Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Temporary stupidity

I went to the doctor on Tuesday, since I could barely walk and didn't want to end up in NYC unable to move.

The doctor was great. With very little to go on from me, she quickly intuited that I'm a supremely active guy, and that losing my knee after the appendectomy was verging on pushing me over the edge psychologically. We all know I need to work out to stay sane. Seems she knows the type, and figured me for one. Once she found out what I do for work, she suggested an ideal career path for me was in the military. She called me a "hunter" not a "farmer". Said our society's not got many acceptable outlets for "hunters" like me. I suppose it's mostly true. I need to be physically active, I need to plan things out and make them happen, I need some excitement and adventure, I need to win, and I'm happy to endure plenty to make that happen. I also hate authority and don't really want to kill anyone. So military is bad for me.

When she started to talk about how I was feeling, without me telling her, it got a bit choked up. Just feeling understood is a great thing.

She tried to do the test on my knee in which she'd bend it in unnatural ways to see if it would give. But as Ari pointed out, my leg muscles are very well developed, and could hold everything in place, even with some damage. So it's inconclusive. So she ordered an MRI, very much against the rules. Because she identified me as part of that far end of the bell curve who uses their bodies in rather intense ways who deserves the MRI. She understood that just knowing what I did would help me psychologically. She very much treated my emotions as much as my body, and I was stunned. She took a lot more time with me than she had to. Great doctor.

I'll have the MRI Friday, and will start physical therapy on Monday. The medical center I go to is located literally in Giant's stadium (thus the MDs that know athletes...). So I'll be doing rehab there.

Miraculously, when I got off the plane in NYC, I was able to walk a lot better. Before I was merely hobbling. Step forward with left, bring right even with left, repeat. Now I can take actual strides, but they're still limpy.

I hope it's just a strain. But that "pop" still scares me. Strains don't pop.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm a moron

I'm back from skiing, and not unscathed. I had a minor wipe-out which led to a major wrenching of my left knee. As is wont to happen with long levers attached to your feet with immobilized ankles, a twist of the ski directly translates to a twist of the knee. And knees aren't meant to twist.

Not sure exactly how it happened, but I ended up turned around, facing the hill with skis pointed opposite directions. Hill twisting each ankle away from the other. The tension in each knee building, until I felt a pop in my left knee. Then my skis popped off.

I lay there crumpled, holding the knee. I knew I was hurt. Fuck. The panic of a definite injury.

My friends got to me, and Ari, who's a neuroscientist but had also spent a lot of time as a ski instructor and shadowing orthopedic doctors checked me out. He did some tests to see if I had snapped my MCL, but decided I probably hadn't. I got back on my feet slowly, and managed to stand, then get my skis back on and timidly head back down the mountain. Got an ice pack from the bar tender at the lodge, and sat down on the deck.

Iced and ibuprofen. It got rather swollen. I have a profound limp. It feels rather squishy. The swelling keeps me from bending it past about 90 degrees.

I found out Friday that I need to go to NYC on Tuesday and come back Thursday night. I had originally had a doctor's appointment Wednesday, but I had planned to reschedule. Right now I'm not sure whether to go to the ER or not. The only thing seeing a doctor will do for me right now is tell me whether I'm going to heal on my own or if I did damage requiring surgery, which is, frankly, my biggest fear. I don't think it's that bad, but then I think of the pop I heard and felt and that scares me. I was just getting back to full health after the surgery, and now this.

Frankly, it makes me want to give up skiing. Too dangerous. I don't need the injuries it can cause.

I just want to be healthy and able to row again.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Selfish Bitch

This is totally insane.

I can only tell my side of the story, of course, but my soon-to-be-ex-wife is out of her mind.

She wants things over quickly. Yet each time we walk away from mediation with an agreement, she comes back asking for changes. This, after I propose taking some time to think it over, and come back with no changes. It' s insane. If she wants it over and done with, she should stop rocking the boat and sign.

It's nuts. I have been, and continue to be, patient and civil. Which is part of why I'm ranting here. I don't say to her face what I want to, because that wouldn't be constructive. It wouldn't lead to the end goal of getting this over with. So I exercise restraint.

She, on the other hand, as she did when we were married, acts only based on her own feelings with complete indifference to the impact of her words and actions on others. She was rarely aware of, or generally indifferent to my feelings through the marriage. It's why I felt rejected and alienated and used and taken for granted. I really think she's just insensitive. I don't think she's evil. Just unaware that other people have feelings.

She, on the other had, has decided that I am pure evil. Since the lawyer's secretary, being not clued in on the state of affairs, sent out documents to both of us that listed my soon-to-be-ex's address in SF, which then informed me of her address, against my wife's wishes, she also let me know she was going to move. Because I know where she lives. Go for it, girl. She thinks I'm a malevolent stalker. In all honesty, the only time I've contemplated staking her place out was to see if she's telling the truth. I think she's working. Or living in MA. Something doesn't add up.

And part of me knows the path to an agreement requires me being conciliatory and making it work. But fuck that. That's how I was through the marriage. Giving in, sacrificing what I wanted for what she wanted, because I loved her and wanted to make her happy. Which is, generally an advisable approach in a marriage, as long as the other side loves you and wants to make you happy, too. In my case, I just ended up feeling like a chump.

She just wants to suck whatever financial resources from me she can right now. Bitch has 2 MBAs and an undergrad degree in biology. There's no reason for her not to be working. There's no reason for her to need my financial support. She wants to end ties with me? Get a damn job. Financial independence means never having to see me again. But as long as she's angling to live off of me in any way, she's going to have to give me something in return. I'm not going to roll over.

Our mediator has been rather hands off, and it's pissing me off. If she and I were capable of solving problems on our own, we'd not be divorcing. He needs to get in here, tell her she's destroying the opportunities for resolution, and needs to chill the fuck out and just be happy with what she's getting.

But I swallowed all that and wrote a fair and civil e-mail. Because I'm a grown up who can manage his feelings and reactions. And because I can keep sight of the big picture and the true goals.

Friday, May 26, 2006

My weekend

Will rock.

I have a first date with a leggy chick with whom I've been flirting up a storm via phone and e-mail for a few weeks. At this point, I know we have "chemistry", but she may be a bit too dorky a girl for me. Don't get me wrong, I dig dorky, as I, too, am dorky. Someone to snuggle up with and watch Star Trek. But one needs to be sufficiently socially adept. We'll see how that goes. But she's leggy and forward, so it could be an interesting night. My ethical parts are saying I need to act with integrity, and if I don't think we've got a serious future, I should put that out there before anything recreational happens. But if recreation happens, I might be open to it.

Then again, if she's not my type, even legginess may not be enough to get me interested. This may be the opposite of my problem with C: Not much in common, but have chemistry. This Chemistry stuff is weird.

Saturday morning I row, need to do buy some groceries. Sat night will travel to the mountains for some spring skiing with teammates. I feel very much up to it. Monday night I have a barbecue with classmates. I may have to mountain bike on Monday. This'll be fun.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

HNT: Hands after the marathon row, September, 2004

In 2004 , I and three teammates and a brave coxswain chose to do the inaugural Petaluma Marathon. 13 miles form Petaluma to the bay, then turn and row home. We stopped every 30 minutes to tape hands and eat and drink. The most wear was on our hands. They blistered over pretty fast. We were already calloused, but it just doesn't prepare your hands to row for more than 3 hours.

We took a picture of our hands after the race. Maybe you can tell which are mine?

For the long race one of my teammates figured out how to connect his iPod to the audio system in the boat that the cox usually uses. So we cruised down the river with music. Other participants appreciated us as we caught up and moved past.

Since I call this HNT, I must link. So I do.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Current location: Trapped under a cat

Which reminds me of something my rowing coach in Boston used to say when one of our teammates who was quite good with the ladies would be late for practice in the morning:

"Charlie: trapped under a huge pile of women"

K is in Asia. I have keys to her place to look in on her cat. He's mostly an outdoor cat, but he's rather dependent on affection and human contact. And when K goes away, he gets upset and will tear out his fur. Yeah. Crazy. He's got a ton of personality. He talks. Meaows up a storm when he walks in hit kitty door. Tells you all about his day. "And then... And then... And THEN..." Answers when you call him. Loves laps.

He's currently on my lap, all snuggled in. He likes to stick his head under my chin. He insists that his nose belongs pressed against my Adam's apple. Who am I to deprive a lonely cat of his favorite position?

He's dirty. Long hair and outdoor living don't mix. But he's sweet.

I miss K. She's going through some tough times right now as her dad, who's well into his 80's, isn't doing well. She's on the other side of the planet. It causes her angst. All I can do for her is take care of her cat. And avoid making bad jokes about letting myself into her place so I could play with her pussy. Cat.

Straight to the front

I've been back on the water for two days now. Yesterday, stroking the 4x, today, stroking the 8+. Welcome back, after surgery, Kenny. Please stroke.

No problem.

Actually, it's good for me, since I can control the pace. The boat's not going to do more than I can handle, because I'm governing it.

Judging from the coach's lack of commentary for me this morning, I was rowing well. Though I think it had more to do with the fact that guys behind me were, at the beginning of practice rowing a lot worse. So they got the bulk of the attention. We've got some big guys who aren't so technical, and when they flail, they kill boats dead. Momentum obliterated, returning to base.

But by the end of practice, thanks to some good coaching, some attentive oarsmen, and (I will admit) some good calls from me via the cox, we got the boat moving well.

I am so happy to be back on the water. And it didn't hurt. To row a 20*.

*20 strokes/ minute. This is a pretty slow and deliberate pace.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Definitely no spark

Which is rather disappointing. C would be a great companion. She's got a nice figure. But when she kissed me, it felt like I was kissing my brother.

So now I feel I must do the right thing and discuss this with her. I'd like to hope that attraction would grow with time, but I think there has to be some kind of initial spark. It's possible that it's just too healthy and normal a relationship for me to be excited by it. Deep down I know, though, that it's not that she's unattractive, it's just that I'm not attracted to her sexually. Which is really odd and fascinating to me. A tall, fit, very bright, outdoorsy athletic down to earth woman. Yet I really don't want her, carnally. She'd be fun to camp and ski with, though.

I learned something. I just feel bad. I think she'll be disappointed.

DumbVinci Code

"Oh, I am shot. I am mortally wounded! My secrets will die with me! I must protect the grail. I know! I shall run all around the museum thinking up puzzles! Many of them! Very challenging ones that involve writing backwards, number theory, and symbology! Because I have the time and energy to do that, but not enough to call an ambulance and get to a hospital and live."

Setting this aside, the story's cool.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Weekend update

Friday night: Out with the rowers. Cool bar very near the Tenderloin (yikes) full of very tattooed hip folk. I was clearly under-inked and over dressed. Not a room full of Banana republic shoppers. Had fun. Saw DaVinci Code. Had low expectations. Pleasantly entertained. Female lead reminded me of M. Her look and the French accent and the feistiness.

Saturday Morning: To the boathouse to do 3 x (20' on 3' off). I aim to hold just 2:00/ 500m splits. I tell my mates Greg and Ari to hit me if I go faster than that. I do the first at 1:59.6, second at 1:59.6, third at 1:58.6. Heart rates right where they should be. Only some mild discomfort in first piece from 8' to go till 5' to go. I'm back, bitches. I'll be on the water this week. Still far from full strength, but I'm ready to row. I am hard to kill.

Sat night: Barbecue with the rowers. Club director is out of town, one of my teammates is house and dog sitting and was nearly commanded to have a party. I made my Asian marinade/ glaze chicken:

A few pounds chicken thighs (skin off is optimal)
2-3 cloves garlic
2-3 TBSP Sesame oil
3-5 TBSP brown sugar
3-5 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2-1 TSp black pepper

Into medium bowl, crush garlic
Add sesame oil, mix to infuse garlic oils with sesame
Add brown sugar until sugar absorbs all oil
Mix in black pepper and ginger
Add back soy sauce until paste with consistency of warm jam forms
Layer thighs and paste in plastic freezer bag, mix to coat all thighs evenly.

Allow to sit 2-24 hours, refrigerated. Grill over medium heat.

I also grilled fresh pineapple: Almost as good as sex. We made screwdrivers with fresh squeezed juice from the blood oranges growing in the front yard. OMFG they were good.

The place had a hot tub. We used it. M had called me earlier that night to see if I wanted to go to a party with her. We've been keeping in touch as friends since we called it off when she wasn't cool with me dating other people. She came by a few times to look in on me post surgery. I admit it's been hard to keep my hands off the girl, but I've been good sticking to the straight and narrow. Even though I know we're still mutually attracted. I have not flirted.

On my way back to my place to grab something to wear into the tub, I called her to see how her party was. Invited her to join us. By the time she got up to Marin, we were out of the tub and the party was winding down. We hung out for a bit, and then left. I apologized to M, she joked that I owed her a hot tub experience. Feeling adventurous, I remembered there was a hot tub place up the road in Fairfax.

Long story short, they were open, we went. It's a rather clothing optional environment, which, having been to hippy camp, I was not freaked out to be around. This was a little more "clothing optional" as opposed to "nudity encouraged". We got a private tub to ourselves.

So my romantic life is complex. On one hand I wonder if I'm pursuing many relationships simultaneously to avoid being vulnerable to any one person. A stable of replaceable romantic partners insulates me from risk. Girl 2 is getting demanding? I see more of girl 3. This may be true. But I think I'm genuinely open to whatever happens with people. When I feel like I only want to see one woman, I will. But right now, I want to be open, and I've been honest with everyone I'm seeing about my status, as appropriate (I think it's poor form to blurt out on a first date "I'm dating multiple people").

My time with M was cool. Post tub, around 1 am, we opted to try to sneak onto one of the beaches at night. Parked outside the parking gate which indicated the park closed at 9PM (legal) hopped the gate (illegal) and made our way across the parking lot to the board walk to the beach. Low cloud cover kept the night reasonably warm and deflected the light from SF to let us see a bit. She asked why I whispered. I told her it was instinctive, and because I didn't think we'd be alone, and who knows what kind of folk are out here. Best to become aware of them before they become aware of us, gievn that she's a small woman and I had surgery two weeks ago.

It was a good attempt, but we lacked the proper equipment to really enjoy the experience (flashlight, blanket). We got spooked by a distant yet loud and approaching human with a flashlight and a dog, so we bugged out. But I now know how to do it. And where. It was fun to be adventurous and spontaneous. I haven't been that way in a while.

Sunday caught some of the Bay to Breakers aftermath in SF. Saw folk in odd costumes and a band of oddballs strip naked on the beach and plunge into the cold water. Lots of naked people in my weekend. That's fine.

Sunday night I had a date with a Spaniard who's a literature prof here. We got on well. She was feisty and practical and pleased that I had actually read some works in the original Spanish. She's someone I'd love to have at a dinner party, but not one I think I'd date. No spark. Nice boobs, though. But no spark.

Today, I met D for lunch, had fun. Will see C tonight for the Giants game. Her date. She planned it. I wasn't 100% psyched about her, but she's picked up the ball and moved things along, which I really do appreciate. Thank God for women who won't sit around wondering why I haven't called and who take charge and make things happen. Good for her. She wanted to see me again, and she's making it happen.

I'm going to give it this shot and see if we have any chemistry. If not, I think I need to come clean about that. I know we'd have fun doing things together. Just not sure I feel the desire to get horizontal with her. Or perpendicular. Or whatever.

All in all, this is all good for me. I'm getting closer to understanding what matters to me.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Had a great date last night. Heeding the advice of some of my readers, I diversified my online personal presence to more non-marriage oriented sites. OkCupid. It's free, and you certainly get what you pay for, but they have a moderately interesting matching system based on questions you answer.

They system thought she was a good match, and I agreed. Cute, 35, athlete, feminine, sexy, bright, funny. Training for her first triathlon, has done marathons. Can handle camping and the symphony. She's running bay to breakers on Sunday. My kind of girl.

Went to Jupiter in Berkeley: Brew pub with great pizza. I got there at the stroke of 8. They didn't take reservations, but also didn't have a table for me. Put my name in, and they had one just before D arrived. Looking cute. Must say best dressed first date I've had. Attractive, sexy, but not over the top. Heels, jeans, tight black top under a more staid black jacket.

Conversation was fun and easy. We laughed a lot. The oven was backed up, ordered sea scallops on this potato onion pancake thing that was quite good for appetizer. We drank good beer, she offered me a taste of hers, which I liked very much: Sharing stuff is an open, inviting comfortable thing. She tried mine. Had a long chat about all kinds of things, including a little about our romantic situations. I think the "rules" are stupid. Seems she was engaged but then broke up. I explained, at a high level, what went wrong for me. It deepened our understanding of where the other person was at.

She's also got an MBA and works just a few blocks from me in SF. She seemed to get my sometimes odd sense of humor. Early on she admitted having some soup at home, not sure whether we were eating or not. I told her that was an excellent hedging strategy. That's the kind of comment that gets me blank stares from many. She laughed. So I was pleased.

We ordered a second round of beers, and I was feeling mine a bit, but didn't care. Walked back to cars, she took my arm, which I always adore. It's classy, and comfortable. I was definitely attracted to her (found myself wondering what her hair felt like, noticing the curve of her hips walking behind her down stairs…), which is a stark contrast to my last date, where I really didn't cue in on her as a woman. D has cool green eyes.

I want to see her again. Soon. My Saturday night is still open…

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maybe Match doesn't suck

Yesterday not one but two women actually contacted me on Match. And they're both cool.

One is a Spaniard by birth, literature prof now. She seems feisty and cool. Not so sure about the spark, but she's an exotic brunette. And we know how I feel about those. She winked at me, I wrote her. I shall have a drink with her Sunday evening.

The other actually wrote me a whole e-mail. And it was thoughtful and considerate and clever and flirty. I was blown away. She and I have had a furious exchange, and we continue to click. I admit it, a woman who can be playful with language will always get to me. I enjoy the verbal play of the flirting. She's funny and sexy. I'm actually excited about this one. New feeling. She moves here from Utah in a few weeks. She's cute and tall and leggy. High school math and science teacher. I couldn't ask for better.

I feel good about all of this. I'm in a good place, dating-wise. Many first dates. This is what I wanted.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I am indestructible

In my year of adversity, I have become fond of saying that I'm hard to kill. But now that I have titanium body parts, I am indestructible.

I went to the boat house this morning to cox, since I can't row. Just because I can't row doesn't mean I'm not part of my team, and I can help them by showing up and coxing. So I do. Plus they give me love and concern and ask when I'll be back to rowing. I love those guys like brothers.

My ulterior motive was to hit the erg to feel out my recovery situation and to at least do some lifting to remind my upper body that it's primary purpose in life was to pull. Hard.

The erging went well. I felt good. I feel no worse on the erg than standing around. Might as well erg.

After practice, I hit the bench pull for 3 x 20 @ 90#. The first set was hard. Then, my muscles remembered how to pull, and the rest were good.

Tonight after work I hit the boathouse. I cumulatively did 30 minutes on the erg at 2 minute 500m splits. Under normal circumstances, that would constitute a leisurely cruise before doing some actual serious work of some kind. But it's a giant milestone, given that on Saturday just 4 minutes of work tuckered me out.

My goal for now is merely to halt my deterioration from inactivity. I will work on getting faster when I am well. For now I will be pleased simply to hold the line.

I aim to be back on the water on Saturday.

I am hard to kill. I am indestructible. I will come back and be faster than I was before I started.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Living in my body; living in my head

This weekend a friend pointed out that, because I find physical activity a source of psychological renewal, this keeps me very in touch with my body, and makes me tune into myself as a carnal being for better and for worse. It's an interesting idea. I like being very physical. I like responding to sights and sounds and tastes and smells. I enjoy my fondness of females.

Ironically, I'm often accused of living in my head. Over thinking, over analyzing, over intellectualizing.

But being hyper physical can be problematic, at times like the present, when my body isn't being what I need it to be to enjoy my existence.

She proposed cultivating a sense of self beyond the body, but not retreating into the incisive Western dichotomy-creating mind, more the Eastern, perfect one-ness of being mind. I'd be open to that.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Explosions are cool

I went to the KFOG KaBoom fireworks show last night. An SF radio station puts on a massive display to the music they broadcast during the show. I had an invite from a friend to watch from their boat on the water. The fireworks are launched from the water, so the boat venue offers one of the best possible vantage points. It was fantastic. 4th of July fireworks in SF kind of suck because it's seasonally foggy in the evening, and fireworks + fog = multicolored fog.

They had fireworks that looked like little 3D cubes last night. I had never seen those before. They did a sequence in all green fireworks to Green Day's "Holiday", which not only looked cool, but felt very "We, the people of California, give you, George W. Bush, the finger. With fireworks." So I liked it. Other amazing moments were the U2 song, to which the sky was made to look like God almighty had spilled gold glitter everywhere. Just a really perfect night.

Afterwards, I crashed on the bed below deck because I was just wiped out and my side was starting to hurt. I'm being a moron and have gotten away from taking my pain meds. I'm out of the good drugs, so I figure I should be done with pain. Yet I am not, and because I take nothing to eliminate pain, I have pain. Funny how that works. Fortunately, I surround myself with sane and reasonable women who make me see the flaws in my thinking and get me to take drugs.

I got the code to embed the video from these guys. The video comes straight from KFOG's site. It's a big file, so click with caution. I downloaded the video from KFOG's site and watched it, and it's really good. If you've got the time and bandwidth, take a look.

Launch in external player

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Went on a date last night. I freely admit I probably should have canceled it. I only had energy to actually meet for the drink and then to go. But that was all I promised. I just didn't want to cancel it, because it was hard enough to come by.

She's exactly what I'd want for an outdoor activity companion. Road bike, mountain bike, ski. She drives a Subaru with a roof rack with a bike mount and a ski mount. My kind of girl. ER doctor, clever, and down to earth. Never ran out of things to talk about.

She's tall, (yay) blonde (Oh well). I didn't feel any spark. No "Gee, I wonder what you look like naked." I'm sure we'd get along. I bet she looks hot in a bikini. But last night, I didn't feel much attraction. Good conversation, and I'm sure we could have a lot of fun on the weekends. I have no sense if we'd have any carnal chemistry.

The date ended oddly. She noted I wasn't doing anything to extend the evening, asked me if I was tired (she knew about my surgery). I told her that I was done, and apologized for not being 100%. I walked her to her car, she dropped me at mine. We got our signals crossed, I gave her an odd kiss on the cheek and a totally awkward hug. I just laughed it off.

What to do next? I'm curious whether, with time, I'd come to like her more, or whether there needs to be carnal chemistry from the get-go.

I still have no idea how to make a first date kiss happen, not that it's my sole responsibility, and not that I felt it last night or tried. Just saying, I still have no skills there.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I'm back at work

And I really wish I weren't here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

is my new favorite thing. They did a series for the sci-fi channel, and I got it on DVD from the video store. It's super cool. I am a dork, yes, and I like me my sci-fi.

I shall watch it all.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just take two

Remember "Just say No", the 80's campaign which got in my brain and is the reason I've never tried pot?

Well, I have a new slogan, provided me by K, who spent a lot of time with me this last weekend just being good to me: Just take two.

I agonize over indulging in anything that makes me feel good. Deep Catholic programming: If it feels good, stop. If you want something, for God's sake, deny yourself that thing. Suffering is virtue. Joy must be earned through pain. Lots of pain.

Screwed up religious ideas aside, I do have a reasonably rational fear of liking any chemically created positive emotional state. I have an addictive personality.

So I try to get by without the pain killers. I try to wait before taking the next dose. I try to get by on one pill.

Then K blasts through my insanity, points out I heal just as fast in misery or ecstasy, and that ecstasy is more fun.

She called around 4. How was I? Ok. Not great. Kind of owchie. When was my last pain med? 2 pm, I took just one Vicodin.

I took the second while on the phone with her.

I feel great now.

Just take two.

Free bikini wax with every thoracic surgery

Part of my recovery process has been discovering exactly what all was done to me while I was unconscious.

I'm not a very hairy guy, so it's taken me a while to notice all the "manscaping" that was done.

My bikini line has been updated to prepare me for today's low-rise fashions (and in case they needed to do the appendectomy the old fashioned way). And I thankfully discovered when I went to remove the bandage on my belly button that my "happy trail" got removed. No more fuzz between my navel and my now much more southernly located bikini zone.

If it weren't for the fact that my entire bikini area is a giant grape jelly colored bruise, I'd feel kinda sexy. But right now, I'd only appeal to a hardcore S&M audience.

"MMMM.... purple and bruisey... That's hot."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hollywood moment

My friends have been great to me. L brought me home, cleaned up my kitchen, let me sleep, shopped, cooked and fed me. And made me take my drugs.

Vicodin: Hell, yes.

I take two of those, and my whole life is just fine. And, when I feel that way, I will tell you.

K came over Friday evening to hang out and look after me. We watched X Men on DVD. I had taken my vicodin. I had company, a good movie, was under the covers and high on narcotics.

"I feel really good", I informed her. She smiled at me with a look that said, "That's sweet, but you're high."

She came back Saturday morning, and we hung out a bit more. It was a lovely day, and walking was good for my recovery, so she suggested we go amble about my town.

Backstory: My wife's car got broken into in SF. I'm covering her car insurance, and so I had to help her orchestrate the claim. The check (for some odd reason) wasn't sent to the repairer, but to me. She had opted to pick it up from me on Thursday. I had called her pre-surgery on Thursday to let her know it wasn't going to happen. I called her Saturday morning and told her I was going to be around that day, but that friends would be around caring for me, and that if she wanted to get it, she should call before she came.

K and I left for a walk. Stopped in a cute little rug store in my town she was into (Asian style is her style). We walked the main street. On the way home, we opted to dart down a narrow side street that only trafficked by residents. Pretty day, cute houses. Plenty to notice. We stopped in front of one little house, wondering aloud what about it, architecturally, made me feel it was slightly Japanese. I leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek. At that precise moment I hear behind me

"Hi Ken"

A car pulls to a stop. It's my wife.

"Hi, I'm A" she introduces herself

"Hi, I'm K"

I'm stupified.

"Why don't I meet you at your place in about 15 minutes" A suggests.

She must have seen me be affectionate with K. I would never have done anything like that in front of her knowingly. Out of consideration of her feelings. I felt terrible. K was kind of shocked, too.

Boy is recovering from surgery, being cared for by girl, boy and girl are out walking on perfect day, boy and girl stop to admire cute house, boy leans over to kiss girl on the cheek, and cue ex-wife in the rental car looking for insurance check.


But I realized that this is kind of par for the course. She had a history of expecting me to be available for her at any moment at any time. I got back to my place, and it seems she had called a few times while I was out. Clearly she was thinking "I will call and announce when I am arriving" as opposed to "I will call to see if it's ok for me to come at a certain time".

I was stunned that she found me, too. She must have literally been driving up and down the streets in my neighborhood looking for me. She really wanted that check.

Perhaps the Vicodin helped, but I've been reasonably able to let it go. It wasn't how I'd have wanted things to go, but it's the truth of where things are in my life. I sought to protect her from that, but I can't protect her if she shows up unexpectedly.

Part of me that still clings to the dream is upset that I've now appeared to be "moving on," which pounds yet another nail in the coffin of reconciliation. Not that there was ever a chance. But I suppose we mourn the death of the dreams slowly.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Kidney stone? No, I’m sorry. The correct answer was “Chronic Appendicitis”

I have one fewer vestigial organs today than the last time I wrote.

Since the last diagnosis that I didn't have kidney stones, but just constipation with a muscle strain, I'd bee eating a rather high fiber diet. High fiber cereals, a few servings of raw plants per day. And things kept moving, and I didn't have painful episodes.

Wednesday at work I could feel myself start to bloat a bit and begin to feel "backed up". See what one day without bran flakes will do?

I took an early ferry home, since I had plans to go out with a friend that night. But upon arrival at the ferry terminal in Marin, I realized I didn't feel up to it. I called her. She was aware of my struggle with these issues. I described the pain as always occurring in a very specific spot, on my front side, on my right lower abdomen, about 4 inches to the left of the point of my right hip bone, and one inch south.

She went online and quickly identified that the pain I was describing was consistent with appendicitis.

It just seemed odd to me that the same pain over and over again was appendicitis. Shouldn't I be dead by now? And I didn't have a fever.

Went home and IM'd with another friend, who can be either my little sister or mom, depending on what's required. Once she got wind of the situation, she chose mom:


I got out of it by electing to take my temperature. 96.8. (I'm a reptile) No fever no infection, no infection, no sepsis danger.

I ate dinner, and resolved to see if I was, as sometimes happened, better in the morning.

I woke up at 4:30, with a level of alertness and lucidty that felt wrong. My body was waking me up. The alarm went off at 5, and when I moved to get up, I found myself collapsing back onto the bed in pain from trying to move. The tender spot in my side was extra tender.

I gingerly made my way to the bathroom. If it's constipation, getting things moving should make it feel better.

Things, as was typical for 5:10 am for me, moved. But I still felt terrible. There was no way I could row like this.

And if I'm too sick to row, I'm sick enough for medical help.

I called my coach.

"Ah, it's Kenny calling to say he'll be late but he's coming"

"No, it's Kenny calling to say he thinks he has appendicitis and is going to the ER"

"I thought even numbered years were supposed to be good years for you?"

The folks at Marin General were amazing.

I was admitted, triaged and in an exam room within 7 minutes of walking through the door.

The ER nurses and docs were attentive and thorough. The ER docs were puzzled: If I walked in, just with the story of the last 48 hours, they'd say it was appendicitis. But given that this had been going on since February, they were puzzled. There was this thing called chronic appendicitis, in which the appendix becomes inflamed, and then not, on and off, but it was rare.

They forget that I am extraordinary.

I had brought my CT scan from the kidney stone study, in case it would help. They decided that the best approach was to do a CT scan. It could confirm appendicitis, if my appendix appeared abnormal, but not rule it out. Just because it looked normal on scans didn't mean it was fine.

If it wasn't the appendix, I was going to be off for a colonoscopy to see if I had polyps or colon cancer. Yay. 9 feet of tubing up the poop chute. The ER doctor said they were trying to figure out whether to send me upstairs to surgery or to send me out.

In the ER, a nurse had put in a pic line. Ironically, he missed the first vein he tried for with me, for which he apologized profusely. I accepted. We all make mistakes. He was embarrassed, since it's not as if the veins on my arms are hard to find.

He hit the second one no trouble, drew the needed blood, and administered some morphine for pain.

Morphine, I discovered, makes you queasy. So they hit me with anti-nausea drugs simultaneously.

I could feel the narcotic wrap my brain in a layer of contented fuzz. It wasn't that I couldn't feel pain, it was just that I didn't really care.

After the CT scan, I was back in the ER, awaiting news. When the nurse came in and took my vitals, again, I knew the answer. You don't start monitoring vitals of someone you intend to release.

Doctor came in.

The good news about chronic appendicitis is that, over time, your appendix looks worse and worse. Eventually, it shows up as being out of order. After several months, my appendix looked abnormal. It was coming out.

I asked about laparoscopy. I wanted to minimize scarring and recovery time.

The general surgeon showed up. She was awesome. Straight forward, no nonsense, warm, thorough. She explained that, given my situation, she'd try laparoscopy, but if, upon getting a look, the appendix wasn't operable that way, she'd have to go the old fashioned way. I'd either wake up with three holes, or two. I was hoping for three.

I then got on the phone, and called my coach. I'm having surgery, I'm not going to be able to race on Saturday. HUGE bummer for me.

I may still go up and cheer on my guys, depending on how I feel.

I then called work. Priorities.

Called my mom, and a few local friends.

I got wheeled up to surgery. As soon as I was in the room and on the table, folks went to work sticking electrodes to me. I re-assured them that, as an athlete, I could give a crap about modesty and they should just go to town and not worry. The anesthesiologist said something to me about starting some drug. And that was the last thing I recall.

Recovery room required an act of will to focus my mind long enough to open my eyes. Speech was an undertaking. I could hear someone talking, and it sounded like me, saying what I intended, but it was slurred and distant. I recall a couple kind recovery room faces. I'm sure I was as amusing as usual when coming out of anesthesia. They smiled at me as if I was a loveable idiot.

From there I got wheeled up to a nice room with a window view. I was still rather messed up, drug wise. They hit me with more morphine, and an IV and some kind of anti inflammatory.

My roommate is a garrulous 40 year old Mexican American, who was outgoing and friendly. He was slotted for back surgery. I like Mexican Spanish because it's spoken at a pace I understand. His mother was with him. He sensed my state of discombobulation, and was kind.

By the time he was about to go for surgery, I was already on the phone to friends and family, and managed a "Que tengas suerte" when he left. Back surgery. I'd not trade afflictions.

The game of the day for became "can you pee?" I sought to avoid a catheter at all costs. But as I learned, narcotics and anesthesia dull your capacity to relax the muscles you need to in order to go.

I can go, but it means I sit in the bathroom for a half hour, looking down for visual feedback as I strain to press urine out of my bladder which is being steadily filled by the IV drip. Like the brooms in the sorcerer's apprentice, the IV just keeps pumping fluids.

I manage, but it's hard. Things I am grateful for: The ability to pee freely at will. I can't wait till I can do that again.

My friend and classmate Lali came to visit me. It made me feel so much better to have company, the reassurance of some hand holding, and the attention of a little care. She didn't have to give me her evening, but she did. I'm often dumbfounded by people's kindness to me.

She and I got me up and walking around the floor. Which is an important part of recovery since my abdomen is still full of air. They literally inflate your body like a balloon for the laparoscopy. And the air needs to get out. Walking helps. This morning I strapped on the iPod and hit the floor. I started with a walker, but after a half hour ditched it, and after another hour was walking very close to normally: long srtides, no hesitation. I had a few burps. Yay for bubbles leaving. They hurt, but make me less of a puffer fish.

I'm bloated like a dead seal in the sun, and starting to get some nasty bruises.

I got to eat the lovely "clear liquid" dinner last night, featuring broth, juice, popsicles, jello (though not really jello. It was 'Gel snack'. Good branding). Normally, none of it would appeal. But the salty meaty wonderfulness of the broth was divine. I'd had no food since 8 PM dinner Wednesday.

It looks like I am to be released on Friday morning. Lali has offered to come help me get home and get settled.

My apartment is a wreck (mild wreck, but needs help). But now is not the time for pride.

The surgeon came by and told me that the cause behind all my symptoms was my appendix. It was in bad shape, though didn't seem infected, and that going forward, I shouldn't have any issues.

I'll take next week off rowing and just cox, but then I should be back to normal.

I aim to care for my scars such that I can resume my career as an underwear model.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I create financial news

Funny: Google's finance page on Gap, Inc. Picked up my blog post. This won't last long, so check it out...

Nice to know my incisive analysis is being distributed to points where it can appropriately influence decisions.

Why spring is good

Oh beautiful
For flowy skirts
Bare legs and rings on toes
For strappy flirty sandal heels
And navel baring clothes…

Favorite thing about spring: Women start looking like women again.

It's a lovely thing to see on my morning trek through professional SF (and past Gap, Inc. HQ). With the weather shifting from ark-appropriate rain to sunscreen-required 70's and sunny, women have unleashed much pent-up desire to be cute. And I thank them, for they succeed at bringing the breezy summer sexiness.

And it's not just the professional folk. I walk the Embarcadero, a common jogging route, on my way to the ferry terminal after work. And just as I find it warm enough to row in my mere uni and t-shirt by the middle of practice these mornings, so are many of the athletic ladies of SF down to a sports bra and shorts for their evening runs. And I thank the girls with muscles for not being shy about being beautiful.

I have a robust appreciation for women. I can find something beautiful about almost any woman I meet. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate them as people, it just means I do appreciate them for being lovely. I'm sure those who know me well will back me up on this: I'm not a perv, I'm a fan. An enthusiastic fan.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


On a friend's recommendation, I took the 20 minutes of questioning required to try eHarmony. Not that I'm looking for a wife. Just figured I'd check it out.

Their assessment of me felt rather accurate and the description of the profile they're looking for to match me with seemed pretty good.

And then they showed me all the women on their system within 30 miles of me who are a match.

Guess how many? Here's a hint: 30 miles includes SF and Oakland.


I think that's hilarious.

Oh, right, my career

I've had my work life on cruise control.

This is partially because I've chosen to focus on getting the divorce done, but also partially because my job gives me little incentive to go above and beyond. There's no variable component to my compensation. I work my ass off, or I do nothing, and I make the same. And with little prospect of promotion, and no real return on stressing myself out, why bother? It astounds me that they get people to kill themselves here. For what? One really has to naively believe the company will get bought and the options will actually be worth something. But any reasonable valuation of the company and a knowlegde of the shares outstanding puts a low cap on the maximum upside from the firm getting bought. If it gets bought. I'd trade my options for more salary.

But as a wise friend pointed out, I might care about references some day. True. So I need to attend to that.

With the divorce looking to be under control (albeit, expensively so), my focus is turning back to making a job change of some kind. I'm having an exploratory conversation on Thursday.

I only have abstract goals for the next job: Management, work-life balance, growth opportunity, and a fair salary. I add the last only because I'm aiming to kill off my business school debt as fast as possible. I don't mind living like a monk for a few years to get myself to a place free from the ongoing debt obligation quickly.

So watch this space. I'm going to move on.

I envy people who love their jobs. I don't think I've ever loved my job. I've just done things that other people seemed not to be as good at because it would lead to security and making money. But I'd love a job I find inherently rewarding. I'm just not sure what that would be.


That's my dream job.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My land lady is a heartless bitch

I called and asked if I could foster kittens.

NO. Never. Ever.

Ok, I get the point.

To make sure I got the point, I got a letter. With a copy of the lease. Explicitly informing me that there should be no pets, ever. And oh, by the way, I want to inspect your apartment.

(for evidence of kittens)

Bitch. This woman lives to suck the joy out of other people's lives.

I'm disappointed. I wanted little fuzzballs to play with at night.

Well done

Steven Colbert does it in Bush's face. Gutsy.