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?