Known Johnson

January 16, 2009

The inbred toenail is no more

Filed under: Annoyances,Weird — Tom @ 12:20 pm

You may recall an incident late last spring when I dropped a big ol’ box on my toe, effectively crushing it. It was annoying, but it healed. Unfortunately, however, like the proverbial stone in water, there are consequences that ripple off one event in unforeseen ways . . . such as a damned ingrown toenail. Now, I admit, it didn’t look all that bad to the untrained eye, but as soon as my foot doctor saw it a couple months back, she said, “That’s going to have to come off, kiddo.” And my stomach sank. I know what the North Vietnamese did to their prisoners. I heard about sticking bamboo shoots under finger nails, and I know how much it hurts to merely pull the nail away from the bed just a bit. No thank you. So I held off hoping it would just magically heal. And then the nail broke, revealing a disgusting, bloody little hole right where my nail was digging in. But then it kind of healed back, but was sore . . . I dealt with it. Until it broke again, and then I had to admit that something was really not right. I gave in and agreed to have it taken care of.

Here’s one thing I have learned: when you have something wrong, don’t look it up. Don’t Google it and then read responses on message boards from people who claim they’ve experienced the same thing, or have friends, aunts, or know the dogs of people who have had whatever you’re looking up done. It will serve you not at all to know what these people want to say. You know when you ask someone about something possibly negative, and they go, “Oh yeah, my dad had that!” and proceed to tell you some horror story about it? It’s ten times worse on the internet. They want you to suffer and worry and possibly cancel it until it’s really, really bad. Because that’s what they did. See, something else I learned is that most people wait a really long time to do health-related things and then it’s too late for the simple, easy procedure and they get to experience the really painful, awful, disgusting things, and sometimes they wait so long that it has to be done twice. Infections and whatnot, you know. But I’m digressing.

I went to my foot doctor yesterday with visions of infested toes and mangled nails, blood-oozing sores, all set to horrific stories of pain and drawn-out affliction, infection, and other forms of grossness. And it was all for naught. Here’s what happened: I read about this, and didn’t really get it, because I thought people were saying something in a clever way. She froze my toe. And I mean literally froze my toe. It was some kind of extremely cold liquid that she poured onto my toe, numbing it. And it was cold – painfully cold, until it went numb. And then she went in with the needle to numb it. I didn’t feel the first shot at all. Cool. The second one, she repeatedly told me to breathe deep, really deep, and I just wasn’t feeling it . . . until I did, and THEN I breathed REALLY deep. That, dear Readers, was the most pain I would feel the entire time. I heard lots of snipping and cracking – big toenails are kind of grossly thick, you know – and within about 5 minutes, it was done. I was bandaged up and ready to go.

Wrapped up from ingrown-toenail removal surgery

Since I obviously couldn’t wear a regular shoe with that, I was given this stylin’ foam shoe.

The smiley-face on the shoe really helps with the healing process

The smiley face is strategically placed over the big-toe area to induce quicker healing, or so I hear.

If you are brave, jump on over to the next page for . . . toe revealed!



January 12, 2009

New year brings joy

Filed under: General — Tom @ 2:57 pm

It’s January 12. I’m still coughing crap up from whatever it is that I got a couple days after Christmas. That was a whole year ago! I got cipro running through my system because my doctor said I may have “several things going on,” and it’s killing off every bit of bacteria, bad and good. So far, not too impressed with the cipro. The coughing and stuffy nose: seriously getting old.

Danielle is getting big. Big! She’s 6 weeks old and already about to outgrow her bassinet, which Amanda was in for about three months. I’m wondering if she didn’t inherit the “tall” genes in the family – most of us are short, but there are a few freaks among us who tower well into the 6 foot range, including several on my dad’s side of the family, and my older brother-in-law also qualifies. The funny thing is I have no recollection of how big Amanda was, it’s only when others remind me of where she was at this point that I realize that Danielle is growing so quickly. Big eye, big cheeks, and, to entertain us, she makes lots of grunty noises all the time. It is strange, however, how different things are – with Amanda, we had no idea what to expect. Now that we do know from experience, I find I’m anxious to get to those next stages – sitting up, crawling, etc.

Do you know how hard it is to find a dresser for kids – an affordable dresser? Amanda needs a new one since the one she’s been using will be making its way into Danielle’s room soon, but we’re stymied by the fact that we can’t find one that isn’t ridiculously expensive. I mean, I don’t want to buy something cheap for my little girl, but I think spending $800-1000 on a small dresser is a bit excessive, don’t you think? I know there’s this whole industry catering to parents who can’t help but buy “nothing but the best” for their kids, but you can’t tell me that the entire market has disappeared for the rest of us, the “nothing but ‘eh, it’s okay,'” crowd, apparently. Or is this another example of the Itunes-ification of American – give them one choice and they have no option but to go along with it?

The house is a mess, things are everywhere. We are in limbo unlike ever before. I get this heavy sense of dread any time I try to clean anything up, because all that winds up happening is that I simply shift things from one place to another. Nothing can really be put away because that would involve the kind of deconstruction that requires an entire crew. What we need is for one of those home de-clutter/organizational genius shows to come to us and figure this out, because I fear we are too far gone. Maybe if I took a week off of work and just relegated the time solely to organizing . . . but, honestly, most of the time would be me sitting in front of stacks of stuff, rubbing my head, mumbling, “Oh my God, where do I even begin?”

Speaking of organizing, if anyone is wondering, there will indeed be a year-end best-of music list forthcoming. Along with the lack of space has come a distinct lack of time, but I have vowed to myself to put together a list since I seem to have focused on a number of things my fellow Blogcritics have not and they deserve attention. (Nevermind that I rarely review music anymore – I still listen a lot and once in a while, like at year’s end, feel the need to say something.)

I didn’t watch the Golden Globes last night but I did see someone mention how awful Sting looked:


Seriously? Sting, dude, you’re on TV.

And finally, your moment of zen:

January 6, 2009

Consolation prize

Filed under: Annoyances,Ipod/Iphone,Music — Tom @ 4:28 pm

Alyssa I am consoling myself over the loss, again, of my old girlfriend, Alyssa Milano, to some shlumpy dude who she could clearly do better than. It’s okay, because Apple has finally given up on both that crappy DRM scheme and is offering upgrades to higher sound quality music. Amazon started selling DRM-free, high-quality mp3s a while back, and it apparently forced Apple’s and the labels’ hands. We’re edging closer to a day when we won’t have to even think about lossy compression of music anymore – it’ll just be high quality lossless stuff. But for now, this is okay.

Me, personally . . . well, if you ask, I only have a few things purchased from the Itunes store. Brad Mehldau’s complete Live In Tokyo, as it was originally a sickeningly expensive two-CD Japan-only release and is now out of print . . . except it’s available in its entirety on Itunes, but at the lowly 128kbps quality. Son Volt’s excellent The Search, expanded by 8 songs only on vinyl . . . and on Itunes. And Elbow’s recent exclusive Itunes Live set, which is so excellent – I am assuming Apple will be upgrading their own material, too, right?

Alyssa chose the goofy looking dude (seriously, you see this guy?) and I get files. Alissa (coincidence?) understands I may need some time to cope with this. Right, honey? Right?

January 5, 2009

Yo yo

Filed under: Annoyances — Tom @ 9:29 am

Well, so much for all the positive talk yesterday. I’m right back to feeling awful again today. Great.

January 4, 2009

Great expectorations

Filed under: Annoyances — Tom @ 8:09 pm

The great disease infiltration of ’09 continues pretty much unabated. Whereas earlier in the week I was downing dose after dose of a cough medicine designed to put a damper on the activity, I’m now taking something to do the exact opposite, which, as it turns out, is a pretty painful proposition. It also makes sleeping interesting, as midway through the night I awoke feeling as if something was sitting on the right side of my chest. A mildly deep breath resulted in spasms of coughing. Not good. Also of note was last night’s weekly garbage ritual, made exciting by the fact that I couldn’t really take much of a breath, and by the time I was done, I was gasping for air and sweating. Just from taking out the garbage. Part of me remembers a time back in high school when I had pneumonia and thinks “This seems awful familiar!” but I’m not sure it’s quite that severe. That said, I can’t seem to go anywhere – one trip out yesterday, the first in a couple of days, grew extremely uncomfortable.

And that was two days ago. I stopped writing for almost two days. Let me tell you, this cold, bug, germ, death, whatever it is, is nasty. I can’t think of the last time I had something that just laid me out like this besides an out-right flu, and I am pretty sure it’s not the flu, because that’s even worse than this. But this has been really bad for about 5 days, and just plain bad for a week. It was never “simple cold” level “okay,” which is sometimes okay because you can keep functioning with a simple cold. Not this. I was down and out. On the sofa doing nothing for days. For example, yesterday I watched seemingly hundreds of videos on VH-1 Classic’s “2009 For 2009” video countdown. Videos I probably wouldn’t ever watch otherwise. Because what else am I going to do? I watched a hilariously Tim & Eric-like commercial for (a company that promises to speed up your computer – uh-huh), the hoveround or some similarly entertaining mode of transportation for the elderly, and most frightening/humorous of all, bizarre commercials with “83 year old Tony Curtis,” who has apparently turned into a very old, bald cross-dresser. Not to be mean or anything – I know he’s old, but this commercial is beyond simply odd – it’s weird, creepy, and disturbing. And I saw it a LOT this week.

It was either that or Destroyed In Seconds on Discovery – a decidedly LOW-quality, un-Discovery-like show that has me fearing what direction they’re heading now. Just when things were stabilizing with a bunch of shows that were attempting to, badly, mimic the entertainment value of Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs, not to mention the “mind on cruise control” power of the new genre spawned by How It’s Made, they’ve managed to lower the bar. There was a moment there when, after watching a bit of Destroyed In Seconds, Amanda kept chanting, “I want to watch crashes!” where I can see how people turn into bad parents and let their kids get their way. It’s cute, if only for a bit, to see them say stuff like this, but you have to step aside and look at it from another perspective to realize this stuff ain’t for 3 year olds. Cute, and America’s Funniest Home Videos, as it may be ready to hear her chant for destruction, I just couldn’t do it. VH-1 Classic it was. All day long. After all, these were all the videos I grew up watching. And I turned out okay, right? Right?

And then this morning I woke up and everything seemed different somehow. I still had a bit of a sore throat, still felt the pain of congestion in my lungs and possessed that deep baritone voice of the very sick, but I felt better. The whole day’s been better. Amanda’s on her way, I think she’s a day or two behind me, so we still have a few days of “MY NOSE IS RUNNING!” and explosive coughing in the middle of the night, but the end is nigh.

The interesting thing that I noticed is that, while sick, I had no interest in being on the computer. As evidenced above, I began one paragraph and abandoned it, and that illustrated my computer exposure much of the week besides what little time I spent at work. Today, after a few hours on the computer this morning, I came away from the experience wishing I’d simply taken it easy, resting, reading, watching TV, doing anything but sitting behind this stupid box. Is it getting older? Or am I losing interest in all of this? I don’t know. If I believed in resolutions, one I’d make is to simply not spend so much time on this thing. As it is, I’ll simply say that I hope maybe I’ll keep in mind how I felt this morning after days away from the computer. And now I’m going to go take that advice. I’ve got pasta boiling, sauce cooking, some chicken awaiting cheese and sauce, and fresh, home-made bread baking. That beats the computer any night.

January 1, 2009

Degonkulater plus

Filed under: Annoyances,Baby makes FOUR,General — Tom @ 9:58 pm

The Sick has descended upon our household. It wouldn’t be a major holiday season without disease. This time it’s a cold or some related type o’ bug, annoying, but not too disruptive. A couple of down days for Amanda and I, where we quarantined ourselves as best we could from the other two ladies, and things seem to be righting themselves again. Luckily it appears Alissa and tiny Danielle have eluded attack by rebel germs. Amanda and I, brave souls that we are, took the brunt of the attack for them, defending the household for them.

Speaking of Danielle, today she celebrated her first month birthday. Well, not really celebrated . . . we didn’t do anything in particular because I was still suffering from The Death for much of the day, but we noted it (“Hey, Danielle will be exactly a month old in a few minutes.”) You may note I haven’t said too much about her . . . I have found that I feel kind of weird saying too much. I feel a greater sense of privacy this time around and don’t feel appropriate posting everything about her life like I did with Amanda. I don’t know why, exactly. I’m just uncomfortable with it, perhaps because I do seem to have a much higher visit rate than ever before, and it seems weird to me to be talking about what is essentially very private stuff. It wasn’t so weird to talk about diapers and other weird issues when I knew who the 12 people who visited everyday were, but now that it’s 90, 100, sometimes 250 a day, it feels a little weirder broadcasting that stuff out to the world. As the saying goes, it’s not you, it’s me.

December 25, 2008

Not even a mouse

Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:14 am

It’s 6:55 on December 25, the day on which we measure the Mass of Christ in toys and electronics. I’m the only one up besides the cats, one of whom, Oscar, keeps trying to eat the bows and curly ribbons off of the boxes that have them, which is why I didn’t bother putting any on the ones that I wrapped. Every once in a while, I’ll hear a rustling, run out by the tree, and there will be Oscar, nestled up close by a present, gnawing away. It freaks him out, and he backs away in a rush, and out comes a big, nasty, chewed up mess of ribbon that has been half-way down his throat. Merry Christmas!

Christmas aglow

The giant box to the right there is something Amanda has been asking about for ages – a toy kitchen. Why she wants this, neither of us knows. It certainly isn’t due to the prowess of either of us in the real kitchen, that’s for sure. Alissa doesn’t cook and I merely “heat things up.” But every time we saw one of these in a store, she went nuts. It was her “lap request” to Santa, so we had to make it happen, and it was harder than we thought – sold out here, there, everywhere, bought online to ship to the store, didn’t arrive, first call to customer service resulted in basically a “hmm!” from their end and finally the second call resulted in them shipping it directly to us, and it arrived Monday night – FOUR WEEKS after it was ordered!

If you recall last Christmas, Amanda wasn’t so thrilled with Santa’s presence in the house. Most kids, “Santa’s here? Holy shit, presents!” Not our Amanda. Santa was that most unwanted of interlopers, and she stood at the farthest point of the house, back turned to him, pretending he wasn’t here. So this year, with Santa mere hours away and bedtime beckoning, tears welled in her eyes with fear that Santa would try to come in her room. That mean old man who comes and leaves presents, you know. So we told her that we’d put a sign on her door and that I would make sure to keep him out. “If he tries to come in your room I’ll beat him up, okay?” I said, and she thought that was okay. Because I’m that brave.

That'll tell him

I wondered how difficult Christmas was going to be this year, if maybe it was going to be made harder with the limited time after Danielle was born, but I found instead that I simply found ways to make it work – and I hardly bought anything online, amazingly. One item, one extremely hard to find, in-demand item, was bought months ago, and then the rest I stopping here and there on the way home from work, or running out on weekends to get. It worked out, but more than that, it was great fun – more fun shopping for Christmas than I’ve had in a long time, in fact. I’ve lamented in the past that some of the fun of Christmas shopping had disappeared and I think it may be due to the reliance on online sources for many things. Easy? Yes. Satisfying? Not so much. There’s something visceral lost about getting into the shops filled with holiday decorations that can’t be had from going to a website with a header graphic with snowflakes in it. I’ll try to remember it in the future, but the temptation will remain, I’m sure, to simply sit behind the computer and click “Buy Now!” rather than brave the crowds. I’ll try to resist it just to keep some of that holiday spirit in check.

And, speaking of holiday spirit, the picture we sent out with our cards of the girls . . . this was a much harder picture to get than you’d think, not because of 3 week old Danielle but because it is nearly impossible to get a 3 year old to smile naturally on command:

Ain't that what Christmas is all about?

That’s the true meaning of Christmas to me. Merry Christmas, everyone.

December 22, 2008

Vs. vs. vs. vs.

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 1:52 pm

I’m going to have to file myself back in the “don’t sue, Joe” category after watching everything for the past couple of weeks. Satriani might have felt unjustly ignored by Coldplay initially, but he may find himself the target of a lot more criticism now that so many other, older songs are being linked to his.

The above video only misses one other big song that is eerily similar, Cat Stevens’ 1973 “Love/Heaven”:

I can’t believe this has been going on since at least August. When I first heard about it, I really assumed it would just die out and nothing much more would come of it. Will it destroy Coldplay’s career if the case somehow winds up in Satriani’s favor? No way. Will it destroy his career either way? I fear it could make him a joke no matter what now. Rather than just letting things be, he’s chosen to go public with this and now all of these other songs are being presented that show that neither of them were being particularly original. Coldplay can get away with that because people just like their nice stuff and don’t care if they nicked it from elsewhere, but a guitar guy like Satch, whose reputation is built on his knack for melody and his talent, well, it could just shuffle him further into the corner of guitar-geeks who listen only for licks and speed. It’s probably too late to stop now, as that will look like he’s running away with his tail between his legs, but he may wish he could. I wish he’d simply taken it as an unacknowledged compliment from Coldplay to him on his melodic skills, leaving the lawsuit as just an unfulfilled thought passing through his head on a bad day.

Tis the season

Filed under: General — Tom @ 7:18 am

Daddy's little girl . . . with her own little mp3 player

Like father, like daughter. We get ’em started early with the music around here.

A self portrait of Amanda and her daddy

I’m surprised at how much this actually does look like both of us, and yes, she really did say it was a picture of us.


Don't wake baby

I have worried sometimes that maybe Amanda has too many “masculine” toys to play with – lots of cars, things like that, and she often shows little interest in “girly” things – but after seeing this I don’t think we have too much to worry about.

Just in time for Christmas

For the alcoholic who has everything . . .

This church has their holidays a little mixed up

I only wish I’d been able to capture the semi-animated resurrection immediately after this at this church’s immense light display. There are just some things that should not be represented with dinky Christmas lights . . . and I’m not a religious person.

December 19, 2008

Decision 2008

Filed under: Annoyances — Tom @ 9:37 am

I have decided that I really don’t like Will Smith.

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