Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Status Update

Sunday Morning I woke up and was unable to properly close my right eye.

I thought I had just slept funny, but I noticed I couldn't move my lips properly either. It didn't get better. Monday morning it was obvious that the right side of my face was not working properly.

I was able to visit the doctor Monday afternoon. Thankfully, it's not a stroke (always a risk for someone with hypertension). It is a fairly common condition called Bell's Palsy. Apparently 1 in 70 people get it at some point in their lives, and it effects people between the ages of 10 and 40 (I'm 41).

This is not a pleasant experience. The prognosis is good, but it will take time to get back to normal. I'm off from work this week.

It's been difficult to care about much else lately. Add to that the bitter, bitter, brutal cold we're experiencing here, already as cold as the depths of January here in mid-November. Last year I said another winter like last one would literally kill me. Already this winter is shaping up to be far, far, worse. Much of the East Coast is buried in snow, and it looks like our personal fallout from Climate Change will be a much, much, much colder and harsher climate. We've been 15-35 degrees below normal temps for the past 2 and a half years at least. It barely got above 70 all summer for the past few summers, and was mostly in the 60's. Winters will now go months without seeing 0 much less freezing (Fahrenheit). The Upper Midwest will probably be the coldest place south of the Arctic Circle now.

My Internet service is not working properly for reasons I cannot discern. My 7200 baud modem back in 1998 worked faster than the lousy Time Warner cable connection, and I assure you I am not exaggerating - it can take 5-10 minutes to download a single web page, if it downloads at all, that is. I cannot watch any video, and can access email half the time (I'm at a local cafe now).

Which wouldn't be so bad, if I didn't have to pay $150.00 a month for internet service (it was 19.99 when I started). Time Warner is, of course, a monopoly (and no, it's thanks to government deregulation, not regulation). I have a hard time justifying paying that cost for such a poor product, and am seriously thinking about cutting the cord. It's just not worth it. Thanks again, to America's extractive monopolies, crushing the economy to make fortunes for a few oligarchs, they've killed yet another online enterprise (one that didn't make any money, but still...)

I can't do that now, because my phone doesn't work either. I transferred my number to my new phone provider (Ting) but I can't make any calls. Without phone or internet, it's hard to correct these issues. When and if I get my phone service back, I'll probably do it, as I need to save every penny right now.

That will make blogging harder, of course. It won't be impossible, though, I'll just need to read and write stuff off-line and upload it at work or at the cafes like where I am now. That might be a good thing - maybe it's time for longer, reflective pieces.

I read a book by the Minamalists recently, and it made an effect on me. It was called Everything That Remains. I wish I could write a review, but circumstances intervene. Perhaps soon. You can find their site here:

I'm pretty jealous. I wish I could could quit my job (which pays substantially less than six figures), and they managed to have writing/blogging careers immediately after quitting theirs. I've been writing here for years with nothing to show for it, money-wise at least.

So, I've been getting rid of my stuff. It's an ongoing process, not that I had that much to begin with. Really, I've been a minimalist my whole life, but I'm just taking it up to the next level.

I've been using the time to read a lot. I've been studying to take the LEED exam (BD +C). Some of you may note the irony - I am a pretty bitter critic of LEED, but even I am not exempt from credentialism, and I need all the help I can get. It's hard to read the boring manual when I've got so many other reading/writing projects ongoing. Currently I'm also reading Mumford's The City in History, The Great Mortality, an excellent readable history of the Black Death, Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance, How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand (highly recommended - I need to write a review) and Poor People by William Vollman. By coincidence, I ran across this - Morris Berman on my literary hero Mumford:

Honestly, getting out of here is the only thing that keeps my going. I'm not very  happy right now, and I want the use of my face back.

So, this is to say, posting my be erratic for the foreseeable future. Thanks for your understanding.


  1. Sorry to hear about your illness!
    Get rest.
    You're a smart, good guy.
    I've commented on your blog many times before, under a different name.
    We are now seriously pursuing emigration. It is really the only viable option.
    If you ever want to correspond about this idea, let me know here. I'll check back.

    My own health has seriously improved over the past year due to better nutrition, exercise, removing fluoride and chlorine from my water, etc. Experiment!
    Follow the Archdruid's lead, and try alt med.

  2. when it rains, it pours I guess? I hope things look brighter for you soon! If my internet ever gets to even $75 a month I would have to pull the plug, my finances are stretched to the limit as it is. Thank god for libraries and cafes with wifi where you are. Hang in there, we need your thoughts!

  3. Please please hang in there ...and don't stop writing !
    It is hugely beneficial to many people

  4. Hey man, I read you every day! Get better!

  5. I hope you feel better soon. In case it helps, I'd encourage to do whatever it takes to never get cold. This article has some good ideas, especially the chick brooder reflector and foot heating pad: I also find that some full spectrum cfl bulbs help with the winter blues.

  6. Bell's happens. The guy who was governor of the state I grew up in had it for years 'n' years. An online friend got it. I hope you experience a remission.

  7. Your blog is one of the smartest and best things on the entire internet- I have great respect for you and your insights. Wishing you all the best, BC in Portland Oregon

  8. I enjoy your blog. I'll pray for you (supposedly it works even if you don't believe in it:

    Can you split the cost of internet with neighbors? I currently split a cox business internet account with myself, 3 roommates, and 5 other apartments (with at least 2 people using). I know the internet companies frown upon it but...

  9. Wishing you the best. Hang in there. The tide will always turn and you will look back upon your challeges and low periods and relish in the fact that you prevailed.

  10. I have been reading your blog for a few years now and it's one of the sites that I check just about every day. Please know that there are people out there like myself who enjoy your insights and work. Hang in there.

  11. Escape from would be the time........

  12. Your writing and analysis is both erudite and unique. It has great value and I appreciate your efforts so much. Your insights are helping me stay ahead of the curve and provide for my family. Please do not ever doubt the impact that you are making. Take care and I hope things improve.

  13. So sorry to hear of your troubles. I have been reading and appreciating your blog for quite some time, and I hope you find the energy to continue to write.

    A dear friend of mine recently had an attack of Bell's as well: for two weeks she didn't get much better, but then decided on a course of acupuncture which made the world of difference. Two weeks of acupuncture and her face is almost completely back to normal. I wish you a similarly speedy recovery.

  14. Thank you all so much! I'm overwhelmed by the sentiment. My time online is unfortunately limited right now, so I hope to have more personal responses in the future.

    It's only been a week, and I'm not sure whether it's much better or not. At least it's warm outside today (40-50), which makes a world of difference. Too bad it won't last :(

    I've heard about acupuncture, and looking it up online, it appears that Carnie Wilson had this as well last year. I assume she's okay now. In any case, time will tell.

    Thanks again all, it means so much. I'll be back, just a little speedbump, and changes for the better ahead.

  15. I, too, hope for your speedy and complete recovery! Yours is one of the very few sites that I consider essential to help my understanding of how the world is (mal)functioning now, and where we might be headed in the future. Take care and be good to yourself!

  16. We all support you and hope the best in your recovery. You are a very interesting person and very passionate about your views. Take care.


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