darthfar: (Default)
My mother's orthopaedic surgeon wins the award for the Fastest Admission/Surgery/Discharge EVER. When we brought her to his office at ten yesterday morning, he took one look at the x-rays and declared without hesitation, "This needs surgery." (Because the tip of the tibia - which, together with the fibula, forms a socket joint with the foot - had fractured, and shifted inwards). So she had another x-ray done, and was checked into her room by noon, was in the operating theatre by half past one, and back in her room by four. (Because they'd only given her a caudal anaesthetic, she was fully conscious during the procedure, although I believe she got tired of listening to the drills and fell asleep for about an hour, and woke up just before they finished). Visitors started coming in at three in the afternoon; the last batch didn't leave until a quarter to eleven! LOL.

[My mother's roommate - they didn't have any single suites left - was an elderly Chinese woman who'd suffered a mild stroke but was already up and about as if nothing had happened; her visitor for the better part of yesterday and today was another elderly Chinese Energizer-bunny woman (it keeps going! and going! and going!) who seemed to have mastered the art of circular breathing while talking, and whose opinions could be heard from... the carpark, probably.]

Spent the night with my mother, just in case she needed help fetching things etc. My nasal passages decided that they'd had just about enough of working, and, declaring holiday, shut down my entire nose, with a giant stockpile of mucus locked inside.

My mother got x-rayed again after lunch, was pronounced fine by the surgeon, and discharged soon after. My mucus wasn't.


Anyway, she's back home now, and has been banished to the ground floor. Aside from mobility issues, she's in pretty good spirits, so her recovery should be pretty smooth. I foresee six weeks of drama and excitement, as she gets a severe case of itchy foot from not being able to step inside her kitchen...
darthfar: (Default)
So I said I'd be back on the 30th of December. Yet here I am, typing away at my computer like there's no tomorrow. What gives?

Well, it's "gave", actually. And it was my mother's ankle.

Here is a brief recap of our vacation:


Flight to Macau was delayed for over an hour - which was of little surprise, considering the budget airlines our tour group was taking - but no matter, because (1) I was armed with a thick Michael Shermer book, and (2) the tour operator had gotten somebody at the office to fill in all our immigration cards for us. Unfortunately, said person was probably educated in Martian, because said person managed to mess up half the passport numbers (I swear, the guy must have been channelling the numbers for Alpha Prime Green Guy because none of us knew where the hell they came from), made up bizarre occupations for half of us (clerk??? what the...), and produced two different signatures for each of us on two different sets of documents - which wouldn't have passed inspection anywhere else but Macau.

Thanks to the delay, though, we arrived at our hotel at ten pm, which I suppose is the perfect time for people to crawl from out of the cold into the many, many casinos on the island to worship the One Arm Bandit God of gambling, but my dad and I were exhausted (and personally, I think it's more fun to set fire to a wad of money, anyway), so we decided to stay in. My mother, on the other hand, wasn't about to waste the night cooped up in her hotel room, and went out with a bunch of friends and the tour operator.

Two hours later, she returned to the hotel - limping. Witness accounts are hazy, but it would seem that, while descending a very short flight of steps, my mother managed to subluxate her left ankle. As in, it totally popped out of place when she applied weight to it (whether or not she accidentally twisted it while placing her foot down is anybody's guess), but then boinged right back in place on its own a moment later. Mum was annoyed, but figured hell, she just wouldn't be getting as much sightseeing done on a sprained ankle.

[Yes, my mother's friend's husband went out and gambled and won $16,000. My mother went out and won a leg injury...]


Made an amazing discovery at breakfast time: cafe chairs in Macau can walk. One of our chairs mysteriously walked away from our table to a nearby one occupied by a group one can only charitably describe as "vocal yokels"; a second one tried to walk away, but was impeded by my foot, which was tightly wrapped around it, and so was apprehended in time.

Our breakfasts were very nicely homogenised in our stomachs by the hydrofoil ride into Hong Kong. ("Monty Python" and "bouncy bouncy" spring to mind). Upon our arrival at the Hong Kong immigration, we quickly discovered that queues - and, indeed, order in general - was pure fiction, only believed by people whose IQ scores are surpassed by oysters. In other words, it was total chaos in there. Here, we found, were people who had not only never heard of Miss Manners, they'd have trampled her to human grits if they'd met her. Harhar.

The day's tour covered the Golden Bauhinia Square, named for the 6-metre-tall gilded sculpture of a Bauhinia blakeana (apparently an important symbol for the Hong Kong people after reuinification with China), Repulse Bay (where old men in "tea bags" are said to terrorise the sands), Aberdeen Harbour and Ladies' Street. (No, it's not what you think. Seriously).

The Tsing Ma Bridge, the seventh-longest suspension bridge in the world.

Gilding a Bauhinia...

Watching two children watch an artist at work at Repulse Bay.

We went on a sampan ride around Aberdeen Harbour. On one end you see luxury cruisers and the gigantic Jumbo Floating Restaurant (whose past diners include Queen Elizabeth II, John Wayne, Tom Cruise, Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li); go around the river bend, however, and you see a very different side of Hong Kong: the "village" of fishing boats huddled together, inhabited by people who spend nine months of every year at sea, whose wives are illegal immigrants, and whose children are unregistered, and spend only three months a year at school. It was an eye-opener: Hong Kong isn't just a city  of rich people.



See more photos of the village

Ladies' Street. The market here is clothing (and electronics, and food), not humans.

My mother's ankle was rather badly swollen at this point, and so she decided to remain in her hotel room at dinner time, leaving me to gallivant on my own. Found a toy store selling action figures and collectibles at ridiculously low prices, and did myself proud by managing to carry out an entire conversation with the shop assistant (who was dressed as Sailor Moon) on the subject of Star Wars - in Mandarin. (Or should I say Mangledarin?)


My mother's left leg had become worryingly swollen and bruised, and so it was decided: (1) the tour operator and my father would take her to see the doctor, and (2) we would all go home on the next available flight. Thank the Force for travel insurance.

Because it was also determined that I would be of more hindrance than help, I was promptly dispatched to continue the day's tour with the rest of the group. Everybody else of my age in the group was paired up and I didn't want to be a third wheel (or worse, a lamp post!), so I wound up with two of my mother's friends, both of them senior citizens. Of course, age is never an indication of compatibility, and the minute I discovered one of them was a video games nut, we just totally hit it off.

Arrived at Disneyland at lunchtime (made two stops at two Sponsor Shops first) - and, because a number of people in our group were massively smart enough to bring food to the park only to be stopped right outside, there was a fifteen minute picnic just outside the gates. We wandered around Main Street for a bit, watched the Christmas parade, and then I made a beeline for Space Mountain - which my two elderly companions, in spite of their enthusiasm, were unable to ride due to medical conditions. (So while I was zooming through the darkness of space, the two old ladies went and had themselves a grand train tour of Disneyland). Because wild rides were out for them, we went to It's A Small World and two shows (Mickey's Philharmagic - a grand 3-D experience, complete with gusts of wind, splashes of water, and the welcoming smell of pie - and The Golden Mickeys)... before one of the women spotted the Jungle River Cruise and exclaimed, "Hey, let's go on THAT!" ... only to spend the better part of an hour in the queue, due to technical faults. We did eventually get our ride.

Bambi, Thumper and Flower.

The Little Mermaid float at the Christmas parade.

Space Mountain boarding area.



See more Disneyland photos

Returned to the hotel with Disney merchandise and a grandly pounding head to find my mother in bed, a walker jammed in the corridor of the room, and a doctor's report that said she had not one but three fractures - which meant absolutely no weight on that foot, or it's surgery for you! The tour operator was looking decidedly ragged around the edges from running around making travel arrangements and insurance claims for us (he managed to book us a flight out of HK on the 26th - and messed with the accounting a little so that my ticket would be covered by my mother's travel insurance), so we took him out to dinner by way of thanks.

Memorised William Ernest Henley's poem, Invictus, because I had nothing better to do.


Our tour group left for Shenzhen in the morning after breakfast, leaving my family to spend Christmas in Hong Kong. Because my mother was immobilised and my father was in no particular mood to go out, I went out to explore the neighbourhood alone, armed with my reasonable(y atrocious) Mandarin and a smattering of perfect(ly hideous) Cantonese. Walked several blocks north of the hotel, across the highway, to get the folks lunch, then walked a fair way south, where I stumbled upon just about the most amazing thing: a Park. In the middle of the 7-million-people insanity that is Hong Kong, there was a walled-in Park. With gazebos, and artificial rock formations, and huge trees, and waterfalls. And clusters of old men playing (or watching each other play) chess. It was just amazing.





I stood there, staring at them for a long time, then sneakily took the shot - and ran.

Came back, reporting to my mother that I'd spotted a banner advertising Portuguese egg tarts around the corner. She was absolutely delighted, and dispatched my dad and me to buy a couple of boxes to bring home. So we went after dinner, discussing exactly how many we could fit in our carry-on luggage (and each probably entertaining the idea of eating a couple at suppertime)... only to discover that what I'd mistaken for Portuguese egg tarts were actually... Pacific abalone. EPIC FAIL. >.<


Aside from a number of minor snags we ran into at the airport (delay in locating a wheelchair, in fixing a minor booking problem, and getting hold of our tour operator for the check-in staff to verify his credit card info), the trip home was largely uneventful. My mother warned us that riding a wheelchair might become a habit, given how comfortable it was being waited upon hand and foot - although she had to remind me at one point that she was neither a trolleyful of goods nor a Formula 1 car. The airport service staff did just about everything for us, right up to the door of the airplane, where the flight staff took over and totally indulged my mother. Thank the Force for business class.


The rest of the family wasn't notified of our premature return until this morning. My mother's plan was to sort of keep the whole thing a secret for a while... only we know all too well what happens when you try to keep things from your own family. ;) But that's another story for another time.
darthfar: (Default)
Since it's a joke among my friends that I attract minor accidents and injuries like an industrial magnet attracts large machinery, my good friend (and adopted aunt) TankMagnet sent me a Home Depot first aid kit as a joke several months back. It worked like a charm. I miraculously stopped inadvertently exsanguinating myself. (Although I still have a knack for attracting contusions - as I found out for the umpteenth time this afternoon when I was foolish enough to walk around the gym with my glasses off, and hit my head hard on the lat bar that somebody had attached to the cross-cable pull machine. BONK. Apparently, the impact sound was loud enough that heads other than mine turned).

However, it would seem that there is a Law of Conservation of Injury Proneness, as my injury tendencies have passed to my mother, because if there's anyone who has recurrently profited from TM's first aid kit, it would be she. Especially tonight when, in the middle of dinner preparations, her cleaver slipped and cut up the wrong meat. Namely, a sliver of flesh off her middle finger's distal phalanx, near the nail bed. Needless to say, there was major exsanguination (and minor panic on the part of said female relative). Cue first aid kit, antiseptic cream, wads of cotton gauze, surgical tape. My mother wasn't exactly enamoured with my treatment, though: "You didn't tell me that antiseptic was gonna hurt like hell! OW! OW! OW!"  "Oh, just bear with it!" [And she had to go through a second - similar - dressing episode...] The bleeding's all but stopped now, though, so by tomorrow, all that wadding should be replaced with a band-aid.

So saith my twin: "You would have been a FANTASTIC doctor. Just, yeah. House-like. No bedside manner." AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA.
darthfar: (Default)
I've just gotten my electronic paws on this book by a Dr. Johann Wecker, published in 1661, called "Eighteen Books of the Secrets of Art & Nature: Being the Summe and Subftance of Naturall Philofophy, Methodologicall Digefted", and lord, is it a treasure. The tome is a large, rambling work about, well, the secrets of nature and how to manipulate it, and contains some very interesting recipes for the aspiring arsonist (How to make Greek fire! unextinguishable torches! Making rockets!), equally fun things to do to unsuspecting people ("A light to make one Fart"!), and hilarious illusions to perform ("That Men may feem to have the Heads of another Creatures"!), and some actually interesting - if bizarre - garden advice (curing languishing peach trees and producing pipless grapes). But of course you know where my interest lies, so when I saw Books IV (Secrets of the Internal parts of Man, the Paffions, Reafon, and Memory) and V (Secrets of Life and Death; Remedies for all Difeafes in the body of Man, both Internall and Externall; old Age, Eating, Drinking, Venery, Sleep, Exercife, and beautifying the body)... well, to hell with unquenchable fires and making people seem like elephants! (where would I get the dolphin fat, anyway?).

Nestled amongst recommendations on how to make husbands and wives agreeable (carry a Quale heart with you) how to cure a person bitten by a mad dog (feed the patient the liver of said dog without his knowledge) and how to relieve tooth pain (hold it with your thumb and forefinger), were the following gems:

To make a Man bold and confident:
Take the heart of an Ape, and tye it about your neck, letting it hang juft over your heart, and it will increafe Audacity. (Lord Bacon)

Yes, it'll no doubt make you hold your head up high... in an attempt to avoid the stench of said decomposing heart.

To procure love:
All men will love thee, if thou carry with thee a Swallows heart: and a Woman will love him exceedingly, from whom fhe fhall receive the powder of a Pigeons heart in meat or drinke. Moreover if any one put but fome Hares gall under his head, he fhall fleep perpetually, but you fhall raife him well enough, if you give him Vinegar to drink. (Mizaldus Memor)

How to spike drinks to win affection.

An Oyle that kils Men with the ill fent of it:
Take Turpentine two Pound, yellow Brimftone one Pound, Affafetida eight Ounces, Serapinum fix Ounces, Mans dung eighteen Ounces, Mans blood ten ounces; mingle them and put them into a Retort, very well ftopt, and Diftill them at a very vehement fire, until all the fpirits be come forth. (Fioravantus)

I don't know about this guy, but I'd die of inhalation first if I were to make this concoction. (That, or get my teeth knocked out trying to find a willing victim for exsanguination).

To increase the ftrength of the body:
All Creatures that are long lived, are good to lengthen Mans life, and all that are reftorative, ferve to renew our lives, and reftore youth: which Phyficians have often proved, as it is manifeft concerning Vipers and Serpents. And it is known that Stags renew their age by eating Serpents; for the Phaenix is refstored by the neft of Spices he makes to burn in: the Pellican hath the fame virtue, whole right foot, if it be put under hot dung, after three Moneths a Pellican will be bred from it. Wherefore fom Phyficians with fom confections made from a Viper and Hellebore, and of fome of the flefh of thofe Creatures, do promife to reftore youth, and fometimes they do it as Medea did to old Pelias. Alfo it is believed, that a Bears blood fuckt with ones mouth from a frefh wound made, will make a man very ftrong, becaufe that Creature is fo mighty ftrong. (Cornelius Agrippa)

Pay attention, kiddies: Bambi eats snakes.
Also, you know very well why I included this section. ;)

A Cake against the Plague:
Take white Arfenick two ounces, red Arfenick one ounce, make a round Cake as thick as your finger ,with the white of an Egg, or mucilage of Gum dragan, few this up in a linnen rag, and lay it to your heart: you need not put your fhirt between: (for though Arfenick taken inwardly be mortall, it is not by any fecret venome, but onely by corroding, fo that you cannot call it poyfon) for if you apply it outwardly, it is certain that it refifts poyfon. (Jacobus Carpenfis).

This is also a very good way to slowly poison a lover who is far too attached to your mammary glands.

Headach, a remedy by Vomit:
Take twelve grains of Stibium (that's antimony to you ;)), made into very fine pouder, put it into four ounces of Claret wine and fo let it ftand thirty hours, fhake it every fix or feven hours; at the thirty hours end, pour the wine from the pouder fo long as it runneth clear; let the grieved drink it with a little Sugar, or Sirup of Violets: it mightily purgeth fuperfluous humours from the head.

Or: how to cure headaches by making you feel so sick you forget your head even hurt in the first place.

[It's scary that the early Romans used the same antimony for their gourmand practices - the idea being that, if you threw up what you've eaten at a banquet, you could then go back for seconds. And thirds.]

To ftench (staunch?) Blood:
Blood running immoderately out of any part of the body, will be preferently ftopt, if Hogs dung yet hot, be wrapt up in fine thin Cotten linnen and put into the Noftrils, Womens privities, or any other place that runs with blood. I write this for Countrey people rather then for Courtiers , being a remedy fit for their turne (Mizaldus)

And this is how you discourage people from bleeding immoderately in the first place.
I can only imagine the horror of having hogs' dung stuffed up your "privities" on a regular basis.

For the Toothache:
Take the dung of a Hog newly made, and as hot as you can get it, apply it to the place, and it cureth. (Dr. Matthias)

God help you if you tell anyone your tooth hurts.

Sore Brefts:
Take of March Sand a fmall handfull, put the fame into grounds of Ale, put thereto a pretty piece of Butter unfalted, and break it into pieces as big as Beanes, with the yelks of two new laid Egges, ftirre it well together, then thicken it with flower, put as much of this in a frying Pan as will cover the Breft, and when it is well fryed, fpread it on a Cloath, and lay it to the Breft as hot as the grieved may fuffer it; this will draw, break, and heal the Breft without the help of anything. (Dr. Mathias)

Smearing piping hot butter, sand and eggs on your breast makes it less sore. Sure, I believe you.

For a Bruife:
Take an old piece of rufty Iron, be it Horfe-fhoe, or anything elfe, lay it in the fire til it be red hot, then take it out of the fire, and let the Patient make water upon it, and take in the fume thereof at his Nofe and Mouth, ufing this three daies together morning and evening, adn it fhall perfectly cure him. (Dr. Clarke)

What's that? you want me to heat up an old iron, piss on in, and inhale the smell for three days, for this bruise on my knee? I'll wait for it to subside on its own, thanks.

For pains of the Collickm and inward Impoftumes:
Scrape the skull bone of the Patient, or file away fome part of it in that place where the future is in the forepart of the head, in the upper part like a Crofs; of that powder, with broth or water, or wine if there be no Feaver, give the Patient one dram, or half a dram at one time to drink; it will make him vomit and purge exceedingly: wherefor you muft give it before the Patients forces are fpent.

I don't even know what to say.

For a Dyfentery:
Mens bones made into fine powder and drank in fharp red Wine, cure all raging Fluxes of the Belly (Miz)

This no doubt also encourages the growth of the grave robbery trade. Or maybe it just solves the problem of what to do with grandpa.

That a woman may conceive:
If a woman cannot conceive, take Harts horn and pouder it, and mingle it with Cows gall; let the woman hold this over her, let her ufe copulation and fhe fhall conceive prefently. Or give it to the woman that mnows not of it Mare smilk, let her copulate that hour, and fhe fhall conceive prefently. (Albertus)

"Oh hey, Marge, why don't you hold this powdered deer horn and cow gall concoction over your head while we do the horizontal boogie." 17th century foreplay at its best.

To affwage Swelling:
Take of new dung and frefh Butter and fry it in a frying pan, then frpead it upon a cloth like a Poultis, and lay it on as hot as the Patient can fuffer it. (Probatum eft Dr. Johnfon)

I can't help but be amazed by all these recommendations of treating pain by inflicting more pain. Not to mention the singularly creative uses of shit.

For Burning and Scalding:
Take four ounces of the juyce of Onions, common Salt half an ounce, mingle them well together annoint the foar. (Lord Bacon)

And that's what's called rubbing salt into the wound.

A Caustick that will fuddenly eat through the skin:
Sometimes we are defireous to eat through the skin fuddenly, not trufting to fection: I have elfewhere defcribed a moft earlie Medicament, but now a moft effectuall: for it is made of Sope-water, or of a ftrong lee of afhes. It is made thus: pour on twelve pounds of ftrong lee upon quick Lime and Oke afhes, and let them drain through, then poure it again upon new Lime and Afhes, and do this fo often, until that the water will beare an Egg. Then adde to every pound, of Lee one ounce or half, an ounce of Vitrioll, and by degrees boyl it thick in a brafs Pofnet, until you can take it forth and make little Cakes of it: for it is taken forth by degrees with a fpoon, if this be well made, it will penetrate the skin in half a quarter of an houre. (Carden).

It frightens me to even imagine why anyone would be "desirous to eat through the skin suddenly", let alone willingly apply lime-&-sulphuric acid cakes to one's skin.

And my personal favourite:

To ftop bleeding at Nofe:
Take a Spider the biggeft you can get, put him in a fine linnen cloth, bruife him a little, and hold the fame up to the nofe of him that bleedeth, but touch not his nofe therewith, but let him fmell to it and it will work the effect.

To cure a nosebleed, sniff a giant spider. Tory, aren't you glad you don't live in the 17th century?

Oh my.

Who needs modern humour books, when one can find humour in ancient medical tomes?

[Marguerite, if you're reading this - this is a book that Joly must NEVER get his hands on, do you hear? ROFL.]
darthfar: (Default)

After possibly scaring three of my students off pork and sushi forever the other day when I explained the life cycle of tapeworms, I've been mulling anew over mankind's tendency to overreact to microorganisms.

It amuses me when people get into a panic over microbes. Seriously. [The worst was when the world learnt about H1N1, and my community went right into a, "Don't talk to anybody; for heaven's sake, don't even leave your house!" frenzy. (I am not kidding, though I wish I were).] Oh sure, I agree, precautions have to be taken when a highly communicable disease is on the rise, or if there's a chance you might catch something from the lifestyle you lead or the food you eat. But there's a great deal of difference between precaution and paranoia, between making sure you boil your water and cook your pork chops well and put off your travel plans, and oh, say, swearing off meat all together, distilling your water and going about in a gas mask, y'know? [Oh sure, Ty and I were idiots in our second year of college when we swore off beef, but that didn't last long, because we eventually worked out for ourselves that life had to go on. LOL.]

Yet, if it only tickles me that people respond to any information about pathogens with panic, it annoys me when someone claims, "Microbes are bad!" And it enrages me when I see products like antibacterial soap and antibacterial mattresses and antibacterial underwear in the market. Seriously, WTF. You're surrounded by microorganisms, like it or lump it. They're the first to welcome you into the world, and they sure as hell are going to be the last to usher you out of it when you die. So what's all this about trying to get them off your walls and off your hands and your bed and your clothes? you can't fight them off forever. Nor should you1.

People, most microorganisms are good. You use them in industry, to make cheese and bread and alcoholic beverages. You use them in medicine, synthesizing insulin for people who've stopped being able to make them, and antibiotics, which are the golden bullets in the arsenal of medicine (even if antibiotics abuse has threatened to crumble its pedestal). In the lab, where you clone genes into them, or use their enzymes in DNA technology. Hell, they even perform community service, synthesizing vitamins in our gut, digesting oil spills and breaking down our wastes, so that we don't have to drown in seas of The Dead. And even those that don't do good don't generally bother us either. And yet, for all the good they do, people remain fixated with the minority that WANT TO KILL US SO WE HAVE TO DECLARE WAR FIRST OMG2.


I'd wax lyrical about how their so-called "war" against us isn't even personal (unlike most workplace spats), that they're just eking out a living, and that they don't even realise what they're doing, and how humans encroach on their turf and encourage their spread (and resistance), but really, that isn't the point, and besides, even *I*'m not naive enough expect that level of empathy from the common folk. The point is this: respect. There isn't enough of it on the human side of the human-microorganism relationship. I'm not talking about reverence of microorganisms. Reverence of anything is wrong, because it goes beyond the realm of logical thinking. Respect for anything or anyone, even your enemy, is all about recognising them for who they are and what they can do, and how you stand with them. In this case it's simply a case of not carelessly disregarding their potential (be it good or bad; the ones that do bad *can* get really nasty), but not going too far in overestimating their capacity for harm either. Unfortunately, it's pretty much a losing battle there. Medical professionals are trained to deal with them as nothing but adversaries; the general public know next to nothing about them (hell, even science students don't encounter them until the sixth form), until the latest epidemic hits - and then of course, all the bad stuff comes out. And we know the majority of the public never stop to think, or do their own research anyway...

Gotta get them young.

And maybe I should ease off a little on the enthusiasm in sharing the beauty of parasite life cycles. LOL.

Enough blathering!

1The only exception is if you really have reduced immunity, or you're caring for somebody who has.
2Abusing antibiotics and vaccines isn't the answer either.


Mother recently got herself a Nokia 6303. No frills, but it's sufficient for someone whose usage of phones doesn't extend beyond the realm of messaging and voice calls. Only annoying thing: she's not too keen on exploring the phone because she's afraid to break it. That about sums up her relationship with her PC, and why I'm called upon to do tech support several times a night. [No problem, except when I'm up to my neck in a major horde attack (haha), and I can't go on answering the same questions over and over...]

That's the key to mastering any new technology, isn't it? You can't be afraid of it, to begin with. Exploring your device on your own and experimenting will get you much farther than getting someone else to do something for you, or watching over their shoulder as they do it, because you'll not only be finding out what you should do, but what you *shouldn't* do. (A negative answer doesn't mean no answer!). And, as an added bonus, you might also find something you'd never have discovered if you played safe. And if you're afraid of damaging it... Hell, shit happens. Things break. You can deal with it when it happens. That's my motto anyway. ;-)

Oh, and a little thinking will get you places. If you know 6 x 9  = 54, you should also know that 9 x 6 = 543. I'm just sayin'.

3Unless you're operating in Douglas Adams' universe, in which case 9 x 6 = 42. Which is perfectly correct, btw. Just not in base 10 arithmetic.


I've been playing Godfather II, which a mate at the gym was nice enough to give me his copy of. Haven't played enough of it to be able to write a decent review of any sort yet, and it's hard to evaluate the experience objectively rather than succumb to the temptation of comparing it to Godfather I (you can't compare apples and oranges) and other mob-type shooters in general. We shall see.

In the meantime, meet Don Dominic, who probably looks more at home stacking books in the library than slamming people into cash registers, and commanding whole armies of made men:

Yeah, my player characters all tend to wind up slightly geeky. Gosh, I wonder why.


1. Why is it impossible to find Simpson's Forensic Medicine textbook in even the biggest bookshops?
2. For gizkas' sake, I helped my cousin get his copy for USD26 a few years ago. Now I check on Amazon and it's something like USD55 - WTF?
3. Where can I get a copy of the 12th edition for something even resembling a reasonable price? Granted, I've wanted my own copy for years, but I'm not paying through the nose for it either.

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