Monday, June 04, 2012

Hobbit Shoes

So, yeah, a few weeks ago I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes - yep, those trendy shoes-with-toes. Allow me to explain...

The shoes were designed for runners, and particularly for those who want the feel of barefoot running, but the protection of shoes. I'm not a runner. I have arthritis. With medication, I do pretty well (last time I went without medication for a while, I needed a cane to walk). But if I'm stuck in one position for any length of time, joints still freeze up a bit. With other shoes, I was finding that by about 2-3 in the afternoon, I was having to take my shoes off and move everything around to avoid having really, really painful feet.

So when it came time to buy a new pair of shoes, I investigated the toe shoes. One of the big selling points is that the flexible sole, and separate toes, allow your foot to move naturally. Since my problem seemed to be related to lack of movement, this seemed like it was worth a try.

So, the verdict after several weeks of wearing them to work every day: At the end of the day, my feet feel better than they have in years. The pain I was dealing with from my old shoes is essentially gone*. Now, it's possible that part of it may just have been that I needed new shoes, of any kind, but I really do think the design helps. Wearing them does feel very different than other shoes, even brand new ones. Most shoes seem to take the approach of holding your feet rigidly in one position (except maybe allowing the toes to bend together as a unit), filling in arch support and heel cushioning to compensate, all of which, I think, was precisely the source of my problem. These go exactly the opposite way - flexibility, with no arch support or heel cushioning at all - and my feet are happier than they've been in a long time.

I'm posting this mostly because when I went looking for people similarly situated, I only found a couple of blog posts mentioning the Five Fingers shoes in connection with arthritis, and I wanted to inject another endorsement into the internet hive-mind. So, if you're reading this because you have arthritis, and you've Googled to see if these shoes have helped others: In my case, yeah, they definitely have.

*I can't say my feet are now absolutely 100% pain-free, but what pain I do have is much, much reduced, and it's not the same shooting, arthritic agony, but more like the semi-pleasant afterburn you get after a workout.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Insufficiently Pedantic Pedants Complain About T-Shirt

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo”, attributed on this T-Shirt to “Shakespere”. Hilarity ensues, from people making fun of their spelling.

Thing is, that is one of the several ways his name was actually spelled during his lifetime. Spelling wasn’t quite so standardized back then.
“…of "non-literary references" in Shakespeare's lifetime (1564-1616) the spelling "Shakespeare" appears 71 times, while "Shakespere" appears second with 27 usages.

Thus, in their haste to mock this clothing company for a typo, people have passed up an opportunity to show off even more their own obscure literary knowledge, by not being pedantic enough.

Plus, if you really want to be pedantic about this shirt, complain about the fact that every teenage girl who wears one will think that it means “where is (my) Romeo?”

Monday, February 21, 2011

Formal Zombie Poetry

Neil Gaiman recently tweeted that "There is not enough Formal Zombie Poetry." So here's one I wrote about a month ago. Sent it to the letter column in The Walking Dead comics, but I don't know if they've even looked at it:

Outside, Looking In
Not hunger, quite; but want no feast can sate
We who are dead so yearn for what we’ve missed
To taste, to feel, to fill the hollowness with weight
We’re pulled, and by your gravity we’re kissed

I call it love, this ache to join your life
With us, diffusing warmth throughout our chill
We see your eyes, haunted by some grief
And only wish your heartache to be still

And though you shoot us down, yet still we come,
Again, again, we die and resurrect
But never do we sink so fully numb
To fail to feel the pain of your neglect

One day, I will break bread with you, my friend
We cannot lose, we cannot win, in the end


Well, it amused me to write a pretentious, formal Elizabethan sonnet from the point of view of a mindless zombie. And yes, the slightly "off" meter was intentional (it is a lurching zombie, after all).

And, as a bonus, here's a formal alien invader/delusional serial-killer poem:

My Secret
I hide my real skin inside a cask
Of nutrients, recording what I see
for those above. To implement my task,
I've learned to mimic well humanity.

By day I show my mask, and play my role.
At night, alone, I wear the patchwork flesh
And dream of specimens in my control
Probed within a cold containment mesh.

And now you've found the cask, and seen me dressed
In my own skin, as I am, not as I seem.
And though you say you're glad that I've confessed,
Your eyes betray a stifled urge to scream.

This private shame, which was but mine to keep
Has fouled your mind; so, slicing in, I weep.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Actual Quote From Radio

This is an actual quote* from a news teaser on the radio, heard on Tuesday:
Was the operator impaired on a thrill ride where an accident happened this week? We won't know until the police report comes out on Friday.

Well, by all means, let's speculate wildly until then. You could replace the word "impaired" in that report with anything: Was the operator asleep? Was the operator insane? Was the operator a kangaroo? We just don't know!

The other, more subtle, thing that struck me about this announcement was the helplessness of it: "We won’t know until the police report comes out." Because, apparently, they can't do any of their own investigative work, like, say, interviewing people who were there. But once the police report comes out, then we'll know, because police reports are issued by the Pope, and are the infallible Word of God.

*More or less - I'm quoting from memory, and it was a couple of hours before I took any notes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Interesting Game

I recently finished playing a PC game, The Whispered World. It's definitely a throwback, and I mean that as a compliment, being an old-school point-and-click adventure game, done all in hand-drawn cel animation. It's more LucasArts than Sierra - none of the Sierra-style punishing death scenes. The art style reminded me a bit of Discworld II, though the overall feel is closer to a fairy-tale storybook, rather than the humor of those two Rincewind games. Certainly worth playing, if you like those sort of games.

Personally, since adventure games have been one of my favorite genres since Zork, I consider it important to buy any (reasonably well-made) games that come along, in hopes of supporting their development and avoiding another long drought of decent adventure games, like the one that happened after Grim Fandango sales tanked (despite being the closest thing to Literature the medium has ever produced), until finally The Longest Journey came out after a couple of years.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Customer Service Above & Beyond

Because I feel like this sort of thing ought to be noticed & celebrated, here (in probably descending order of interest to anyone other than me) are some companies who have recently gone above and beyond my expectations for customer service:

Over the weekend, Gamers Gate had a game expansion at 50% off, and I submitted a question to make sure it was compatible with the physical-disk version of the full game (the same product at Steam, for example, only works with Steam's download edition). By the time they answered, the sale had ended, but they let me buy it at the sale price anyway, despite the fact that it was arguably my own fault for not submitting the question until Saturday.

A while back I tried to subscribe to Better Software Magazine, but apparently the online order never went through. It took several attempts to contact the subscription department to check on it (I think the subscription coordinator may have been on vacation at one point), and by way of apology, they gave me a free 2-year subscription.

And PhilC kindly emailed me an updated data file pack for his Poser clothing converter, which I had purchased through an old online store that has since switched to a different system, because of which I don't think I had any way to actually prove to him that I had actually purchased the pack (unless he keeps his own records). I was actually prepared to re-purchase direct from him, and had just asked if the updates were significant enough to justify that.

So bravo, guys. For showing an interest in actually making your customers happy, this one thought he owed it to you to highlight that fact publicly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Was the 'Lost' Island Hit By a Comet?

I'm not quite stoned enough to understand it completely, but I feel certain that the secret behind Lost was originally revealed by the Firesign Theatre in 1974. Hey, wait a minute: The release date of that album is the same year Sawyer and the others joined the Dharma Initiative. Coincidence? I think not!

Sending from his own mind to yours, here is Nino Savate with 'A Psychic Minute.'

Can I say, hello? This is Nino the mind-boggler with Occult In Your Head. Today, let's get into holes: The most mysterious, importantest and vaguest subject of them all.

The whole Earth might be called a hole, if you're on the inside, looking out. And whole golden cities might be hid at the bottom of a bottomless pit. Even wholesome humans have holes, though we're hardly whole at all. In fact, we're wholly hole-y. As the Holy Book says in the Book of Holes, Chapter 1: 'And they knew not their holes from an ass on the ground.'

Holes are positively attractive. Let's go inside one and see... This is a typical hole. Not a hole in the wall, but a hole like a well. Well, well, what the Hell? That's the sun at the center of the Earth, and that's where this hole leads to. Heh-heh! What a nice, warm fire.

Next time, I'll think to you about gravity, and its opposite, comedy. Until then, this is Nino saying, can I say, goodbye?