That's a Hella Number

'Hella' proposed as standard scientific prefix

Basically, the above article mentions a campaign to make the term "Hella" the prefix for the number 10^27 (that's a one followed by 27 zeros). "Hella" is slang for "a whole lot" so I think it would be appropriate to use it as a prefix for a really large number.

I first heard the term "Hella" from watching Strong Bad's "Teen Girl Squad". Not only do I think this is a Hella cool idea, I also think it's Sooo good!

Who knows, with the economy the way it is, the national budget (or national debt - take your pick) may grow to that size. In that case it will be a hella of a budget.

Thank you! I'm here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress and try the veal!

Tautology is My Middle Name

Tautology is My Middle Name

Well, it should be.

Years ago I took a class at my old job on how to manage meetings. One lesson they taught was that if you didn't fully understand a point made by someone in the meeting, you restated that person's point in your own words. This reduced ambiguity, improved communication, etc. I took that lesson to heart and use it every chance I get. People have noticed and occasionally complain*. Oh well. It's what I am. Call me Captain Tautology.

* Sometimes I restate their complaint in my own terms. Do I do this to better understand their complaint or am I just jerking their chain? Honestly? I dunno. I'm thinking it's a little of both.

Mistaken Identity

I was at Costco today. Getting laundry stuff (bleach, dryer sheets, etc.). This lady approaches me, staring at the contents of my cart, and starts criticizing what I put in the cart. "Fabric Softener? We don't need that." I don't say anything but just look at her with a quizzical expression on my face. Finally, after a pregnant pause, she looks at me instead of the contents of my cart and realizes that I'm not her husband. Clearly embarrassed, she apologizes profusely and quickly makes her exit.

I just smile quietly without saying a word.

I guess I should Blog more often

I just go this E-mail from Amazon:


Thank you for the submission of the blog or news feed listed below through the ‘Kindle Publishing for Blogs’ program. During a quality review of your publication, we discovered that it has not updated with new content for more than 60 days.

Ubikuberalles Inarticulate Grunts

Kindle customers expect to receive frequent updates for blogs and news feeds to which they subscribe. For this reason, blogs and news feeds that have not updated in more than 60 days are removed from the Kindle Store. Accordingly, if you do not publish new updates within 7 days, we will remove your publication from the Kindle Store.

Thank you,
The Kindle Publishing Team.

Um. I guess that's my wake up call to post here more often. I've been meaning to. Just busy living life and stuff. I wrote down topics to post and yet I haven't done it yet.

Consider this my 2010 New Years' resolution: Post more often on my Live Journal blog.

And, yes. You can download my blog to your Kindle if you want to (God knows why) but it will cost you a nominal fee (like 50 cents).
neon ubik

Ker-plop. OW!

On Saturday, August 15, I sustained my first hiking injury of the season. Actually, it was the first hiking injury I've had in a long time - and the worst.

Here's what happened: I was hiking in the Sandia mountains with my hiking buddies (taking the Cedar Crest trail to the Tree Springs trail - if anyone cares) and was in the last leg of the hike, approaching the end - maybe 15 or 20 minutes from the parking lot. I was walking down the trail when suddenly my right foot hit a rock or tree root. Normally, when my feet trip on something, I just stumble and recover quickly. Not this time. I was caught completely off guard and fell forward, suddenly - apparently the tree root trapped my right foot and I couldn't disentangle it in time to recover. I only had enough time to put my arms forward and grunt "oh crap!". My belly - just below the sternum - and my chest took the brunt of the fall. I stood up right away but I had a very hard time breathing. When the lady in front of me asked what happened, I could barely speak; there wasn't enough strength in my lungs to speak in my normal voice. I sounded like a ninety year old man.

Before long I had to sit down because I was getting dizzy (shock was setting in). The hikers behind me caught up and a couple of the ladies offered first aid. I had a scrapped knee and a couple cuts on the palm of my left hand. Anti-bacterial spray and band-aids were quickly applied. The main problem was my chest. It started hurting pretty bad. Especially when I tried to take deep breaths. We quickly determined that I suffered some bruised ribs since broken ribs would have been an order of magnitude more painful.

I spent maybe a total of 15 minutes sitting down and I was ready to continue the last leg of the hike, which took another 15 minutes or so. I even had lunch with some of my fellow hikers after the hike. I more or less felt fine, just a constant low-end pain in my abdomen.

The following Sunday was spent at home convalescing. It hurt a lot to move around. Getting out of bed sucked as it required my abdomen muscles which rubbed against the bruised area.

This is not the first time I bruised a rib and I doubt it will be the last. Back in the late nineties, I bruised a rib when I was crewing for a hot air balloon. I went to the doctor and he said "you got a bruised rib". Treatment was plenty of Ibuprofin and rest.

The next time I bruised my rib was back in 2006. I even blogged about it in this blog entry. I didn't go to the doctor that time and I saved myself about $10 in a co-pay fee and about an hour in the waiting room.

It took only two weeks to recover last time. I'm hoping it won't take much longer this time around. However, it's been nine days since the incident and I'm still in pain. The good news is that the pain is lower than before and I am able to do more things (like bend more freely with less pain and lift heavier objects). Increased activity helps too but there is a price to pay. Saturday I went hiking. I felt pretty bad early in the morning but during the hike I felt good and felt good the rest of the day. Yesterday I went bike riding and I felt much better. This morning, however, I felt like crap: the pain around the bruise site was much worse. That also might be because I was in bed longer Sunday night, where I slept for 7 or 8 hours. Saturday, I only slept for four or five hours. Less time in bed = less time putting pressure on my ribcage.

This morning, like I said earlier, the pain was worse. Ibuprofin only ameliorates it. I have heard that chronic pain can cause depression in patients. I can attest to that from firsthand knowledge. Sitting at my desk with that constant feeling in my chest does not do my spirits any good. Fortunately, simply getting out of the office to walk around or take a lunch does wonders for me.

If I'm lucky, only one more week of this pain thing to go. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Time for another Caffeine fast

According to Wikipedia, a palpitation is the "abnormal awareness of the beating of the heart". There are lots of causes for this condition including "overexertion, adrenaline, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, amphetamines, and other drugs". It may also be the symptom of some kind of disease - which is scary - or just a panic disorder.

I mention this because on Saturday evening I had some palpitations. I was in bed, trying to sleep and I could feel my heart beating (which is normal for me but usually I ignore it). My heart would skip a beat once in a while and I would start getting panicky about it. So much so I had a hard time getting any sleep that night. The next morning, I checked my heart rate and it was skipping on every beat!!! Oh, wait, that just means I had a slower heart rate. /embarrassed. Obviously I'm somewhat over anxious about this.

The thing is I had no chest pains or other symptoms that would indicate a heart problem so I'm sure it's more of a mental thing (in fact I rode my bike 52 miles the next morning and felt fine throughout the exercise). I've had mild anxiety attacks before (typically only enough to deprive me from a sound sleep) and usually it's not always about my heart rate but other things that normally don't bother me (noises in the house, ex-girlfriends, bills, etc.).

In fact I remember once, when I was a kid, listening to my heart beat and then suddenly it skipped a beat. The heart skipped just that one time - it wasn't a repeating irregularity - but that didn't stop me from running out of my bedroom to tell my parents. "Mom! Dad!" I gasped. "My heart skipped a beat! I think something is wrong with me." Both of my parents looked at me, looked at each other and then said, in unison, "Go to bed!". I skulked back to bed, thinking sullenly the whole time "If I die in bed tonight, they're going to be sorry."

My conclusion is that I'm taking in too much caffeine. Daily, I've been drinking at least one cup of coffee in the morning and then I drink one or two soft drinks in the afternoon. Although the coffee intake has been normal (for the past four years, anyway), the soda intake is a significant change from a month or two ago when I was drinking no more than one or two cans of soda a week.

For now I'm going cold turkey on the caffeine. No soda or coffee for at least a week. I may resume to drinking coffee in a week but I'm going to stay away from the soda for at least another month or so. I may also switch to decaff coffee next time I'm in the store. Decaff coffee still has caffeine in it but only 10% the caffeine that regular coffee has.

That should help reduce the anxiety and palpitations, I would hope.

Mobile Meth Manufacturers

Clip from the local news: "Police said mobile meth labs are becoming a growing problem around the Duke City."

Damn you Breaking Bad and Walter H. White!

This does bring up a question: Did the writers of Breaking Bad know about mobile meth labs when they wrote the show or was this an idea they came up with themselves? Either way, did Breaking Bad inspire any meth manufacturers to go mobile?

Meth is indeed a big problem in this town. I've driven by a number of Meth sites seized by the police - area closed off, big white vans, techs in decontamination suits, etc. - even a mobile one (small truck camper). Even a video game store I visited a couple times turned out to be a meth lab.