When did I become Wonderduck?

Yesh, I wasn’t expecting my next badly-overdue post to be about this sort of thing, but apparently my run of bad health was due to be interrupted by a run of really bad health.

So I spent most of November, December, and the first part of January trying to figure out a chronic shortness of breath that was utterly unrelated to my perfect EKG, clear lungs, reasonably clear sinuses (it is Houston, you know). I got over that and was barely back to work a full week, when things went south, while I was up north. So I was in Dallas, hanging with some old, old friends from the college days, and doing some GURPS Space roleplaying. It was the 10th of February, a date that will live in no more infamy than any other, when I noticed I was urinating unusually often, and was feeling some pain in the left kidney. Just enough to get my attention, and I started seeing traces of blood.

Now understand, none of this was terribly unprecedented. If I’ve had one bit of luck after ten years of stones, it’s that I’ve easily passed gravel with only minor problems.. until 4am Sunday morning, when the bill came due. I started peeing nothing but blood, and lots of it. This went on until 8am, when it finally clotted enough to let me get some sleep. First thought was “ER”. Second was that ERs are full of sick people with nothing more than the flu and a (bad) excuse to give it to everyone else.

Third thought was that an ice storm was on the way, and an ER visit would result in being iced in. The extra delay due to the sleep almost did the job. (Residents of Duckfort and Brickmuppetville may laugh now.)

Ice, Ice, Baby

So we decided to head back to houston and hit the doctor’s office first thing Monday AM (12th). He went “Hm. Urologist, now.” an emergency appointment later, the urologist said “Hm. CAT scan, now.” Only i wasn’t reminded “no water at all” and chugged a few glasses to rehydrate. And the insurance was being snippy. So that Tues.AM i get the scan, which means I have to wait until Wed. for results. Two hung stones, one causing issues (total blockage) with the left kidney, including infection. Meantime, the blood tests come back to my first doc, late on Wed. White blood cell count 17,400, E.coli “over 100,000” My PCP is really weaselly.. “Most people would be in the ER.”

Since I had the surgery planned for Friday (16th), and being as I was not thinking clearly, it was another half-hour before the fact that I was losing control of my right side made me decide to put up with a hospital ER. We went to the one the surgery was going to be at instead of the closest, which was a great decision. They don’t seem to have the crowding problems. Still took 30 min to get in, at which point they looked at my vitals, the information I passed on from my doctor, and then shit started happening fast. Short version is I was going into septic shock, which was why i was losing control. New CAT scan, check. X-ray, check. The infection was so out of control, it was producing gas in the kidney. Nephrostomy tube to drain kidney, check. three liters of saline, check. Massive antibiotics, check, Port for drawing blood and putting in more antibiotics, check.

Somewhere during this, my brother asked, “Are you going to keep him overnight?” Heh. Bad thing about mass saline IV; raising the liquid level in the blood that fast causes fluid to start crossing the plenum wall — in the process of keeping me from heart failure due to dehydration, they gave me pneumonia. So, several days in ICU to get the infection(s) under control and kidney drained, Surgery was this Tuesday (20th), and home yesterday.

This was NOT my idea of fun, but it looks like I should recover well enough. Next tuesday (27th), I go back for a checkup and to have the temporary stent removed. Hopefully soon, I won’t need the handy emergency urinal….

Emergency pants are always a good idea. Emergency urinals are just tacky.

Posted in Bitching, Life, etc., The Real World | Tagged | 2 Comments

Wuxia, Xianxia, and Other Stories

So rather than anime, lately I’ve been spending a lot of my leisure time reading Chinese web novels, Korean, and very occasionally, Japanese light novels. For some strange reason that I’m nonetheless grateful for, there’s an entire cottage industry around people taking donations to translate these posts from the Chinese (or Korean/Japanese) into more-or-less English. Of course, if they’re not Chinese, they’re not Wuxia or Xianxia, two terms which I’d never heard of before I started reading them. Full definitions and a lot more can be found on WuxiaWorld, but the short version is that Wuxia is “low fantasy:” it literally means “Martial Heroes”. Fictional stories about regular humans who can achieve supernatural fighting ability through Chinese martial arts training and internal energy cultivation. Xianxia is “high fantasy:” it literally means “Immortal Heroes”. Fictional stories featuring magic, demons, ghosts, immortals, and a great deal of Chinese folklore/mythology. Xuanhuan is more fairy-tale (though darker); it literally means “Mysterious Fantasy”. A broad genre of fictional stories which remixes Chinese folklore/mythology with foreign elements & settings.

Having ignored the website (except for hurricane blogging) for months now, I’m finally going to write a few reviews of the stories I’ve been reading. Bear in mind that the Chinese stories are extremely formulaic. Some are little more than collections of tropes peculiar to the form. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the hero will be:

  1. Male (well, there are romance and other stories, but we’re talking about the heroic stuff here)x
  2. Considered trash by most of his clan, or the village.
  3. Lucks into fortune that changes his fate.
  4. Part of a world where everyone advances through “cultivation” (meditation, battle, and/or magical alchemy/medicine)
  5. Keeps having incredible coincidences that favor him.
  6. Have a rule-breaking power that makes him able to fight over his level
  7. Be faced by a succession of ever-more powerful opponents
  8. If about to be defeated, always lucks out/survives in some way
  9. Live on planets with a surface area the bigger than the sun
  10. Measured by an exacting system with ranks and names for each level — which will change whenever the author wants it to.
  11. Wanted by all the women (well, that could just be the stories I’ve selected)
  12. Probably reincarnated from our world.

That’s not all. The stories tend to be rather violent, with people fighting to the death at the drop of a hat, even the teenagers (way different from wussy power-of-friendship Japanese heroes!). Some of the worst offending authors must have depopulated their worlds. (Well, actually one did. Several times.) Others merely depopulate the leaders; one just offed about a thousand top experts in the world, but don’t worry, plenty more to be found. Enemies seem to have a limited repertoire: They viciously attack and when tables get turned by the hero, they accuse him of being the aggressor. “Are you seeking death?” “You brat, how dare you!” “I, your father, will teach you not to be so bold!” etc. etc. Logic plays little part, and if the hero actually has to be the evil aggressor, then the author makes sure it’s clear that the targets deserve it. Oh, and the hero’s women are always the hottest babes ever; each one more beautiful than the others. I can’t explain it; I’m rolling my eyes as I read this stuff, and yet read it I do. It’s the textual equivalent of Nartuo, except the quality isn’t as high. And it’s a lot more violent. And sometimes there’s sex.

So, onto specific stories below the fold…
Continue reading

Posted in Random Nonsense | 4 Comments

Hmmm. So maybe I ought to post an article

I mean, it’s only been two three months to the day… I guess I’ll complete the one I started a couple of months ago. Maybe.

Edit: Counting to three is hard. And I’m working on the article.

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Sorry to Worry Everyone

I was busy admiring (or should that be ‘admiraling’?) Bob Marley.

On the Ring map, World of Warships

Posted in Random Nonsense | 5 Comments

Glad I Don’t Live in Beaumont

Courtesy of the Texas Highway Patrol site:

You can't get there from here. No, really.

Posted in Life, etc. | 2 Comments

How to Offend Everybody

I don’t think you’ll see many Texans wearing “We Are Charlie Hebdo” t-shirts in Texas any more.

No more sympathy for these guys. None.

Posted in Life, etc., The Written Word | Leave a comment

And Back to Ships…

I’m sure someone was really ticked off in this battle.

Q: What happens when the enemy goes all in on a pincer move?
A: The one destroyer on the enemy team sneaks in and caps.

Notice the 0 damage?

I did not fire a single shot. It was a total ninja job.

And I got first for it. Ha!

And I mean TOTAL ninja job. I was never even spotted the entire game. I started by hooking across from the NW to the center, dropped smoke in F7 to cover the fleet, and then realized I hadn’t seen anything in the center. I deliberately skirted the edge of the cap zone to give the enemy fleet time to over-commit, then waltzed in, dropped smoke in the center and circled behind it. One BB blind-fired and missed–and kept going the other way(!), while another tried to race back under heavy fire and died.

Nice way to finish my night.

Posted in Gaming | Tagged | 3 Comments