Thursday, February 17, 2005

A Hardware Man is Good to Find

It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I got my artificial hip. Today I went for a one-year-out follow-up with Dr. Hikes. The techs took some new x-rays and the Doc and I looked at the results. The prognosis: excellent. Everything is healing as it should, with plenty of solid bone growth and no nasty looking anomalies.

Here's the most fun x-ray, which shows not only the two screws Dr. Hikes used to secure my artificial socket into the tattered remains of my pelvis (the screws pointing upward in this photo), but also the big honkin' screw that's perpendicular to the joint which Dr. Sorkin (the trauma surgeon in Rockford, IL who put old Humpty together again) used to kinda gather all the pieces together. It's strange that I don't really think of all this hardware as alien artifacts or violations of my person. I think of it as really cool engineering. I guess that's because it's been such an improvement over the pre-surgery mangled hip.

In fact, I've healed so well that Dr. Hikes said it would be fine for me to attempt to ride the monster distances I used to ride before the calamity (with reasonable training first, of course). I wasn't sure if 50-70 mile rides through the mountain ranges of Oregon would be a good idea as far as wear on the hip was concerned. But in fact bicycling is one of the best things I can do. It's not weight bearing, doesn't subject the joint to the shock and pounding of an activity such as jogging, and it helps keep all the muscles and connecting tissue loose and flexible. Dr Hikes even said that my hip would likely withstand a spill without major damage. "Just don't get hit by another car," he said.

Aye, there's the rub. Do I confine my riding to bike paths, or do I get back out on the open road where it's most enjoyable, and most dangerous, to ride. Lisa would just as soon I stay in the "kiddie pool" and I can't say I blame her. But one of the reasons we moved out here from Chicago was to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and there's no better way to appreciate it than from a bike seat. I've been meaning to ride from Portland to the coast for FOUR YEARS now and for various reasons still haven't done it.

I also used to hike in the mountains but assured Lisa that actual mountain-climbing was not for me, mostly because of the risk of avalanches and crevasses. Said I, "I don't want to engage in an activity where you can do everything right and still get killed." That phrase sticks in my mind about cycling as only takes one motorist yapping on a cell phone/reaching for a CD/putting on make-up/punching in a radio station to ruin your whole day. Look around you sometime and take note of the percentage of inattentive/distracted/angry motorists there are! Of course, everyone out there is rolling the dice on survival. It's just that it'd be really bad if I came up "snake eyes" again. If only I got the same thrill from knitting.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Success! (mostly)

Ha! Now I should be able to update this blog from Germany using just my handheld PDA! And all I'll need is a WiFi connection and the small ftp program loaded on "Sammy" that enables me to upload photos to the frinkenstein server. The secret was to turn off the "wysiwyg" editing option on Blogger. Doing so allows me to type posts in straight HTML, and thus I can enter the URL for my uploaded photos. With "wysiwyg" turned on, my Pocket PC version of Internet Explorer was unable to "see" the buttons that allow bloggers to switch back and forth between "compose" mode and "html" mode.

There are a few drawbacks: With the "wysiwyg" editor turned off, I can't adjust the size of the photos while typing the post (note giant Buddy photo below.) So I'll have to pay close attention to size of the photos before I upload them. There may be a way to resize photos on the handheld, but if so I haven't discovered it. Also, when I tried to post a follow-up last night using Sammy, for some reason I could only type a paragraph or so, and then the Pocket Internet Explorer browser cleared and I lost my post. It's unclear at this point if that's a Blogger problem, a browser problem or pilot error. (I'm typing this post on my laptop). So a little more experimentation is necessary. But so far, so good! And it's very cool to think that I can update my blog with just "Sammy," and, for convenience, my little flexible keyboard. I shall look quite geeky sitting in a coffee shop with my dinky handheld and keyboard -- but the entire rig will weight about a pound and fit into a coat pocket!

Okay, I promise that future posts will be less geeky and more interesting!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Handheld blog from bed!

Okay! I'm lying in bed tapping on my handheld, which I've named "Sammy" on account of it's a Samsung i-700. I believe I've figured out how to update this blog -- including photos -- usung just Sammy and a WiFi connection. The big test is if I can make a photo of Buddy appear. Here goes:

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Further experimentation is necessary

Well, that didn't work out 100% well. I can do text posts from the handheld, but unlike working on the laptop (which I'm doing now) the handheld screen doesn't include an "edit HTML" link so right now I'm not sure how to provide a path to any photos that I upload. Also, I had to publish the previous post from my laptop, because once I saved it as a draft, I was unable to access it again on the handheld.

Oh well. That's why I'm fooling around with stuff two months before we take our trip to Germany. It will probably take me that long to figure out how to update my blog from there!

Anyway, here are some nice photos that I was trying to link to from the handheld. The first is evidence that the late winter months are "rainbow months" here in Portland. They are also the "hail months" but we haven't seen much of that yet.

The second is the modest crowd at Costello's during the Super Bowl, which consisted (it appeared) of regulars who were reading and dinking around on the 'net using laptops. I felt a bit conspicuous in my Bears jersey. But watching the game a Costello's was like going to a nice non-smoking friend's house who had really great beer (Fuller's ESB on tap) and great food (lovely grilled panini sandwiches.)

Handheld Super Post!


I'm composing this post on my handheld Pocket PC, equipped with rollup keyboard and itty bitty WiFi card.

Actually, I was hoping to post from Costello's Travel Cafe during the Super Bowl half time show using their free WiFi, but their signal was unreliable. So instead I'm posting from my kitchen table at home.

This is a trial run to see if I can update my blog from my handheld. If so, I can update from Germany this spring when Lisa and I go and I can do so without taking my laptop. Pretty cool if it works. The only question is if I can include photos...the handheld doesn't seem to indicate an HTML window in the browser, which is what I use to include photos on this blog. So here's a test. Let's see if I can make a photo that I uploaded to my site earlier appear here: