zeborah: On the shoulders of giants: zebra on a giraffe (science)
Hands like normal again now, yay! Also computer memory upgraded and Dragon Dictate works brilliantly - except it crashes Preview whenever I try to open the reference pdf for my newest passion, attempting to create a php/mysql feedreader. Plus coding isn't suited much to dictation anyway. So I'm currently coding for 8 minutes, away from keyboard for 5 minutes, which... I don't know if it's helping the coding (coding a feedreader always seems so much easier before you actually get started) but it's helping the housework. Anyway, my excitement and time limits combine so I never quite get around to checking friends lists or twitter at the moment but the passion will wear off in due course and I'll be back.
zeborah: Helen Clark telling an MP: Diddums. (diddums)
and also swears a lot when the other hand touches anything at the wrong angle.

So yesterday I got a random flare up of what I presume is RSI because I can determine no other cause. Can't determine much cause for flare-up either, but hey, RSI. (I have perfect ergonomic set-up at work, and restbreak software, and ridiculous amounts of stress, oh wait.) It manifested by barely being able to use the left hand for anything significant without pain, and got worse from there. Like, "In order to use my right hand to scrunch up this used tinfoil, I shall pick up said tinfoil in my left-- F#$%@ no I won't."

Anyway so I didn't use said hand all yesterday (and yes, am being super careful of the right) and closed computer last night to watch movies and slept really carefully and still found it aching if it lay in the wrong position. Also any given right position became a wrong position after one minute at best.

So I got out of bed with my elbow, washed my right arm with difficulty, didn't even attempt washing my hair, and gave up entirely on the whole bra thing. Currently typing with right hand, restbreak softeware set on paranoid (doing lots of gardening between times), left hand in heatpack so it's warm enough for me to occasionally dare a few gentle squeeze-stretch exercises because circulation is good.

It seems to be getting slightly better.

--Oh Boots, I appreciate your interest in my lap, but there's really no room today.

Today's to-do list includes getting more anti-inflammatories from the chemist; booking in that massage; and getting an upgraded computer so I can use Dragon without everything freezing. (It might even fix Firefox's memory issues too...)

Right hand tiring. Now seems a good time for a walk to the chemist.
zeborah: Zebra holding a pen, its stripes forming the word "Write" (writing)
Dictated a few hundred words of a new story tonight. So far so sucky. But if it works enough to finish I can always revise.

I've also been playing Taipan by voice command. We used to play Taipan as kids on the Apple IIe; I remember reading Tom Sawyer while pressing F-F-F-F-F-F-F to keep shooting hostile vessels. 20+ years later I've got an Apple IIe emulator on my MacBook, and have taught Dragon Dictate the necessary commands so I don't hurt my hand. Instead I scritch my cat, saying, "Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight."

On weddings and royalty: I like having a Queen. I say this as someone with extremely liberal views. I feel that, given that a democratic government's job is to appeal to populism in order to retain power, it's really important to have an extra layer of government independent of all that who could, if necessary, provide a veto.

Nevertheless (and despite my deep respect for the Queen) I don't really care about our royal family more than I do about any other random family, nor about their wedding.

On the gripping hand, I have an amused total lack of sympathy for USans complaining that this totally irrelevant-to-them wedding is taking over their social network conversations. Whatever, folks, we have to put up with your election talk for months, you can cope with a day or so of wedding. (Text fails at tone. Please read benign irony, not snark.)

--Ditto for other citizens of the Commonwealth. I put up with rugby talk; no doubt everyone has talk that they put up with. Now we just add a wedding to the list, what's the fuss?
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
So, quick update on my life: my RSI has reached the “all good if I behave" stage, and I had my last physio session today, to celebrate which, ACC (for overseas folk, ACC is what we have instead of people suing people for accidents) wrote me Tuesday to say “Sorry, we can't approve your claim because we can't identify a factor at work that caused it, and the stuff you do at work isn't a risk factor". Which is stupid, but not unexpected because ACC is cheap at the moment. On the plus side they paid for all my physio up to the date of the letter so I only had to pay today's fee, which is well within my budget.

Also I have a gazillion amazing peaches on my tree and my grapes are ripening too. Also I'm getting my house painted green and purple (actually mostly white but green and purple too) and getting some annoying trees and shrubs chopped down/pruned to facilitate this.

Also we're heading into the busy time at work, in which I have to keep constant notes of what I'm doing right now so I don't lose track. And a group of us made a recommendation for an awesome improvement to service we can/should provide, and management said, “no, there's no time," and we said “yes, we can," and they settled on a compromise which is slightly wacky but that lets us prove ourselves. And all the summer projects are sort of coming together, except for it turns out that combining beta testing and training is not a good idea. And management has invited us to come early for breakfast on Friday to celebrate our awesomeness, which I'd respect more if I respected management, but hey, free food.

But I'm running on a mild sleep deficit, so I thought I'd have a nap on the couch this evening to prepare for getting up early tomorrow. So I lie down and fall asleep and then my timer record turns on and wakes me up. So I get to sleep again and the phone rings and I stumble out and pretend to be awake trying to remember my calendar so I can agree safely that I can play in church orchestra on Sunday. Then, heart still hammering from the sudden wake up, I managed to fall asleep again because I'm so tired, and the damned phone rings and I curse my way to it and then discover it's that mythical beast, an EQC assessor.
So now he is coming over on Saturday afternoon to see if any of my myriad cracks are officially earthquake-related/payable. I didn't have to consult my calendar for that because any time an EQC assessor wants to visit is a good time, but it should be fine, I'll just make sure the tree chopper guy comes earlier or later.

But now I not only has a sleepy, I has a “if I was a toddler I'd be so cranky right now" and I haven't even had time or inclination to make dinner. So sleepy my brain is inside out.

Then I gave up on sleep and rang my mum to see if she wants to bottle peaches with me on Sunday, so that will all account very neatly for my entire weekend. Must look at my work calendar and plan when I can next take a holiday; I'm feeling completely blocked in by appointments these days.
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)
Since I've had to restrict my computer use this month to take care of my poor wrists, I've been reading a lot instead. Specifically, I no longer take my laptop on the bus to work, just a book and a notebook, and since I have to be careful even writing by hand, bus time and break time and lunchtime add up to almost 3 hours of reading a day (more if I can't stop reading when I get home). This turns out to get me through quite a substantial number of books.

I've been posting my book reviews as I go to Goodreads, which feeds to Twitter (though I may tweak the manner whereby it does that) but thought I'd gather the month's worth all in one place too.

17 books read in January )

I think my favourite this month were Fudoki and The Speed of Dark.

And a bonus feature! Books I didn't even manage to finish

At home and abroad: or, Memoirs of Emily de Cardonnell by Charlotte Eaton
This began as conventional old-fashioned romance, with a worthy young lady admired by a dashing foreign count; add in a misunderstanding and suspicions of her honesty, then a couple of less likeable characters to stir up the plot – and here it all fell apart, because the author devoted so many chapters to having the supposedly admirable characters teasing and mocking and laughing at whatever misfortune befell the less(?) likeable characters that I fell out of sympathy entirely with anyone and everyone involved.

Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle
I was browsing the library shelves, trying hard not to get book 2 of a trilogy, and ended up with a prequel instead. This would have been fine, and I was reading along happily until we got the bully, and the millennium-long government conspiracy to power the Empire with the flesh of its prisoners, and the bad guy with the harem of underage abductees. And the whole adulthood festival, where you get to do anything you like without ramification, which apparently means sex, and it emerges that yes, this does mean you can molest unwilling participants at will, and in millennia it's never occurred to anyone that this kind of sucks. I'd kind of like to know what happens next, but not enough to keep wading through this.

Random other notes:

  • I'm debating whether or not to buy an e-reader. I could just keep using my laptop of course, so it seems hard to justify spending the extra money. But if I'm not allowed to use the advanced features on my laptop, such as the keyboard, it's a nuisance having to lug the whole thing around. (Actually, the really annoying thing is having to unplug the microphone headset, because when I plug it in again I have to relaunch the whole speech recognition application and it's slow.)

  • I found some books in the bargain bin at a book store the other day, and they couldn't find one on the computer system, so gave it to me for free, so I ended up with three books for five dollars. New Zealand dollars.

  • I forget what else I was going to say. Oh! Except that, when people make hyperlinks or cut links, it's really handy if they're not called “click here" or “read more" or something, because with my software I can speak the words being linked and then tell the computer to open it, but this doesn't work so well when there are 10 links all the same and the computer doesn't know which one to choose. So the best links for me include a combination of words that isn't anywhere else on the page, which (given combinatorics) is pretty easy as long as it says something other than “read more". Anyway, however, my hands are okay to click the occasional link if I need to, and I have other workarounds too, so it's not like I'm going to unfriend anyone based on this, or even much notice, just I thought I'd say in case it's the kind of thing anyone likes to think about.
zeborah: Fezzes are cool.  Amy and River blow it up. (cool)
So after heleninwales suggested I try speech recognition, and I complained about all the reasons why it was impractical, I went out and did a pile more research to see if it was least possible. And it is! It took a while to get the setup I want, though.

I started off by utilising my personal contacts (whose names I won't name in order to protect the nearly-innocent) to procure a copy of MacSpeech so I could test it and see of it would be useful for my workflow without forking out hundreds of dollars. I then spent a lot of time fiddling with headsets, creating profiles, training the software, restarting the darned software every time it crashed, swatting the cat away from my microphone mouthpiece, testing a Bluetooth microphone, training the software again, trying to figure out why it made my computer so slow, and so forth.

I did eventually decides that, with a lot of kicking and screaming, it could prove useful. So I purchased my own copy and downloaded it. Approximately 20 seconds after installing it, it offered me an update. Fortunately that was much quicker to install.
I wrestled a lot with microphones after that, too. The Bluetooth microphone was too far from my mouth, and getting a longer one would put it at risk of the cat again. The training wasn't going well. I was getting frustrated. Finally I decided to go back to a USB headset. I went to the Warehouse and picked up the only USB headset they had. I spent that evening training the software yet again, and the next evening reading the entire manual. It's going to be pretty good once I get the hang of it. Shall write more when I'm not running late for work....
zeborah: Zebra in grass smelling a daisy (gardening)
In battling with my RSI I've resorted to a mixture of wonderful amounts of catch-up reading, ridiculous amounts of TV, and rare amounts of gardening.

I've nearly finished weeding the cracks in the bricks that run a path around the roses in my back garden. Granted the cracks I weeded first are now sprouting new grass again, but in the meantime I've discovered bricks I didn't even know existed for being buried under the encroaching lawn. Also in the meantime the plums, peaches, and grapes are ripening - I even ate a particularly early plum yesterday. But it got to 32 degrees outside (my thermometer claims 29 inside) so even my usual practice of going out for a few minutes then coming back in seems insufficient to avoid sunstroke.

(A flannel with cold water helps, though it dries amazingly quickly.)

So I read more than usual today, lounged on the bed in the coolest room in the house while the cat attempted to aestivate on the windowsill. I finished two books (an easy and fun YA and a classic that alas didn't have a plot to my taste but nevertheless told its plot extremely well) and... well, one gets tired of reading. Especially because holding the pages open anything less than carefully actually places a certain strain on one's wrists which one doesn't notice when one isn't battling RSI.

And unfortunately today I ran out of Boston Legal DVDs (need to visit my sister to borrow the next season) and the TV's marathon of Queen Seondeok has expired so I only get one hour a day instead of four. (I could rave about both series but even with my microbreak software on high my wrist is protesting.)

I would also love to be writing right now, but, well, I may have overdone it a bit yesterday.

[Software-enforced break during which I make the bed]

<remembers some video files my brother copied for me>

<on reflection, turns microbreak software up even higher>
zeborah: Helen Clark telling an MP: Diddums. (diddums)
So there was my left wrist being stiff for no readily apparent reason and so I did a few careful stretches for that.

Then my left ankle decided to act up too. My left ankle and I have a history.

My left ankle is the one I sprained in New Caledonia coming out of a doctor's appointment for a checkup for health insurance. I thought it was just a regular twist and was too embarrassed to turn around and walk straight back into the clinic. So I walked downhill to the busstop and once I was in town I walked home rather than wait forever for the next bus. At home (the school I taught and boarded at) I rested it and it got worse so I went to see the school nurse who said it wasn't serious and gave me aspirin and crutches. I assumed this meant it was just twisted and would get better over the next few days. It didn't, so I went back and she repeated it wasn't serious, probably just some bone fragments were in there, but no, an x-ray would be too expensive.

Yeah. So after I'd done boggling I went to my consulate (may have got something in my eye when I saw the flag of my native land) and caught them just as they were going out to lunch. They pointed me to the best place to get an x-ray, which I could have afforded easily even without my travel insurance, and which fortunately found no bone fragments and confirmed it was a sprain.

Anyway, it healed. But some years later in New Zealand I twisted it on uneven ground and after that it's had a tendency to weakness and further twisting. I got some physio and did my exercises and it got better but here it is again, so for the last couple of days I've been trying to do my exercises again, preferably without falling down in the middle of them. Also the muscles on my right foot are a bit stiff, I suspect from overcompensating.

Then yester evening my left wrist came more to the forefront of my attention and it slowly dawned on me, with the increasing pain, that it's not stiff, it's RSI. Aka OOS. Aka, in New Zealand, GPI (gradual process injury) or, the latest acronym, DPI (discomfort/pain/injury). Some department likes renaming things. A lot.

(Yes, I'm being careful as I type this. Alternating two-handed with right-handed, and lots of breaks and stretches too because the right hand feels like it's not far behind.)

So I've just phoned Dad that I won't be doing the almond icing on the Christmas cake this year, though royal icing should be okay mostly-one-handed I think. And phoned a couple of church people that I won't be playing violin in orchestra tomorrow.

Kinda dreading the bureaucracy when I get back to work Monday.

Can't for the life of me figure out what I've been doing recently that I haven't done a heck of a lot more of months ago. Our ergonomic set-up is currently crap (we've been stuffed in a corner during renovations) but I haven't exactly been wedded to my desk, or to anything else. No heavy booklifting recently. You know, I've had the training; it doesn't mean I never do silly things, but it means I know when I'm doing silly things. And I can't think of any silly things I've been doing recently.

Le sigh. Oh well, in the meantime I'll do non-discomfort/pain/injury things. Which, sigh, may mean less typing for a while.


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

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