Can I get a hog snout with that?

I hate going to the dentist almost more than anything. Maybe not as much as I hate public speaking, but it's a close second. I haven't had a cavity in probably 20 years, but I still hate it, even if it's only for my 6 month cleanings. I go religiously, however, since I know that the longer you put it off, the worse it will ultimately be.

Unfortunately, my regular dentist decided to retire and he sold his practice to some new guy, who I'm not sure I like. Suddenly, I have all these teeth on some sort of "watch list" - which I assume is like the one Homeland Security has for suspected terrorists, except this one's for radical bicuspids and suicide molars instead. The teeth that have made his list all contain 20-year-old fillings that he thinks need to be replaced because of tiny fractures he can see in the enamel. He wants to replace the existing fillings with that composite stuff, which supposedly holds the tooth together instead of wedging it apart, like the old silver fillings do. It sounds logical but I'm not sure I'm buying it.

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, he looks exactly like this guy, whom I've always hated. Has that guy ever not been a dick in any show he's been in? Seriously. He's a dick. Second of all, these are cracks my old dentist never mentioned, which I find a little suspicious. Even if they really are there, he apparently didn't think they were an issue. So I'm trying to decide if this new guy is practicing progressive dentistry and trying to fix small problems before they become big ones, or if he's practicing progressive bullshit because he has a new building to pay for.

I think he suckered me in though. He already knows I hate that place more than anywhere else on earth, but as much as I hate the thought of him drilling old fillings out, I hate the thought of someday breaking a tooth and being faced with a root canal and a crown even more. The bastard has me cold.

There was a new receptionist too. While she was swiping my credit card, I looked down at the counter and noticed a stack of the new guy's business cards sitting there. Up until that moment, I hadn't known his name. Turns out it's Dr. Moreau. I asked the receptionist if he had his own island and if she thought maybe I could get some quick tail work done next time, but she just looked at me like she was going to call the cops so I let it go.

In other news, I went to a fantastic rock show on Saturday night. We drove down to PA to see the reunion of The Badlees. You might remember them from the late 90's when they were signed to Polydor. They had a video on VH1 and a couple of pretty popular songs. (You can check out the videos on that link to jog your memory.) My buddy Pete is/was the lead singer, and they have a new record out, so they're doing a couple of shows to promote it and have a little fun. You can sample the new tunes here at CDBaby. Check it out if you get the chance. (There's a kick ass tune on it called Anodyne that I can't get out of my head.)

As for the show, all the guys were in top form, and the new songs sounded fantastic live. It's been five years since they shared a stage, but it was like they never stopped playing together. Jeff, their old rhythm guitarist, apparently found Jesus and doesn't play the devil music that much anymore -- so Aaron Fink from Breaking Benjamin was playing guitar with them in his place. We saw a lot of old friends and had a great time.

The funniest thing was the Pottsville PA crowd. Holy crap. I don't think any of them have changed in the last twelve years. The same hair, the same clothes, the same Yuenglings. It's like the land that time forgot down there.

It was a blast from the past, that's for sure. I haven't stumbled into a hotel room at four in the morning in a longggggg time. I had almost forgotten what that was like.

I kinda miss it.


Hanna-Barbera got it wrong. Who knew?

It's been an interesting week. I was working from home last Friday and while I was in my office, I heard a crashing noise. I was on the phone and figured one of the cats had knocked something over, so I didn't think much about it.

About a half hour later, Jesse, our Siamese, limped in to the office and sat there on his back legs like a woodchuck. I picked him up and flipped him over and instantly knew what happened. He had jumped up on the top of the blazing wood stove, apparently not knowing that hot=pain.

All the tough outer skin on his paw pads was blistered off and hanging, and underneath was swollen, red, raw skin. Just looking at it made my feet hurt. So I immediately called my boss, logged off and drove him to the vet. She had to clip the blistered skin off of 3 of his feet, apply ointment and bandages, and give him an antibiotic. All to the tune of $250 bucks or thereabouts.

That's not the bad part. The bad part is that we have to change the bandages twice a day for about three weeks, give him antibiotics and keep him secluded from the other two cats because he isn't supposed to scratch around in their litter. Instead, he gets to use this horrible shit made from compressed newspapers that looks exactly like rabbit food pellets (except they're grey) and is about as absorbent as it sounds, which is to say I might as well fill the litterbox with m&m's.

He's been amazingly tolerant of the whole twice-a-day procedure, and his paws are healing up nicely. The pain medication makes him think he's invincible, and he beats the hell out of his feet -presumably, because they don't hurt. The drug also turns him into a crazy wild beast who won't sleep and is determined to chew his own legs off, so we've stopped giving it to him.

The problem we have now is that his paws dry out and crack and start to bleed, so we've been pretty religious about changing out the bandages. We feel horrible that this happened, and it's partially my fault for leaving the kettle off the top of the stove -- but still, he has to take at least part of the blame. The other cats never did that shit, and he's supposed to be the smart one.

I know you're all thinking, "Who cares? We don't want to hear about your cat. Entertain us! That's what we pay you for!"

With that in mind, there is one funny thing that came out of all this. Every time we change his bandages, he does this for the first five minutes:

And I laugh my ass off. Every single time. I'm mean.


Watch this space.

Two things that made me laugh out loud in the last few days -- first, this incredibly well-targeted e-mail that I received because of my "ahead of the curve" blog. (click for larger image):

I only have a few comments about this:

1. Their users are clearly effed in the head.

2. The reviewing editors need to cut down on the weed when they are doing their reviews.

3. I am totally getting a Top Science Blogs banner for this place.

Secondly, today I bought a practice test from a place called Cert FX to study for a Blackberry server exam I have to take before the end of the year. This was an actual question, which I did not change in any way:

I think they are outsourcing their dev to Gungan City.

Sorry. Geek joke.


Doctor my eyes.

Are all eye-doctors a little crazy? Is there something about spending most of your work day in a dark little room with your face three inches from someone you just met 30 seconds ago that eventually makes you turn into some sort of white-coated psychopath who wants to collect skin suits? Or is that creepiness factor the main reason you became an eye doctor to begin with? I'm just curious because it seems like every time I get my eyes checked at a Lenscraft or a Dinapoli because I can't get into see my regular eye doctor, I end up with one of these fruit loops.

The dude who ended up doing my exam looked like a 60-year-old version of John Denver, including the "rocky mountain high" part. He kept making stupid jokes and then chuckling at them, which really didn't do much for my confidence in his professional abilities.

At one point he said, "Wouldn't you like to see better, Johnny? Wouldn'tcha? I'll bet you would. I can do that for you!" Then he laughed like a mad god. Or like Willy Wonka. Actually, maybe that's the same thing.

A little while later, as I was sitting comfortably with my left ankle resting on my right knee, looking through the machine at some light he was blinding me with, he leaned in whispered, "Put your legs to either side and let me slide in there." I felt so dirty, but I did what he asked. After all, he was paying for it. No wait, that's not right. I was paying for it. Dammit.

Anyway, all I wanted was for him to get on with the exam because I was on my lunch hour and quickly running out of time. Also, his breath smelled like he had pastrami and coffee for lunch, and I was sick of breathing that shit in. Since his face was so close to mine, it was still warm when I smelled it. After the first couple of times he exhaled directly into my nasal cavity I started holding my breath. I'm sure the stars I was seeing from the oxygen deprivation helped the accuracy of my test results.

The entire procedure was a comedy of errors, but I walked out of there with a piece of paper that I could barely read that had something approximating my presciption written on it. There are few things about this piece of paper that I immediately realized:

1. I'm old. I need both reading glasses and driving glasses. In other words, bi-focals. I'm just going to find an old pilled-up grey cardigan and start wearing it to work with my polyester slacks. I'm thinking I'll get one of those fake gold chains to hold my spectacles, too. Maybe a fedora.

2. The results are based on crap. He was constantly asking me questions like, "Which is better? A.....(flick) or B?" and they were both exactly the fuck the same. "Uh...they look exactly the same," I say. So he says, "Which is better? A.............(flick) or B?" like I didn't hear him the first time. After he flips it back and forth three more times, each time asking me the same question (only with longer pauses between the words, like I have suddenly become Norwegian and don't have a firm grasp of the English language), I just pick one randomly, because that's the only thing I can do to get out of that Groundhog Day pastrami loop from hell. I also loved the question "Are the letters clearer or just darker and slightly farther away?" WTF.

3. It's going to cost me an ass-ton of money. I looked around at the frames they had available and the prices on them started at $400 and went up from there. That's before they even have lenses in them. The thing I don't understand about this racket is that the frames don't seem to be any better in quality than the ones on my $20 dollar sun glasses. The reason I was in there to begin with was because I was cleaning my glasses and the weld between the lens and the nose piece broke. That's bullshit, right there, considering those were $200 frames and my $20 sunglasses are still going strong. Also, if you don't want the old lady bi-focals, you have to spring for these progressive lenses which run about $700 bucks without the frames. I still haven't gone back to pick out glasses yet, due to the sticker shock and the pastrami. I mean, holy hell. That's halfway to laser eye surgery. Maybe I'll just squint for another 6 months and save up some more money for that.

I'm thinking of trying one of those internet places where you can pick out frames, input your prescription and your pupil to pupil measurements, and they make the glasses and send them to you -- all for about $60. I'll probably end up looking like this:

It worked for my replacement hot tub cover is all I'm saying.

[update: Just as an experiment, I ordered a couple of pairs from Zenni. One pair of progressives and one pair of single script sunglasses. Total cost: $80.75. I'll keep you posted.] *update* - I cancelledthe Zenni order because they were on a slow boat from china and ordered from 39dollareyeglasses.com instead. They weren't 39 dollars, but I did get brand name progressives for about a hundred bucks.