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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Spinal Tap x3

Between law school, seamstress-ing, and my food blog, I don't really update this blog ever. But poor Joel Watson at Hijinks Ensue just went through a spinal tap and I feel for him. So, I'm reposting an abridged version of my popular account of my spinal tap.
-J

One day, I got a call from my mom saying, "Hey, I'm going to get new glasses. Want to come get some too?"
And I said yes, for I had been aching for a sassy new pair of glasses.
We get to the optometrist, she does my eye exam, and then she says "Hm."
I fucking HATE when doctors do that. It means something is not business as usual and that always ends badly for me.
"Hm?" I reply.
"Well, your optic nerves are really swollen. You need to have those checked out right away."
"Great, I'll make an appointment for next week."
"I meant sooner."
"Fine, we'll get someone to squeeze me in tomorrow."
"I mean, you should go to the emergency room now. The Wilmer at Hopkins has one that's open 24/7."
"Huh."
"Yeah, here's a script."

So, we make a brief stop off at home, and then we head to the emergency room. With both of my parents. I was not freaked out until they BOTH decided they wanted to come. It made me paranoid that they somehow thought that my head might explode Scanners-style and they wanted to be there for my last moments. They are both fans of fireworks.

Anyway, after being admitted into the main ER, we waited SEVEN HOURS to be seen at the Wilmer ER. I was thankful I was not really considered a priority case, but I wish I had known ahead of time so I could have brought a book or my ipod. Instead, I had to make do with half-hearted political talk with my dad, cell-phone tetris, and calling people on the West Coast.

Finally, the ER doctor saw me. It is 3 am and I am tired. She dilated my pupils, shined some lights, did a vision test, stuck a pressure gauge into my eye, and said, "Hm."

I fucking HATE "Hm."

"Your optic nerves are swollen. But you're 20/20. And you've had no headaches?"
"Nope."
"No dizziness."
"Nope."
"I'm going to call neurology."
"Keen."

So, eventually, a neurologist made his way to the ER. Nice guy, looked a LOT like David Cross. He made me do all the neurology bits, what with the walking, touching, lifting my limbs, asking if I've been slurring. I'm half-surprised I passed them because I was pretty out of it. He looks at his chart and then looks at me.

"Hm."

I swear loudly in my head.

"We're going to need to run some tests. You appear to have a lot of pressure behind your eyes. It could just be spinal fluid, but we need to make sure it isn't tumors or clots. We'll admit you as an in-patient and start testing right away," he tells me.

"Ok, sounds fine," I answer.

"It's probably just excess fluid in the skull, it's called pseudo-tumor. It's not all that uncommon. But we have to rule out all the other options first. Really, the best case scenario is we find that it's pseudo-tumor, we do a lumbar puncture, and we get you out of here."

Did he just say my BEST CASE SCENARIO was a SPINAL TAP?
I am not so happy about this.

So I am admitted 4am, Thursday morning. Over the next 24 hours or so, I am subjected to MRIs, MRVs (with contrast, ew), CT scans, literally about a dozen blood tests, and am made to pee in a cup. All the while, I am being hovered over by half a dozen residents, who view my anomalous condition as a science experiment.
I had a really cute, super-sweet, Peruvian neurology resident named Fransisco on my team though, so that was pleasant. He held my hand as the attempted to do my first spinal tap. They wanted to do it bedside, with me on my side, which essentially means they had to approximate where to stick the needle. It was easily one of the most painful experiences of my life, and I have a chunk of flesh missing from my left leg, so I know from pain. ANYWAY, they shoot me with lidocaine, which hurts like a bitch all on its own. (God forbid they dope me up ahead of time with something a little more... comprehensive.) They then attempt to do the lumbar puncture. Attempt, being the operative word. They actually stick me several times, because they are having issues finding the right spot and they keep saying, and I quote, "meeting resistance," which I am pretty sure is codeword for "Fuck, I think I might be hitting her spine."

Finally, they give up and agree to send me down to radiology so they can use the fluoroscope to do the puncture. It is less painful than the bedside tap, which is not to say it is a walk in the park. It's is vaguely reminiscent of having a root canal. In your spine.
But it gets done, they drain off 8cc's for sampling. The radiologist asks if I am feeling any better, as draining fluid usually helps relieve headaches in patients with pseudo tumor. I explain that I came in asymptomatic, so really, I felt just fine up until they shoved a giant needle into my spine. He raises an eyebrow and they send me back to my room.

But you see, the problem was that they were supposed to drain me down to a normal pressure. Apparently, that order had gotten lost somewhere. So, a few hours later, they send me back for my second run through, where they take off 17cc's. Fabulous. I have now had 3 spinal taps (ok, two spinal taps and a failed spinal tap) in under 16 hours.

Happily, they sent me home on Friday afternoon and I made it to Faire on Sunday, with the promise that I do not do any heavy lifting or bending, because, you know, when they shove that giant needle into your spine, it actually dislocates it some.
Also, Steve made me feel like a total badass for showing up to faire as soon as I did, which filled my little hardcore heart with joy. :-)

And then, the next day I caught a cold. Which sucked.
But less than multiple spinal taps.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gratuitous Picture Post

I have oft mentioned my mad gardening habits. I have some sunflowers and whatnot that are coming along beautifully.
I took pictures my green babies a few days ago (in case the bunnies get at them again).
So, a couple gratuitous pictures. (And a link so you can see more if you'd like, without me clogging up my blog and the internets with huge pictures. It is, after all, a series of tubes.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

oh teh n0ez! I R not funny!

I hadn't gotten any flames for so long, I was starting to feel a bit cold. But as luck would have it, the blog gods granted me a flamer of the particularly obnoxious type on my previous review.
Let's have a look, shall we?
The flame, in its entirety. Plus a little spice from yours truly.

Anonymous said...
(Ahhhh, yes. The pansy-ass coward who won't even take responsibility for his remarks. I should TOTALLY respect this guy.
Hey, Anonymous; at least I had the balls to attach my name to my opinions.)

That was honestly the worst review I have ever read half of.
(At least I watched the whole movie before I made my opinion on it. And I read your whole comment before making my opinion that you are a jackass.)

The worst thing any one can say about a movie is that it was accidentaly funny.
(No, the worst thing anyone can say about a movie is "It made me vomit up my internal organs and for a brief moment, I smelled flesh burning, and heard children screaming, men gnashing their teeth, and the sun was blocked from the sky." But I like to save those gems for Dungeons&Dragons.)

Do you honsetly think you sence of humor is better of more suffisticated then any in voled with superbad?
(I don't think I ever claimed that. MY sense of humor wasn't in question. However, your "sence" of spelling and grammar is a whole other problem. I'm not sure I even really understood that sentence.
Let me give you some advice- if you can't spell "sophisticated", you probably aren't an authority on it.)

And people were worried about the state of public education!

Listen, I don't make any claims to my sense of humor. The point of the review wasn't to be funny; frankly, I wasn't even trying to be funny. The point of the review was to review the movie, any semblance of humor is simply incidental to my writing style. And I don't care if Superbad is your "new fave movie 4evar LOLZ", you're welcome to name your firstborn after it. But if you're getting all defensive just because "oh teh n0ez! teh interweb grrl sed bad thingz! boohoo!", then you might be overcompensating for something.
In any case, it's hardly a reason to be bugging me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

SuperBad - actually only moderately bad. But still bad.

Those who know me are aware that I will often extol the glory that is the Maryland Film Festival for hours on end, often against the audience's will. One of the benefits of associating with the MDFF is the frequent receipt of advance screening passes. A few weeks ago, I received advance screening passes to the movie Superbad. Normally, I wouldn't bother to go see the generic teen comedy in a theater, but it WAS free and I felt like spending some quality time with my good friend, Yo. So, against my better judgment, I headed off to the Hunt Valley Regal cinema, stood in an absurdly slow line, and was frisked for recording devices - all to see Superbad.

Superbad is, as the title implies, bad. The general plot of the movie revolves around two high school seniors and co-dependent best friends, Seth and Evan, as they navigate their final weeks before they go to separate colleges. It's a general coming of age theme, as Seth and Evan come to terms with their inevitable separation. Also, trying to get laid. That's important, too. There is nothing new or novel here.

The main movement of the movie is Seth and Evan's desperate attempt to acquire liquor for a party, in hopes of getting some action from their respective love interests. Various hijinx ensue.

Really, that's it.

The humor is sophomoric, at best, and the dialogue is sub-par to average. It often feels forced and contrived to get in the required amount of penis jokes. Did I mention the extraordinary amount of penis jokes? There is a vague underlying subtext of homoeroticism between the two best friends and all the humor related to that area is included. Not to mention the liberal (read: overuse) of profanity. Listen, I'm not a prude when it comes to profanity and bawdy humor. Not only do I often swear like a sailor myself; I assure you, I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin Smith's Clerks (and various other related movies) as much as anyone else and I frequent Rocky Horror showings. However, in Superbad, the copious amount of obscenity seems awkward and self-conscious, as if it was placed there in a labored, artificial attempt to seem "edgy".

The characters are a mixed bag. In an example of surprising incongruity, the characters, while extremely identifiable, fail to arouse much empathy in the viewer. You'll find yourself thinking, "Hey, that reminds me of so-and-so!" But you won't actually care. All character pairings/groupings, including the protagonist best friends, fail to exude a respectable amount of chemistry. In fact, I felt more likely to identify with Seth and Evan when they fought, than when they were bonding. The only exceptions to the lack of chemistry? Police partners, Officers Slater (Bill Hader) and Michaels; Michaels played by Superbad co-writer, Seth Rogen. In addition, this pair of cops make for the most amiable characters in the movie. Though often subject to arduous task of maintaining a suspension of belief in spite of overly outrageous, unbelievable behavior, they prove to be funny and likable.

In spite of the mediocre script, the movie is not without some extremely funny moments and some casual empathy towards the characters; these benefits are much attributed to the timing and performance of the actors. The acting in Superbad is not a tour de force by any means, but it still proves to be the most redeemable aspect of the movie. While no actor is particularly spectacular, the best performance probably comes from Jonah Hill as Seth. With a firm grasp on comedic timing and delivery, he makes the best of the writing given to him and is the source of the majority of the "laugh out loud" moments. Another mention goes to Emma Stone as Jules for her almost jarringly natural performance, starkly contrasting against the consistently affected acting of most of her co-stars. And on the topic of jarring contrasts, Michael Cera as Evan delivers a surprisingly subtle performance, an ambiguous foil to Hill's screen-grabbing Seth. Unfortunately, without the needed chemistry between Cera and Hill, Cera's performance seems unenthusiastic, or at best, inadvertently unimposing. And finally, the less said about the awkward and labored performance of Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fogel "McLovin", the better.

Final impressions? I left this movie disappointed and I didn't even go into it with high expectations. The ending felt predictable with only a shallow attempt at closure. I left without feeling particularly entertained and debating if it had been worth the time spent seeing it. Even for free. Superbad enjoyed brief, almost accidental, moments of hilarity; but fell short as a whole. So, essentially, it wasn't as bad as Dungeons & Dragons (which kills more brain cells than a week of non-stop heavy drinking, but with less social value), but it doesn't even meet the standards of previous respectable Rogen film, The 40 Year Old Virgin. So, my suggestion? Save your money. Or if you HAVE to see it, at least be drunk.


I will state in the interest of fairness, Superbad does not fall in any of my preferred genres of movies. I dig surrealism, French New Wave, Kung Fu, film noir, foreign films, and pretty much any film by Jan Svankmajer. Without seeing the movie, one could certainly ascertain that Superbad does not even remotely identify with the above genres. However, that's the critic's right; to apply personal tastes to reviewing a movie. So, I disliked it, but if you really dig the generic teen comedy and love you some penis jokes, then this movie may be right up your alley.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I am like candy to them

I garden. It's fun, it's calming, and it's a good source of fresh ingredients. And I love bunnies. They are adorable and often make me smile.
But those damn bunnies need to stop eating my garden.
Specifically, they are just going to town eating my sunflowers. I started with 5. Three got eaten within the first two weeks. This weekend, a rabbit ate one of my two remaining flowers that had already started to bloom.
Bunnies, I love you, but I must destroy you.
Stop eating my flowers. If you must, eat the nasturtium. It is plentiful and delicious. But stop eating the sunflowers that I have painstakingly grown from itty bitty seeds. It is not groovy.
I have one sunflower left, with 3 blossoms on it. I am praying the bunnies will have mercy on it.

On a different note, I have advance screening passes to Superbad and Stardust. I'm taking Yo to Superbad tomorrow night, but I'm still looking for a movie buddy for Stardust, August 7th, at Arundel Mills.
And there's a Dave and Buster's there, so you know, booze and Neil Gaiman movies make for good bonding.

Excellent music is afoot!

For anyone in the Baltimore area, two extraordinarily awesome groups are playing at the Ottobar next week - Rasputina and My Brightest Diamond.
If you've yet to be exposed to these fabulous artists, just do a quick search on youtube. There are some great videos to help show the light.
August 8th. Ottobar. GO.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My GOD, that is the biggest spider I have ever seen.

The weekend was RIDICULOUS. About a month ago, my friend Alan from the Silver Spring Moishe House (a social hub for Jewish 20-somethings) contacted me, asking me to prepare a meal for the LUV-themed dinner they were going to have. This is pretty ridiculous, as I am chronically single, run a community commonly known as the "Anti-Marriage Group", and have a tradition of writing violent and STD related haikus on Valentine's Day. But, it gave me the opportunity to cook an elaborate meal for a large group, so I agreed.
As is my way, I went absolutely NUTS planning it. However, the implementation was even crazier than my planning. After about 2 weeks of planning an extensive, aphrodisiac-themed meal, on Weds, I forwarded my shopping list to one of the house members to approve and buy. (The house receives a budget from the parent org to do these events.) I was planning to start cooking Thursday evening. However, due to a whole mess of... messes... I wasn't able to get my ingredients until Friday afternoon. (Let's just say someone at the house had dropped the ball on this one.) By the time I had made it back from the store, it was 3pm and I had until 8pm to cook.
You have never seen someone cook as fast as I did. Thankfully, I have experience cooking for large groups in short periods of time and I whipped up a cooking schedule. Towards the end, I had to cut a few dishes out, but no one starved, I can assure you that.

Aphrodisiac Dish Menu
  • Homemade Challah Bread
  • Spiced Grilled Veggies
  • Various salads provided by attendees
  • Swiss Potato Gratin
  • Casanova's Macaroni (Originally, it was going to be homemade gnocchi, but time made me switch the gnocchi to linguini)
  • Linguini with Pesto
  • Champagne Fruit Soup
  • Dark Chocolate Truffles
  • Cocayoa Truffles (Chili Truffles)
My only real regret was the dishes I had to cut. Saffron bread, fennel salad, onion soup, strawberry and spinach salad, champagne truffles, and chocolate dipped strawberries injected with liqueur. Not to mention, in addition to those, I had a dozen or so recipes waiting in the wings and another dozen drink recipes. On that note, I am happy to talk cooking, menus, and recipes with anyone interested.

My god, I love to cook.

Anyhow, the menu was well received and everyone was delicified, however no one seemed particularly amorous. I guess that's a strike against the aphrodisiac theory, but it was still fun.

Now I am in relaxation mode as I've finished my summer law class and the dinner. I have a good 3 or 4 weeks to relax before having to hit the books again, so I'll be relaxing HARD. A great deal of reading, gardening, and casual gaming is on the horizon. Not to mention some fun times with Yo and her little one and possibly some participation in the upcoming Baltimore Restaurant Week. Hoooooray!

Stay groovy kids!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Wish I Could Quit You... but not really.

I know I've been on a long hiatus* from this blog, but I'm gearing up to start again. Recent studies and activities have given me a brand new zeal for giving my opinion to anyone who will hear it.
Keep an eye out. Upcoming posts include coverage of my cooking exploits this weekend and my surprising anger involving federal overreaching.
Also, maybe monkeys. We'll see.



*hiatus= Sold out and switched over to LiveJournal for a bit.