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Bionic upgrade en route

I’ve been struggling with this one for a while, but I should probably take some time to let my non-local friends know about the new-ish hiccup in my universe. As a lot of people know, I’ve got an iffy knee, courtesy of a mountain bike vs. hidden ditch accident in 1989. Some of my high school friends may even remember that I spent the summer and fall of our grade 12 year on crutches after some arthroscopic surgery, again, thanks to said accident. (There also was the grad sleepover that year, where Steve Lee grabbed one of my crutches and threatened to beat the snot out of someone in our class for picking on another kid who was passed out. Ahh, good times.)

During that surgery, a portion of the meniscus in my knee was removed/compromised. 16-year-old me didn’t consider this do be of much consequence. 39-year-old me is, however, seeing the result. Most devastatingly, the docs told me that my running career is finished, which has been one of the real joys I’ve discovered since quitting smoking over a decade ago.

I will, in all likelihood, be the recipient of one of two new body parts: either (a) an Oxford Knee partial replacement (which they don’t want to do, because I’m not old enough), or (b) a meniscal allograft, more commonly referred to as a meniscal transplant from a (deceased) donor. The former is a pretty standard procedure: lop off part of the head of the femur and the head of the tibia, throw in a chunk of titanium and plastic, and “new” knee accomplished. The latter, however, is far less common, but (in my mind, anyways), far more awesome, because it means, hey, ZOMBIE KNEE. As the surgeons have all said, however, despite it’s gruesome awesomeness, there is no positive outcome here; a partial is only about pain management, not a bionic replacement, and a meniscal transplant just puts it off for a while.

Unfortunately, my first surgeon has dropped out, because he moved to Alberta (one more reason to hate that damn province), and the second is a bazillion miles away in southern Ontario —  there are only half a dozen in the province that perform it, and although I meet all the requirements (of which there are many), the marginal nature of a few may make me ineligible.

So, do me a favour and say a GRR ARGH for me. And, if I get the allograft, there’s a killer knee tattoo coming.

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An extended leave of absence ends…

Yeah, this has become like so many other apparently-abandoned blogs online. Unfortunately, most of the time, updates that I want to put online are those that require little time, and FB is easier for me to keep in contact with my friends about. A couple of new posts will be going up shortly, however. And, I’m certain that I’m mostly talking to myself right now.


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Perspectives on 9/11

I didn’t really want to get all 9/11-y, as so many people are. I experienced the same horror that day that so many others did. Hell, at the time, I was a volunteer ambulance attendant — I almost jumped in a car and headed to New York to help.

But I decided that I needed to blog this from a different perspective.

I will always remember 9/11 as the day that web traffic changed — when traffic loads brought down CNN and others, and the need for disseminated traffic balancing was needed. The irony of that day is that, when a content delivery network provider like Akamai was most needed, was also a day when one of its founders was on board the plane that hit WTC1.
I was at the Fort Frances Times then, and we were mirroring content and imagery as we could grab it from major news sites, when they were actually up. As horrifying a day as it was, it was a fascinating day to work in the news industry in general, and the web news industry specifically. I don’t actually remember what our traffic looked like that day (I know it was up significantly), but I felt like our team was actually able to do something to help, when so many sites were being overwhelmed. I remember the grim satisfaction, as a certified geek, that the sites that stayed up were the tech news site like Slashdot, which was posting constant info from editors and users alike all day, and was also the first time I heard a mention of Osama bin Laden as the possible mastermind, scant hours after the towers had fallen. I got more information there than from anywhere else as the day’s news unfolded.
9/11 is a tough nut for me to crack. I felt the same horror as many others that almost 3000 people died that day. But I weep for what the United States has become as a result of that day. Civil liberties and constitutionally-provided rights have been pushed aside in the interests of national security, and there is confusion even today on the right to take pictures in public spaces, to challenge authority in a peaceful manner, and to question the efficacy of the creation of what is, effectively, a police state, in so many ways. I worry every time I cross the border into the U.S., not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because of the power that the border security personnel now have.
I felt a grim satisfaction when OBL was killed in May, not because I wished him (or anyone else) harm, but because there was some closure. I hoped that the U.S. would be able to move on, to relax its scrutiny, because the “big bad” had been eliminated. I read an interesting perspective from a user on one forum, who said:
“I personally hate 9/11 because it reminds me of how cowardly this generation was when it came to defending their civil liberties. No one asked us to storm a beachhead or put our lives on the line. The only thing we had to do was not surrender what better men and women bled to give us, and we failed. “
Ultimately, I’m angry about 9/11. I’m angry that so many innocent people were killed for a very non-Islam reason. I’m angry that so much has happened since then in the name of “freedom, democracy and security” that had nothing to do with any of the three. And, most importantly, I’m angry that so many thousands of people in Iraq have died, not because the regime needed toppling (it did), but because the U.S. leadership used 9/11 as a reason to invade. I think that the perspective of this piece from Al Jazeera English shows how the world before 9/11 — and after it — are vey different from a non-American perspective.

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Customer link

Just an add for a customer whose web site I worked on a while ago — Strictly Amish. Really, really nice furniture in Winnipeg.

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An Endeavour in futility

Man, sometimes you just can’t buy a break.

My pal Tyler and I headed down to Orlando on Wednesday to attend the last launch of the shuttle Endeavour. We’ve been planning this in theory for half a year, when we both expressed interest in seeing Discovery’s last launch in the fall. With my graduation from Thompson River University in January, I decided that I’d rather use the money I would have spent to go to my grad ceremony to go to the shuttle launch…and the planning began.

We were lucky enough to get six tickets for attendance at Kennedy Space Center, which is a good (but not fabulous) venue to see the launch from. We despaired at getting tickets to see it from the KSC Causeway, which is the top location, and the closest, to see it from. And then, we did, through Florida Gator Tours. Awesome. We booked for both of us, as well as Gareth, to see the launch. And then, NASA moved the launch because of a scheduling problem at the ISS. (Really, NASA? Really?)

So, (to summarize much heartache) as a result, Gareth couldn’t go any more, and both Tyler an I had to change our flight schedules and accommodations. All done (at significant expense). We arrive in Orlando, me five hours behind schedule, Tyler about 10 hours (ask him for the details — it was a nightmare, regardless).

So, Tyler and I headed to the shuttle launch meet on Friday morning at 4:30 am EST. Argh — so….freaking…early. We arrived at the Festival Bay mall parking lot as instructed, and dealt with the (a) lack of information from the tour company, and (b) lack of info from the mall staff about parking costs/requirements/etc. See the chaos below:

On the bus, we headed out to the Kennedy Space Center, about a 60 minute drive. Tyler slept.


Upon arrival, we headed over to see the IMAX 3D presentation on the Hubble telescope, wandered around in the rocket garden, where they have a swath of old rockets used for previous launches, and then lined up for our bus out to the causeway for watching the launch.


Literally, as we drove onto the causeway, our tour guide said, “Guys, we’re sorry, but she’s not going to go today.”

Screw. You.

We had enough chance to snap a few pictures from the causeway on really, really long lenses and zooms, and bailed back to the pickup location, getting back about 4:00 pm.

Now, we’re waiting to hear when the launch will go. [Update: Since it's now no earlier than May 8th, we're outta here Monday. Dammit.] Monday the 2nd is the best guess, but the mechanical issues are almost certainly going to push it back further than that — and that, my friends, is the end of us seeing the launch of STS-134. More to follow if more changes.

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