I’ve never considered myself a democrat, republican, independent, libertarian or any other ‘label’ you could put on one who sides with a particular political party. But whenever I’ve submitted to any sort of litmus test, most times I’ve found myself siding with the republicans and their ideas. Not that I haven’t heard good ideas/policies from the other parties, but I’ve found more that *I* agree with coming from the G.O.P.

I’m going to have a tough time deciding this year who should be the leader of my country. Do I go with Obama with his charisma and inexperience, or McCain, who just doesn’t strike me as a political powerhouse? One of my tenets has always been, he who throws the most mud usually has the most to hide. I suppose that’s what I’ll have to watch for in these next few weeks…who can withstand the storm the best. But even that may not be enough to sway me in any one direction. I imagine the decision will be made in the last week or two prior to election day, when the two sides will whip out the heavy artillery, the bombshell that transforms the other candidate into a shrinking violet and guarantees a landslide victory.

No. I don’t think I’ll wait for anything. I believe the best solution would be a write-in vote for ‘None of the above’.

I’m totally jazzed, not only at having my own PC back, but also at the fact that I did the repair myself. One year ago this month, the backlight in my laptop’s LCD screen burned out. After some troubleshooting and researching, I discovered that I could fix the panel myself by replacing the flourescent tube; BTW, this light is about 13″ long and roughly the diameter of a strand of dried spaghetti pasta…VERY delicate. I found about 3 (two for just-in-case backups) for about $20. I thought I was making out like a bandit; $20 repair versus $1500 for a new laptop…outstanding!

Well, my joy was short lived. About the time the new lamp arrived, I got a nasty cold/flu. I couldn’t go more than about 20 seconds without trying to cough up a lung, so there was no way I could work on delicate electronics in that state. So about a week later I sit down to try to make this repair. Getting the lamp out, although a delicate process, was simple enough; the next step was to cut the wires at either end and solder them to the new lamp…and trim the lamp leads to the correct length. No problem, got that done. Here’s where the trouble happened: trying to get the lamp back in its reflective holder and re-mounting it to the LCD panel. I couldn’t do it. I swear it seems like you need five hands to accomplish this task, or maybe it’s something simple I haven’t figured out yet.

So, having admitted defeat with this, I go online again to find an entire LCD panel. I received this several months ago, and for whatever reason(s), I’d been putting off installing the panel until a few days ago. I installed the panel and replaced all the screws and the screen bezel, plugged the laptop into the AC, crossed my fingers (it had been off for a year…no telling what might happen, or if anything would happen), and turned on the power. It started up (HOORAY!), and went to some error message about CMOS something or other (maybe the little battery was low or something) I told it to proceed with the boot and it went into Windows. Well, it turns out the battery had indeed lost power or gone too low, because the date had reset to December of 1999. Because of that, several of my programs were screaming bloody murder at me about the date being wrong and operating outside of valid dates, etc.

It’s almost sorted out now. All the majors are back in place, just re-tuning some of the things I worked with regularly. As for the original panel, it still works (or rather it did last year), and someday I’ll sit down with it again to try and restore it to its former glory. For now, I’m just going to bask in the glow of my now working laptop’s new(ish) monitor. There IS a lesson to be learned here. If you’re the least bit mechanically/electronically inclined and you have broken hardware, give the option of repair some serious consideration before you replace your hardware outright. You might get the satisfaction of a job well done, and possibly develop a talent you could farm out for various favors and what not…and let’s not forget the $aving$, eh?!!

…two words that bring fear to millions, words that many fear more than ‘tax audit’, or ‘some assembly required’, or ‘mother-in-law’. So, why would I bring up these words that make so many cringe? Because I just experienced that very form of dental torture, almost 24 hours ago now. I’d known about it for two weeks, and had been contemplating and losing sleep over it. I’m sure everyone has heard at least one horror story and has a pre-conceived notion regarding the procedure, as I had. I can honestly admit that I was VERY nervous, almost scared of going in. I almost backed out in favor of letting nature take her course with my busted grille.

 

I arrive about half an hour early; I do this because sometimes the dental tech will administer some sort of pain medication prior to the appointment, depending on the nature of the procedure. Appointment time arrives…no tech. I’m called in to the dreaded chair and seated…still no meds. I begin to get more nervous now. What kind of ass-backward place is this that offers no pain killers beforehand? What’s next…are they going to whip out a hammer and chisel to do the work??

 

The dentist (endodontist, actually) comes in with his greeting, “Ready to get started?”, which is doctor-speak for, “If you want to back out, now’s the time to say so.” If I back out now, I’ll have worked myself up over the last fortnight for nothing, so I manage to push forth from my lips, “Yep!” in an attempt to put on a brave front. Truth be told, I was seconds from panic-onset unconsciousness; if I wasn’t already in the chair with my legs elevated, I probably would have passed out on them.

 

Doc puts a swab coated with a very strong topical anesthetic under my lip in preparation for…the dreaded needle. It should be noted here that I have a pretty strong (but not outright) needle phobia. Immunizations I can handle. It’s other injections, like cortisone shots and dental injections that make me panic. I knew the shot would be required, so I was able to mentally prepare for it; that didn’t make any more desirable. The swab has had about four minutes to do its voodoo, and Doc returns for the shot…shots, I should say. Three separate injections.

 

SQUEAMISH INDIVIDUALS SHOULD STOP READING NOW!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!

 

I could see Doc going in for the injection, but I never saw the needle itself. I’ve taken to looking upward, away from the dentist while the shots are being given…I just don’t want to see it coming. He gives the first two, and leaves for a few minutes. Those first two are preps for the third he will give. That must have been some bang-up topical stuff, because I never felt the first two. When Doc returns, he warns me that I may feel the third one and how I might feel it, and I did. The third felt like it going through my nostril into the eye socket (I did try to warn you), but there was no pain involved, I just felt it. (No, it didn’t really go into my eye socket, it only felt like it did) Doc gives me five more minutes to let the last shot go to work, and now the left side of my upper lip, the area around my left cheekbone and my left nostril are all numb. Doc explains what’s going to be done, says it takes about 45 minutes, and begins. I hear the unmistakable squeal as he fires up his “404 circular buzz saw*” and moves in. I hear the drilling and feel the drill-generated vibrations in my head…no pain. He pulls out some other tool; this one rotates slower and is a rougher instrument for cleaning/prepping…still no pain. I’m thinking to myself that I may get through this alive, but I don’t want to get myself too excited; I’d spent considerable time and effort getting myself into a ‘zone’ and I wasn’t ready to come out of it yet.

 

About 45 minutes later, as estimated, Doc was done. He advised me about not biting or chewing with that tooth for about three days while the repair work set and the healing took place. He also said there might be some aching…that was the understatement of the year. There’s LOTS of aching. I was hoping my old standby, Ibuprofen, would see me through; no such luck. Looks like I’ll be making a trip to the druggist in the morning to fill that Loritab prescription after all. I just need to hold out for a few more hours and I’ll be feeling the power of Codeine.

 

So what can I conclude from this experience? Dental procedures are enjoyable? Certainly not. Dental procedures are painless? Well, this one was…the procedure part anyway. Can’t say so for the recovery portion. Was my worrying pointless? I don’t think so. In my opinion, worry is your subconscious’ way of saying that you should proceed with caution, and I think that’s a healthy thing.

 

I will advise that you should have your practitioner make time to answer any questions you have and discuss any concerns about whatever procedure you may be having. A good practitioner will be happy to do this for you, for they know that an informed patient will be set at ease and is much easier to work with than one who is uninformed and panic-stricken. If your practitioner is more concerned with getting to the next patient, or brushes your questions off as not important (or worse, refuses to answer questions), FIND ANOTHER PRACTITIONER. Remember, THEY are working for YOU, not the other way around.

 

*-For those who didn’t get the obscure reference, this is from a classic W. C. Fields short entitled, appropriately enough, The Dentist. You can find it on YouTube. Look it up, it’s good for a laugh.

Slated for release in July ’08, this is the film version of the current Broadway ‘hot ticket’ show with Merryl Streep getting top billing on this one. I knew this would happen; noting the wild success of the film adaptation of ‘Hairspray’, I predicted there would soon be a glut of theatre titles reworked for the big screen, the latest of which being ‘Sweeney Todd’ with Johnny Depp in the title role. Brace yourselves for some really bad movies in the near future.

I love the fact that ABBA’s music is used in the show, but for now that’s the ONLY redeeming quality of this show. I suppose I’m sick to death of being beaten over the head with the hype. “Hottest seller on Broadway!”, “Best show in years!” are some examples I see when the national touring company reaches my area and the commercials start running non-stop. It’s not enough to persuade me; as I said, I like ABBA, but I’m not shelling out hard-earned cash to hear music I can hear in my car for free.

Keep trying, Hollywood! Maybe one day you’ll come up with something I actually want to see. Having said that, I *do* plan to see the upcoming live-action adaptation of ‘Speed Racer’ with Emile Hirsch in the title role, simply for nostalgia’s sake to see if they do it up right.

For that matter, am I ready? I was inspired by my good friend Philip to participate last year, having read about how much he enjoyed it. I’ve never been much of a writer (of course, if you visit here regularly you already know that), but I figured I’d give it a shot. So last November, I started writing out the details (as much as I could remember) of this dream I had that I thought might one day make a great novel, possibly even a movie. I wrote exactly what I could recall of the dream…with maybe an embellishment or two to up my word count a little…hoping that I could ‘fill in the blanks’, i.e. the details of the middle part of the dream; I knew the start and the outcome, but connecting the two would not happen that month. As of this post, it STILL hasn’t happened, no matter what I do to try to recall the details that elude me. I did manage to break 10,000 words, though you’d never know it to look at my NaNoWriMo counter; it seems some idiot %#*@~^$ has reset it. {scowls}

So, what about this year? I think I may participate, but how? Revisiting the dream would be pointless, and I have no other story to tell. I’ve considered the electronic form of ‘free writing’, where I simply type whatever pops into my head, literally a stream of consciousness. Sure, I might get to 50,000 words that way, but would I be able to do anything with it afterwards?

I guess I’ll give it a try again this year, if for no other reason than to make a better showing than last year’s count; maybe even get close to the numbers posted by Philip’s sis, who beat Philip and I both pretty good.

I found the Simpsonizer, a little web-gadget included as part of Burger King’s promotional tie-in with the release of The Simpsons Movie, and wanted to give it a try. Since I don’t have a current image of myself (that I don’t mind using at least), I chose my bestest online friend Philip as a candidate for an Extreme Makeover: Springfield Edition.😉

I started with an image I borrowed from his site (clicky on his link under the blogroll), Phil with Heroes actor Sendhil Ramamurthy:

Then, I used Photoshop to cut Sendhil out (sorry Phil! The first attempt picked Sendhil’s face instead of yours):

I then submitted the photo, the Simpsonizer chewed on it, and then after a few alterations…VOILA!! Springfield’s newest resident:

I hope to have my own online soon. In the meantime, I cordially invite my other readers (both of you) to submit yourself after undergoing simpsonization. The application is at http://www.simpsonizeme.com

Well, there goes Phil, off to another star-studded event. BCNU Phil! HUGZ!!

OK, time to knock the dust off the keys and write something I suppose, since I’ve finally been inspired to share.

I just visited the site of Paul Goldin, and tried this free Colorgenics profile after reading the “Simply Amazing!” one created by my good buddy Philip ( ^_^ V ) on his journal. Philip is correct in his evaluation; it’s like this program opened a window into my psyche and laid the details out for me to see, whether I wanted to see it or not. Here’s what it produced for me:

The idea of togetherness, love, warmth, tenderness and mutual understanding fascinates you but you seem to be embarrassed by the thought of allowing this to appear openly. It would appear that you employ a cautious exploratory tactic in the pursuit of this objective, making sure that you are neither irrevocably committed nor found out.

Most people are conditioned by their environment and you are no exception. You are an extremely emotional person – so much so that ‘the wrong word’ can lead you to tears. You feel other people’s pain. You feel the need of sympathetic relationships and a pleasant work environment in order to develop and grow. You are an impulsive, loving individual with a great deal of inherent feeling.

You are not an argumentative sort of person and ‘rather than fight – you’d switch’ (an old cigarette ad cliche). But when you try to assert yourself – as sometimes you may try to do – you meet with so much resistance and effrontery that manifests itself so obviously that you become hurt, indignant and resentful. So in order to have peace and quiet you tend to become inhibited. You keep it all to yourself but deep down, you ‘feel’ and ‘hurt’ a lot.

Presently, you are experiencing stress because of restriction on your independence. You need and seek respect from other people and it is essential that they appreciate you for yourself and not for what they would like you to be. You have your own beliefs and convictions and you would like to be respected for them. You are anxious to avail yourself of every opportunity that may come your way but nevertheless, come what may, you have the need to control your own destiny without imposed limitations or restrictions.

You are fed up with other people trying to influence you and you also feel that it is necessary to protect yourself from the threat that your independence and freedom may be restricted. You would just like to be left alone.

Without laying out the gory details, I’ll say this is pretty much dead-on. How did it do this? What are the details behind this Colorgenics?? I haven’t a clue, but I am now inclined to look into it further with an objective mindset. Give it a try, I’d love to see how it works for you. Just keep an open mind and don’t rush through it, put some real thought into your choices.

Go to: http://www.paulgoldin.com and click on the Colorgenics banner.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I am pleased that you stopped in to have a look at my puny little journal, and humbled that there’s been enough interest (or at least curiosity) to put me over 2500 views. Alright, enough gushing, on to the latest (albeit short) post.

OK, I decided a few years ago that I’d like to visit Malaysia. Why there? Well, why not?? For one I wouldn’t need to learn a new language (even though I *am* trying to pick up a little Cantonese), and I just happen to know of a very friendly tour guide.😉 Another reason would be the exotic cuisine, however, I’m now more confused than ever about a particular epicurean delicacy..that being the durian.

Sora’s Addendum: What you should be seeing here is a durian, the “king of fruits”, but Photobucket has banned my account, citing TOS violation, hence the absence of the image.  I can’t begin to describe how pissed off I am with them now.  BOYCOTT PHOTOBUCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve not done any research (yet) regarding this so-called ‘King of Fruit’; if I searched on it, the results would likely be too numerous to work with. What I do know I learned from TV and from The Eternal Wanderer (see link over on the left). On one show I watched, the host described it as having the taste and texture of rotting onion. Another I viewed only days ago described the taste as an almond custard-like flavor.

So I wish to pose this question to those in the know: What am I in for? I do enjoy trying new foods, and I like to know what to expect before I take that first bite. And since I’m asking about foods, what others should I try while visiting Malaysia? Of course I’m talking about tastes indiginous to the country (I can get McDonald’s anywhere!).

Well, that’s it. I’ve damn near had enough. The Gub’ment forced my hand. They saw my $2.55 and raised me a quarter. With gas in my area hovering around $2.80, I have no choice…I must invest in a decent road cycle and start pedaling to and from work and other places around town. I figure the money I would have spent on about 4 tank fills will buy me a good quality touring/road cycle. Add a few rear-end modifications to accomodate cargo and I’ll be all set.

Do I want to give up my car? Of course not, in fact I can’t; I will still need it for longer trips and major shopping runs. But for getting to and from work and light grocery runs, it’ll be all human power. And why have I been forced into this drastic measure? Simple. Acording to the Gub’ment, demand outweighs supply. And why the lesser supply? Because the oil companies claim they don’t have the money to repair the coastal/off-shore rigs and refineries damaged by hurricane Katrina. Don’t have the money??…

WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH THE MONEY YOU’VE BEEN GOUGING FROM US FOR THE LAST EIGHTEEN MONTHS?!?!??

Buying the CEO’s and chairpersons of the boards luxury autos and houses no doubt. I’d like to meet one of those executives at my local gasoline station so I can put one of those pump nozzles right where it belongs…straight up their ass, and I won’t stop until I hit the back of their teeth.

That’s all I can stand to do right now. I’m Sora, I’m pissed, and I believe it’s time for us all to seek transportation options that aggressively diminish the need for petroleum-based fuels.

No opinions on tip jars, hard times, etc? OK. Well, you know mine at least, and you can take them for what they’re worth. Onward!!!

It’s tax time here in the US, and I think I fared well, owing only $113 in federal tax. IMHO, a perfect year is the one where income tax is repealed; short of that, I try to get as close to owing $0 as I can without getting a refund. As I see it, if you withhold enough to get a refund on your income tax, you’re pretty much loaning the Gub’ment your money interest free. When was the last time THEY did that for YOU?!? I aim to owe $100 or less each year, so I did OK this time.

And speaking of things taxing, I’m recovering from a nasty cold/flu thing that’s been going around. At one point I couldn’t swallow without great pain, in fact I was living on meal replacement drinks for a few days because solid food hurt too much going down. Take this advice: if you feel it coming on (the little sniffle, the throat that aches for no apparent reason), load up on the vitamin C and Zinc right away, and keep them at a high level throughout the cold. I did so, and even with all I went through, the cold lasted several days fewer than the previous one.

Well, that’s it for now at Sora’s Scrolls…where two’s company and three’s an audience. I have an ICQ# now, for anyone who feels like a chat (HINT HINT!!😉 ). It’s:494-246-533. I can’t promise to be the most artful conversationalist, but I will at least listen, and sometimes that’s all anyone wants.

August 2016
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