Known Johnson

April 22, 2008

More Nails

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 11:29 pm

Say what you will about Nine Inch Nails, but Trent Reznor certainly isn’t resting much since dumping his label and going it on his own. First it was Ghosts I-IV – just a little over two short months ago – and now he purportedly has the follow-up to last year’s Year Zero ready to roll out in the next couple of weeks. He’s announced this with the release of “Discipline,” mastered just 24 hours prior to release. And here it is, hijacked off some broadcast somewhere, following a cryptic message from Trent himself about something happening in “two weeks” . . . another new album? EP? Who knows – all I can say is that it has lyrics, so it’s not more “Ghosts.”



KC8: a preview

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 10:12 pm

Those of you who, like me, wondered just what was in store with the addition of amazing drummer Gavin Harrison to King Crimson’s already interesting line up (this being number 8,) what with current drummer Pat Mastelotto* still occupying his drum stool, well, we’ve finally been given a very cool glimpse courtesy one of the free “Stormy Monday Selections” this week. “Bababoomboom” appears to be an advanced (!) version of Thrak‘s drum suite, “B’Boom,” which is based around drum exercises that Harrison had given to then-drummer Bill Bruford for him and Mastelotto to mess around with. Dare I say it . . . I think Harrison and Mastelotto take it to new heights here. Gavin is one hell of a drummer. That’s saying a lot coming from this huge Bruford fan.

*Even after fourteen years, I’m still having to check the spelling on Pat’s last name.

April 21, 2008

It might be labeled “ghetto boombox kart” . . .

Filed under: General — Tom @ 7:49 pm

. . . but I think this guy is riding in style:

ghetto boombox kart

Slow down

Filed under: General — Tom @ 7:00 am

Overheard at the store yesterday: “I heard that Duran Duran song and now I can’t get it out of my dumb head.”

Sometimes it seems things get too busy and if you don’t slow down, life comes along and figures out a way to make you slow down. That’s what this past week has been for me – a forced slow down. I broke my toe and now can’t do much of anything – can’t drive anywhere, can’t walk much, and so can’t do most of the things that occupied my weekends before. What did I do instead? I sat. It felt incredible. I needed this very, very badly – and I’m not talking about in terms of healing my broken toe. When we did go out, all it did was remind me how very much I simply wanted to be home, foot in the air on my pile o’ pillows, rather than praying someone didn’t absent-mindedly back into my foot in one of the crowded aisles.

And how are things with the foot? Good, I think. The swelling is still there, or something that makes my toe look really fat, but the bruising has gone way down. It’s still very sensitive – I can’t put the toe down onto the floor with any weight or it just sends a shock right up my spine – but I think that’s to be expected. When I returned to work last week the first thing people said when seeing The Shoe was “that’s it? There’s nothing covering your broken toe?!” And that’s how I feel – it’s constantly on my mind that something could drop on it, or bump into it, whatever. Nothing has, yet, and actually The Shoe has proven a toe-saver at least once when I hopped out of bed in the middle of the night and didn’t really think about where I was walking. I slammed my foot into a little foot stool I couldn’t see in the dark. Without this thing on, I would surely have been in extreme pain, if not right back where I was on the previous Saturday – or worse. That poor toe feels very exposed and vulnerable.

That could change today, as I have an appointment to see how my progress is coming along, and hopefully I’ll be getting out of this awful shoe and into something more comfortable. I’m starting to pick up some discomfort in other areas – my heal is sore, my ankle is sore from the angle, etc. – that I’m sure can’t be good for a long time, but we’ll see. I’ve actually had a very happy thought pass through my head many times of taking this shoe and cutting the big, chunky, angled part off with one pass on large table saw. I hate it and am so tired of walking on it that I sometimes forgetfully walking heal-to-toe on it – a big no-no. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do if she suggests continuing to walk on this thing – I have reached my saturation point with this and I don’t think I can take it much longer. I am not too proud to beg.

April 16, 2008

My right foot

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:24 am

This took far more time and coordination than I thought was going to be required, given my limited positions to set it up:

Damned shoe

There it is, The Shoe, with a background provided by The Box that caused me to need to wear The Shoe. The big toe poking up in the air like that? It’s because of this strap thing I have to wear under The Shoe to keep it from moving. It’s a remarkably complicated system of velcro straps, but it does indeed keep it in place. I took it off a bit ago to take a shower and, thinking, “Hey, everything feels okay,” tried moving my toe a bit – big mistake. It hurt like hell – much more than it had since about Sunday morning. But it looks better – the bruising has gone down a lot, so I take that as sign of progress.

Walking around in this thing is difficult and tiring. I feel like a peg-legged pirate. I take a normal step with my left leg, which now has to be my dominant leg (something you never think about,) and then have to forcibly think about swinging my right leg so I put my weight squarely on the heel of my right foot. The Shoe is designed to keep any pressure off my toe, but I can still tilt forward on it occasionally and feel some pressure. I try not to do that.

Unexpected dangers encountered while wearing The Shoe: toe-kicks under the counter, the bottom edge of the refrigerator door, dressers, and anything I have to lean over – there is no normal sense of balance wearing this thing. I am a lopsided, clompy monster. I have already called my doctor hoping to move up next Thursday’s appointment to Monday so I can hopefully get into something a little more accommodating to the mobile. Until then, I’m a danger to everything around me. Going back to work tomorrow is going to be quite an adventure.

April 15, 2008


Filed under: Curiosities — Tom @ 1:11 pm

Does it boggle anyone else’s mind that we actually have to provide an envelope and a stamp in order to get our taxes mailed to the same government that they all work for in the first place? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just wave the stamp fee on tax documents to ensure that taxes get paid on time? I’ve never understood this. The Unites States Postal Service is a part of the government. The Internal Revenue Service is a part of the government. It seems sensible to me that the USPS would understand that an envelope addressed to the IRS would benefit everyone under that big government umbrella, so the stamp would be unnecessary. Or maybe it’s just me being highly logical. This is, after all, the government we’re talking about here.

Bonus sentence: hooray for a year in which we don’t owe anything and in fact will be getting a big fat return for once, on top of that pointless “economic stimulus payment” in a couple months.

April 14, 2008


Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:08 pm

It’s taken until my 30s, but I’ve finally broken something: my toe. The diagnosis was made official today after I hobbled around this morning at work and realized it just wasn’t getting better. My foot doctor got me in quickly and they seemed to know immediately without X-rays that it was bad. The X-rays, of course, proved it, and I was quite stunned. See, it doesn’t really hurt all that bad, but what they showed was that bastard box that leapt off the shelf at me on Saturday night sheared off a big chunk of the bottom of the front bone of my big toe – where the tendon attaches, from what I understood of what she said. I kind of went into shock a bit after that, simply stunned because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I really went in prepared to be told that this was nothing, just a badly bruised toe, and it would heal on its own. Now I’m in this goofy black plastic shoe that angles my foot in a very odd, uncomfortable way, making it nearly impossible to walk for more than a dozen feet or so before I get very, very tired and sore.

“Wow,” I said, “this is going to make me really slow.”

“That’s exactly the point,” said my doctor, indicating that she knows I have a tendency to overdo things. She’s a good doctor.

I’ve been ordered off my feet and, indeed, basically away from this thing, the computer, just because it’s pretty hard to truly rest while sitting at it. True enough, since I’ve been home, and actually resting, when I get up and do things, my foot actually does hurt quite a bit. I’ve just been so active since Saturday that I haven’t really noticed it. The rest has given me enough of a pause to notice that it actually feels “merely okay” when elevated and immobile, and really starts to ache and sting when I’m moving about. That I need to figure this out is rather stupid. I will, however, take the doctor up on her prescription for rest – I am getting off of here and going to bed. And I’m home for the next couple of days, at least – until I simply can’t take the inactivity anymore, basically. That is, of course, if I can actually move in this stupid shoe.

April 13, 2008

Big toe/toe jam

Filed under: General — Tom @ 5:29 pm

There are times when it is useless to try to determine if you have an affliction via the internet. One such time is when you have possible crushed and broken a toe, such as I may have done last night when attempting to remove a very heavy boxed, unbuilt TV stand from a high shelf at Walmart.

It was exactly what we needed, or thereabouts – we have a very heavy TV waiting for us over at my parents’ house, but we haven’t been able to find a stand that would actually hold this monstrous beast with any certainty. It’s been sitting there for months. My parents routinely ask if we’ve found anything, suggesting they’d like for the TV to move on to a different spot than the one it currently occupies in their garage. I sympathize, but it simply can’t come here because there is no place to put it without a proper TV stand, unless we go all white trash and simply put it on the floor (we’re not going to do that.) So we have waited, checking every store that might possibly carry something sturdy enough to hold this 110 lb.+ beast, and last night we found it.

I grabbed this big box off the shelf, which was about four feet off the floor. I knew it would be heavy, I had no doubt about that – I mentally prepared myself for 50-75 lbs. and when I test-lifted it, I figured that was about right. The weight would be no problem, but being vertical rather than horizontal, it would be awkward to handle. I moved it to the edge of the shelf, ready to make a quick transition to our cart as it would be an awkward position in which to carry it. Just as I got it to the edge, the insides of my fingers made note of something . . . hmm, they said, there’s a rather sharp paper edge sticking out here. When I let go of this box and slide it into the cart, I’m going to get a nasty paper cut from this box. And in that moment of hesitation, inertia carried the box off the shelf . . . and down.

I briefly remember a jolt of action from my hands to arrest the box against the racks, but it was far too heavy to stop. It simply slammed down, hard, onto my right foot, directly onto my big toe, with all of the toes absorbing some of the impact. I just let out a yelp. It was all I could do. I couldn’t even think – my brain went completely blank for several moments. And then the pain started coming on. I just had to stand there for a few moments, taking it all in, before I could even move. Somehow, I was sensible enough to not want the box that had fallen four feet, but dumb enough to grab yet another box off that high shelf – but I got it into the cart safely. It would be later that night when I would run nightmare scenarios through my head that involved that very heavy box falling on Amanda, none of which registered at the time.

For whatever reason, we didn’t just leave. Whatever happens to the body after tremendous pain happens must enable a stupidity switch because we walked around that damned store for another 20 minutes before I said that we simply had to leave. Alissa said we could leave a couple times but I said we should get what we came for. And, really, we should – I was already damaged, and walking in there for a bit wasn’t going to change that. I went as long as I could, and we left, and when we got home, I took off my shoe, and marveled at my fat, angry looking toe. It hurt like hell.

It wasn’t until this morning, however, that I really worried about it. I knew it would be bruised, but I didn’t realize it would look like it does. And it’s getting worse. According to several searches on medical sites, I may or may not have broken my toe. No kidding! “Is it lumpy or badly bruised? It may be broken. Is it painful to bend? It may be broken.” No shit – I had already worked this out for myself, thanks. So I may be leaving this in the hands of a professional tomorrow, if things don’t improve over night. With the condition my feet are in to begin with, I don’t take the thought of messing with a possible broken toe or even just a badly sprained toe very lightly – my feet don’t work normal to begin with, so any deviance from the norm could be detrimental.

Who wants a picture?


Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:28 am

And it is horrible . . . and hilarious:

And can probably be bought at a great discount since the Sharper Image is going out of business.

April 12, 2008

On the Border(s)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 9:28 am

We took a trip to Borders last night after I read that they’re in “last gasps” of carrying CDs, essentially. What I’ve seen is that Borders will no longer carry CDs by 2010, and will drastically cut its book selection by then as well, going from a “spine-out” (like in the library) stocking method to “face-out” so the covers are prominently displayed on all books. Sounds like a desperate, and desperately stupid move.

It’s not as bad as I’ve read, but things are not good. There was a big, completely empty rack for CDs that was obviously going to be removed, and the racks are a mess, as they have been for some time – discs in the wrong places, listening stations not working, etc. It’s about as organized as I’d expect Walmart to be, except Walmart actually is organized. Yes, it’s that bad.

One section of the first CD rack was reserved for “75% off” CDs, which is why I was there. I have been seeing comments around the internet that many or even most stores had big sections for this, but ours was about 3 feet of CDs, clearly stuff that hadn’t sold in many years, and, from the looks of things, some CDs that had been in storage for a long time (they should be ashamed – this is the stuff I had been coming to Borders for in the first place.) Much of it was devoted to classical, not a big seller in the first place, so 75% off of a $7 CD is pretty cheap – I wish I was interested in getting started, I could have stocked up on enough to keep me busy for months for about the cost of a normal priced CD.

True to most bargain bins, most of it was crap. As I was flipping through, a couple wandered by and glanced at the selection. By “glanced” I mean literally glanced – they didn’t even bother moving anything, just declaring everything in it “crap,” out loud, except for the presence of an abandoned Jordin Sparks’ CD at the top of the rack, which wasn’t even included in the discount, but which elicited an excited “Oh look!” until they saw there was no discount sticker on it. Meanwhile, I had a handful of discs as I flipped gleefully away at the selection. If you love music, as I always say, there is always something to be found, and, of course, there was. In my hand were copies of Wire’s On Returning (a best-of the first three albums of this band that I always mean to check out,) Esbjorn Svensson Trio’s Viaticum (I have one of their earlier albums,) the Classical Jazz Quartet’s Play Rachmaninov (had no idea what this was, but it had Ron Carter on bass, Kenny Barron on piano, and Stefon Harris on vibes, and those are all names I’m very familiar with – how bad could it be?) and an import copy of Megadeth’s Hidden Treasures with 4 extra tracks. All for $18. Like Tower’s death throes, it’s a sad thing, but it makes for great savings . . .

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