Yes, I know there's a ton of things I could be writing about. For example, many of the new Formula 1 cars have been rolled out for realsies, they've all got a new doohicky that we can hate yet will get used to by midseason, and on and on... just like every new season! There's a bunch of anime that I need to catch back up on... After The Rain, Violet Evergarden, Citrus... I even have a couple of features that I want to write!
And I just can't. I'm trying, I really am, but I get out of work, and instead of doing things that need doing, I just come home and sleep. Or I eat, then I sleep. Or I get home, fire up the computer, and I just watch thought-provoking yootoob videos for a while, then I sleep. I know this is disappointing... believe me, I know... yet I'll have to ask you to bear with me while I get over this... this... whatever it is.
Surprisingly enough, my fever going away does NOT mean that I'm tip-top 100% yet!
I went back to work on Monday, and once I completed the eight hours I came home and went right to sleep. I am about to do the same right now... just wanted to let y'all know I'm still alive, still coughing.
Manliness Level: Over 9000
There comes a time for everybody who is honest with themselves where they must admit that they are not, and never will be, the absolute best at something. There is always someone better. Case in point: Ranveer Singh.
Not even in my wildest dreams could I hope to match the level of manliness shown in this song, Malhari, from the 2015 movie Bajirao Mastani. Just watching it made my beard grow four inches. My mustache, no feeble thing in its own right, began to sob. And all I could do is think that, yes, this could be shoehorned into West Side Story fairly easily. I mean... damn.
Alien Rammed Ovipositor Down My Throat?
No. Not big enough for that. I did just launch something about three inches long and about twice as wide as a pencil out of my mouth. It took close to 15 minutes of coughing to get it out of my lungs, and I was surprised to see it was roughly the color of vanilla pudding. I mean, I like vanilla pudding and all, but at no time have I given commands to my body saying "generate vanilla pudding".
Right, sorry, sorry. Ah. Now I want vanilla pudding. I could even justify it by saying it'll sooth my sore throat. Sadly, I've already had groceries delivered today... I was nearly out of food and, more importantly, liquids. And cough drops. And, much to my chagrin, honey. $100 later, I am no longer out of food, liquids, cough drops and honey. Only now, some eight hours after the delivery arrived, I realize I need some other things. And I'm definitely still sick enough to not want to do very much. Well, let's look at Amazon, shall we?
Pfeh. The only pudding they carry is the need-to-make packs (too much work) and that pudding cup that doesn't need to be refrigerated (terrifying). Well, while I'm here, I'll just pre-order those manga volumes that come out on Tuesday. And that, dear friends, is about all I'm good for now. I'm pretty sure the fever has flared up again, and I just want to go back to sleep. Which I may just do.
Instructions Unclear, Lung Ejected At Escape Velocity
So while at work on Tuesday I swallowed a piece of crumbly coffee cake before I was quite ready to do so, and it made me cough. Eh, it happens. There was still a tickle in my throat a few minutes later, and a swig of Mountain Dew failed to make it go away. Oh well, whatever. Coff coff coff, no big deal. I was still coughing when I left work, but nothing too bad. Well, there's a cough burning its way through the office, I was like one of five or six people with one.
Once I got home I had something to eat, finished the Kizumonowhatsit post, then took a four-hour nap. Keep that in mind later. When I woke up, I hacked and hacked and coughed and groaned. Whoopsie, I may have a problem here. Oh, and a headache. Once I went back to bed, I discovered something rather unfortunate... I couldn't sleep. There wasn't a single position that allowed me to lie in place without coughing. Somewhere around six in the morning one was found, finally... and then I was kinda cold.
Which, considering Pond Central's furnace was kicking out enough heat to power a Colorado-class battleship, was a problem. Oh, and I was wrapped in two down comforters. By all rights, I should have been drenched with sweat. Instead, I was getting cold shivers down my back. I sorta shook and quivered for an hour or so until my alarm went off, at which point I realized the only real sleep I had gotten... was during that nap earlier. Oh boy. The shower was nice and warm, and the massage feature beat the hell out of my scalp, just what Momzerduck's little boy needed. Or, at least it got me out to the car. I was breathing a little heavy though, and my pulse was higher than normal. Well that's weird.
Got to work, was out of breath again by the time I made it to my desk (to be fair, it's roughly six miles from the parking lot to my desk). Got the computer booting up and began hacking and whooping again. Oh jeez... this'll be a fun day. Slammed down a gatorade (blue, the only type we have in the vending machine) and some tylenol and got crackin'.
Within two hours, I had an obvious fever, the coughs were just wracking my throat to no end, and my head was doing the whole "piledriver" thing. And still I soldiered on. I took an early lunch break which I stretched to 45 minutes.... hey, 15 minutes extra sleep... and went back to my desk, like a good little worker.
There at my desk, I was feeling cold again so I pulled on the fleece jacket I brought in for just that reason. Shivers from my feet to my scalp. This ain't good. I draped my heavy winter jacket over my shoulders, cloak-style. Nothing. You could have set me on fire and I wouldn't have stopped shivering.
After 5h 20m, I gave up. I knocked on the door to the acting boss' office (note: boss is currently in hospital for pneumonia) and said I had to go to the doctor. Her reply was "took you long enough. Let me know what they say." So away I went to the medical clinic near Pond Central. The Nurse Practitioner that saw me was cute as a button and looked like she was about 12. I suspect she was older than that. Anyway, after a few tests ("let me stick this cotton swab up your nose"), she gave me the news.
I don't have pneumonia, and I don't have the flu. What I do have is officially listed as "unspecified respiratory infection." More informally, she said there's a flu-like virus going around the area. If my virus goes the way of the others she's seen, tomorrow should be the end of the worst of it (which I'm currently in now), and it'll ramp down from there. I'm not allowed to return to work until I've been 24 hours without a fever though.
Until then? Fluids, tylenol, rest, and honey. Gonna be a long couple of days.
UPDATE: It's 2am Thursday. I laid down for a couple of hours... very little coughing, but very little sleep. I sat up in bed and... discovered that my cough has changed. Before, it was a sharp barking sound occasionally accompanied from strange gargling sound like I was throwing up as I coughed. I wasn't, by the way. NOW, though... now my cough is a moist walrus sound. There is phlegm involved. This is for the best, I know, but... ugh. Fever is still there, but it's responding well to tylenol... in that the headache that comes with it is reduced. How the f*ck can something as small as a stinkin' virus cause so many damn problems???
Well, That Works Too
I got up this morning, kicked around Pond Central for a bit, then headed out into the Great Parking Lot Of Snow. All was white... except for that gray slushiness you get after a few cars drive around, y'know? Anyway, trudged to my car and examined the situation.
We had received the blessing of about seven or eight inches of snow, which turned out to be the light, fluffy type of snow that is easy to remove... just a sweep of the snow brush and voila! Except, well, there was so much that a swipe only took the top half. Still easy, just took a bit longer. That wasn't the big issue, however. The problem was the ridge of snow left behind the last time a snowplow came through. Taller than the Duckmobile's rear bumper it was. Sighing to myself, I got to work... and by work, I mean I started to trudge through the stack of snow trying to kick it into the parking lot and lower it enough that I could get out. I may still be out there if it wasn't for a miracle. A member of maintenance came walking down the hill from the building north of Pond Central... pushing a snowblower. I immediately began waving my hands over my head and jumping up and down (and by jumping, I mean "carefully raising myself up on my toes by a couple of inches" so I didn't fall down). He looked over at me, and I pointed at the offending pile of snow behind my car, then folded my hands in front of me in supplication... "Please please please come clear this for me please..."
And he did. Two minutes later, my car was freed from its snowy cocoon. And then came the time I had been dreading for two days: starting my car. As you may remember, the Duckmobile was having a conniption on Wednesday night, revving its engine without any input from yours truly's right foot. Thursday I took a taxi into work, and Friday was Snow Day. So this was to be the first time I'd tried it since then. I'd looked online and found so many different reasons for an engine to surge on its own that I had no way of even possibly narrowing it down... everything from a loose gas cap to a total rebuild of the starter, and no, I don't know how that would cause surging either. I crossed my fingers, put key to ignition, and started the car.
And it didn't act in any way out of the ordinary. Oh, the revs did increase on their own, but it was the normal way... when she starts up, she idles low, but it slowly speeds up to about 1000rpm more or less and then stays there. Which is exactly what happened now. Not believing my good luck, I immediately drove to the mechanic. Though busy, they brought her right in and spent a good two hours working on her. Meanwhile, I watched four very good episodes of M.A.S.H., a show I haven't watched in years. But all good things must come to an end, and the guy came in with the bad news.
They couldn't find anything. Oh, they could guess at what might have happened, but that would be all it was, guessing, because there was no evidence that anything untoward had occurred. Thus, the official diagnosis is "could not repeat reported problem." UNofficially, the answer was "it's an old car, stuff like that can happen." If it occurs again, I'm to drive it right to the mechanic immediately, and do NOT turn the engine off. But they don't think I'll have to worry about that. Which means they don't know me at all, because I worry about EVERYTHING. So the car is okay, they didn't charge me at all, and until the next time it snows, all is right with the world.
Oh hey, lookit that. It's snowing. Again. Huh. Go figure.
Aw, No! Dammit, Stop That Right Now.
It snowed Tuesday night. Duckford got about four inches, after we got about four inches Saturday evening to sometime Sunday. And that was after three different days where we got measurable snow the previous week. "Wow, Wonderduck," I hear you say which is quite the accomplishment considering the state of my left ear, "it's snowing in Northern Illinois during the winter. How passing strange!" Yeah, yeah, I know. But that's not entirely why I'm writing now.
See, Duckford has this nasty habit of not plowing the streets near Pond Central until very late in the process. It's almost like they don't understand the correct priorities and plow busy roads first. So the roads this morning were a little bit on the "oh god oh god we're all gonna die" side. No worries, driving in snow is just like driving in dry, only more carefully. Today, I judged that the Duckmobile could handle about 10mph below the usual speed before it turned into a pile of debris on the side of the road. However, the ginormous pick'em'up truck that came racing up behind me disagreed with my assessment and rode my rear bumper for a good mile or so. Fed up, as soon as I reached someplace where I could move over to let him past, I did so... and as the truck accelerated by me, the passenger threw a water bottle at me.
Yeah, like that... except nothing like that at all. Anyway, the mathematics for hitting one moving object from another moving object with another moving object was well beyond the passenger's capabilities, but the tone of the day was set. Work, as they say... was. It started, it ended, in between was work. And the horrible discovery that there is a winter storm watch/warning out for Duckford beginning Thursday at 6pm and going for 24 hours. We're expecting maybe a foot of snow. Whee. I drove home as I usually do, parked the car, reached for the keys, and...
...the engine began to surge, like I was sitting there revving the engine at a stop light looking for a race. Startled, I turned it off. After letting it sit for about a minute, I tried again... started right up, and immediately began surging. A little bit of experimentation revealed that it would surge in Park, Reverse, and Neutral, but not Drive. A bit of interwebbing suggests that this is a relatively minor problem... or it isn't. It might be as simple as removing my gas cap then putting it back on. It might be as difficult as having the fuel pump replaced. And any number of things in-between. All I really need to do is take it to the place that did my brakes back in December, and... oh wait. I have work. AND WE'RE GETTING 10" OF SNOW. I closed my eyes, leaned back in my computer chair, and...
Y'all remember Moonbase Alpha? The co-op game that NASA put together to simulate spaceman life on the Moon? For a while there, there was a hot meme involving the game's text-to-speech program repeatedly saying, and later singing, "John Madden." It's that last bit that concerns us today, for some of the singing that was arranged was actually fairly good... I mean, as good as you could expect a Stephen Hawking soundalike to sound. I've played around with text-to-speech in one game or another, and making it sound like... well, speech... isn't all that easy, so even those simple bits impress me.
It was a Saturday morning. I remember that very clearly. I slept in until 10am, dragged myself into Pond Central's kitchen, grabbed a can of caffeine, and made my way to the computer desk. Connected to AoL via dialup. And there, on the front page, was news that made this Shuttle geek's blood run cold. Columbia had broken up upon re-entry, taking the crew of seven souls with her. I remember calling Momzerduck and telling her what had happened and her being... not so very interested, which annoyed me. CNN was on all day, and I couldn't believe it had happened again. Unsurprisingly, information as to what exactly had happened was sketchy, but there was video a-plenty. Enough, in fact, that a fan of space flight and talented video editor gathered it all together and put together the best "video timeline" of the event I've seen... ever.
I remember downloading this from... kazaa, maybe?... and wondering why the networks never did something like it. To this day, it astonishes me... both the video itself and that it was never duplicated.