Broken leg, Part 1

Some quick facts, so that I can record this somewhere:

On Thursday, I sustained multiple fractures in my left leg. A spiral fracture in the tibia, a single fracture in the fibula, and some indeterminate cracks near the ankle.

Luckily, 911 was called on time, and responded quickly, putting my leg in a splint, before the ambulance arrived to take me to the ER. I had a couple of X-rays taken, and then re-admitted to the hospital. An initial doctor consult described the situation, but prescribed an additional CAT scan. I was told the surgery would be the following afternoon.

The splint was initially removed, which was quite painful, but then added back with a compression sock, and I didn’t feel a lot of pain from Thursday night to Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, I met the surgeon, who walked me through the options, being both reassuring and overwhelming(!) I waited for afternoon to come around. Post-op, I felt okay. I had a cast from half way down my knee, to my toes.

On Saturday, I had an initial round of Physical Therapy which didn’t go well at all. It was followed by a very useful round of Occupational Therapy, which covered all the basics (dressing, going to the bathroom, etc). More time passed.

On Sunday, I had another round of each and they went well (occupational therapy covered taking a sponge bath and getting dressed again, and physical therapy covered steps, stairs, car doors … good stuff).

I was discharged and came home on Sunday afternoon, and didn’t need any more pain killers.




Resolutions on Writing

Around 2013, I decided to try a few therapeutic writing exercises, and got hooked. Since then I’ve written a lot for fun, though almost entirely pseudonymously.

I’ve written poems off and on at, and variously sized “flash fiction” at (the site shut down some time ago), and for a while posted snippets and rants on Tumblr. All of this was under some made up name; I don’t think I could’ve ever written anything under my real name.

About a year and a half ago, I started writing (and still do) one rambling bag of seven hundred and fifty words (inspired by Of course, this isn’t shared either, just written and thrown away, which is really the whole point.

I did want to push myself to write more under my own name, but this seemed (1) scary, and (2) pointless. Eventually I started the habit of monthly posts, a kind of “curation” attempt.

Right now there are two of these: one focussed on topics relevant to programming or math or science, etc., and one for everything else. The distinction is a bit silly, but it sort of makes sense, and I’ll keep it that way.

I also write once a month on stuff that happened in my life — this avoids the tendency to post frequent status updates, but, eh, I won’t say anything more about that.

It takes me a while to get to the point, and I’ve buried the lede here. My resolution for next year is to write more frequently, and share more of what I write, though exactly what form that takes, I’m not sure.

Most of what I have to say about the world in general ends up being either unnecessarily controversial, or completely boring. So I don’t want to write long blog posts about that. Perhaps I’ll just share more random snippets that I’ve collected over time, with some commentary. Or perhaps the solution is to weave it into less-frequent long-form writing. Dunno.

Some of this has been brought on by NaNoWriMo being round the corner, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to kill it, but I’m sure going to try. Last year I ended up writing something small and very weird; this time I’m hoping to write something more normal … we’ll see.

Personal Media Summary- September 2016

The Library of Alexandria

Random reads from September:

  • As a sign of the times, some Democrats are now nostalgic1 for Romney.
  • In the speculative archaeology section, links2 between China and ancient Egypt (specifically, that the former might have come from the latter?!)
  • This one3 is hard to summarize, except to say that if you liked ”Snow Crash”, or slightly older cyberpunk, you’ll like it.
  • NPR presents an evolutionary explanation4 for our (lack of!) grasp on reality
  • This one is in the “plus ca change” section: literary egos5 were just as easily bruised a couple of millennia ago.
  • Something relevant in the media-saturated yet misinformed current age: a fable6 about how the visual dominates the literal.
  • This one7 is a bit long and maybe too self-congratulatory, but it’s about ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ things, and I would have loved it when I was younger (I think).
  • I love encyclopedias, so I have to share this8 nostalgic look back at the (perfect!) 11th edition of Britannica in 1911.
  • File this in the “cool cultural artifacts from the recent past”: there are apparently giant concrete arrows across America that were once guideposts for the first airmail routes (!)
  • If you liked “Jodorowsky’s Dune”, you might like this9
  • This one belongs in the “news that didn’t make the news” section: the largest ever General Strike10 in history (150 to 180 million workers) took place in India on September 2nd, but … you probably never heard about it.
  • Note to authors: don’t let the criticism of critics bother you, even if it comes from famous authors themselves. Here11 is one such note, from H. G. Wells to James Joyce from 1928 !

Now with regard to this literary experiment of yours. It’s a considerable thing because you are a very considerable man and you have in your crowded composition a mighty genius for expression which has escaped discipline. But I don’t think it gets anywhere. You have turned your back on common men—on their elementary needs and their restricted time and intelligence, and you have elaborated. What is the result? Vast riddles. Your last two works have been more amusing and exciting to write than they will ever be to read. Take me as a typical common reader. Do I get much pleasure from this work? No. Do I feel I am getting something new and illuminating as I do when I read Anrep’s dreadful translation of Pavlov’s badly written book on Conditioned Reflexes? No. So I ask: Who the hell is this Joyce who demands so many waking hours of the few thousand I have still to live for a proper appreciation of his quirks and fancies and flashes of rendering?

  • This one may be boring, or it may be interesting: charting the course of corporate logos12 through the decades, in particular how they all seemed to have lost the text within them!
  • Finally, if you have to read one long-form article this month, let it be this one: Andrew Sullivan laments13 how “… An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me.”

Has our enslavement to dopamine — to the instant hits of validation that come with a well-crafted tweet or Snapchat streak — made us happier? I suspect it has simply made us less unhappy, or rather less aware of our unhappiness, and that our phones are merely new and powerful antidepressants of a non-pharmaceutical variety. In an essay on contemplation, the Christian writer Alan Jacobs recently commended the comedian Louis C.K. for withholding smartphones from his children. On the Conan O’Brien show, C.K. explained why: “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away,” he said. “Underneath in your life there’s that thing … that forever empty … that knowledge that it’s all for nothing and you’re alone … That’s why we text and drive … because we don’t want to be alone for a second.”

Yep, read it.

Monthly Recap: September 2016

At the playground

Finally made a New York trip after six years (!) and met up with a bunch of old friends (some of them after 15 years) — and Tara went to her first zoo.

Bunch of other miscellany: switched to a more ergonomic setup at work (posture matters, folks!) with a Kinesis split keyboard and an Evoluent mouse, minor post-move changes at home, began reading (listening) to a new audiobook (“Hyperion”), and played with Tara’s first Lego (Duplo) set, a train with a circular track.