my colon removed in surgery, which I really don’t want to do.

The diag­no­sis of hav­ing a chronic diges­tive dis­ease is not great, but I’m very relieved to have an expla­na­tion of the mys­tery pains, along with a treat­ment plan.

I hate, hate, hate being alone when I’m feel­ing sick. My stom­ach still feels very funny and unset­tled. So Julie came over last night to hang out a bit and to take my mind off every­thing, and watch some Robson Arms.

Helpless Wondering

I’m almost ready for spring. The win­ter isn’t get­ting on my nerves quite yet. The only thing I miss right now is being able to drive com­fort­ably with­out a heavy coat on.

I’ve been feel­ing ter­ri­bly help­less lately. There are so many things in my life that are out of my con­trol — health, love, money, work — that I’ve actu­ally con­sid­ered doing a thought record for the first time since I fin­ished ther­apy. Last week I woke up chok­ing in the mid­dle of the night. Then half way through the day I started devel­op­ing mod­er­ate chest pains. I try not to worry when I’m awake, but at night, in my sleep, every­thing comes out. Maybe every­thing is start­ing to get to me.

I want things to hap­pen quickly. I’m impa­tient. I want to be proac­tive, but there’s not much I can do. Verse 42 of the Tao Te Ching has been speak­ing to me:

Who knows what fate may bring —
  one day your loss may be your for­tune
  one day your for­tune may be your loss

While I usu­ally crave the flux between con­stancy and change, I pre­fer it in one thing at a time. It feels like I’m going through another tran­si­tion period. Nothing around me is settled.

All I can do is wait to see where I end up.

Name My First Painting

The dead­line for name sub­mis­sions is over, and the con­test is closed. I’ll announce the win­ner over the week­end. A big thank you to every­one who participated!

My first painting

This is the first paint­ing I’ve ever made. I’ll suf­fix that with “in my adult life”, because I prob­a­bly did some­thing with my hands when I was a kid.

Julie, who’s very famil­iar with the medium, got me to sit down and paint with her. I was able to play around with dif­fer­ent tech­niques of strokes and the like. It was inter­est­ing to dis­cover the way the colours bleed, the con­sis­tency of the paint, and the tex­ture of the canvas.

It’s def­i­nitely abstract. I agree with Dan’s astrol­ogy read­ing, in which he said that I see colours dif­fer­ently, but that doesn’t mean I can cre­ate them. Frédéric once told me that it’s eas­ier for him to paint than pho­to­graph, because if he needs a cer­tain colour, he can just add it to the paint­ing by hand, whereas you can’t do this with a scene in pho­tog­ra­phy. My forté seems to be in cap­tur­ing instead.

Painting doesn’t come nat­u­rally to me. In ele­men­tary and high school, I went direc­tion of music (gui­tar, voice, flute, and piano) instead of visual art. In uni­ver­sity, when I wasn’t play­ing in bands any­more, I stuck with the writ­ten word, and even­tu­ally moved to pho­tog­ra­phy and video when that wasn’t enough.

So the paint­ing cur­rently remains unti­tled. Partially because I can’t put a name to it, and par­tially because I haven’t decided what it is. Which seems a lit­tle silly to me, as my need to cre­ate has always come from the need to express. Even though Jackson Pollock once said, “When I am in my paint­ing, I’m not aware of what I’m doing”, his paint­ings still had a direc­tion, a life of their own, much like an impro­vised jazz solo.

What do you see, and what would you name it?

Leave your sug­ges­tions in the com­ments, and I’ll choose a win­ner next Friday. The win­ner will win the paint­ing! Yes, I’ll even ship it to you. The dimen­sions are roughly 8.5″×11″ (or 21.6cm×28cm).

Pain Is Better Than Emptiness

I’ve come to real­ize that I cling to pain and yearn­ing because they give me inspi­ra­tion. They may not be the sole source, but cer­tainly a great deal. I always lis­ten to Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith dur­ing such moods, as they have the abil­ity to inten­sify and deepen the sadness.

I can tell it’s some­thing of a destruc­tive habit. It’s almost like I sub­con­sciously choose to dwell on things that have been resolved for the sake of some­thing to write about.

It makes me think of the last lines from King Missile’s song Ed:

Yes, this is the answer. This is the end­ing. I shall keep on run­ning, because a body in motion tends to stay emo­tional, and it’s bet­ter to feel. Pain is bet­ter than empti­ness, empti­ness is bet­ter than noth­ing, and noth­ing is bet­ter than this.”

Is this how I feel alive, a way of bring­ing sig­nif­i­cance to my life? Or is this the way I truly feel, and I’m sim­ply a slow healer, and too much of a thinker?

Or per­haps the bet­ter ques­tion is this: does hap­pi­ness inspire me just as much?