Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"I need every brain cell blazing to outwit my invisible enemies."

This week's shooting at the Navy Yard has once again brought the gun control debate to the forefront of our national dialogue.  (And just in time, too, since John Kerry inadvertently solved the Syria crisis.)  As always, some of the most entertaining dialogue takes place on the ksl.com message boards.

Most of what I've read there is the typical "everyone needs a gun" and "guns make people safer" mumbo jumbo, but one particular comment stands out in the pack.  Nathan T posted the following in response to a comment that this shooter was acting out of frustration with the government:
Unfortunately you are right on the money there. It has already started, the revolution, but it will always start at the fringe and the people will always call them criminals; they will die for their cause.

But yes it has already started. It is not the kind of revolution I would like; and I will only join when they [the government] come knocking/busting down on my door. But it has started and will continue and get worse UNLESS honest people boot out all dishonest government officials. The only way to stop it is for complete turn over in every elected position every few years for three to four generations [that is three to four population generations, not political generations].

Unless that happens, the revolution will be bloody and it will take a very long time.
Because of ksl.com's ridiculous written and unwritten comment policies, the link to that comment has been lost as electrons floating through a vast, empty space, but at least it gave ol' Nathan Hale a chance to clarify his point:

We DO NEED to focus on the mental component. In a previous news article I said that the revolution had started; that it always starts at the fringe [historically accurate]. Which fringe of society am I referring to this cycle in history?
The fringe of mental illness. We call them all criminals; anyone who is mentally will whether they have or have not actually committed such a heinous crime as Aaron Alexis has just committed. 
Why did he commit such a crime? I ask that in sincerity. Until society can begin to answer that very question; we can mourn the loss of his victims and the many many other victims that WILL YET BE; but such morning and focus will do no good. We cannot and will not stop the fringe from rising up; until such time that the general population changes the way they act and react.
There are a few ways for that change to come about; a long and bloody revolution in which the general populace eventually participate; a political coup de ta; a democratic change in leadership [ousting all incumbents for up to three to four generations]; or a change in policies of how people are treated [e.g. a return to the U.S. Constitution].
Because the uprising has started and will continue at the "fringe" the policies that should be address IMMEDIATELY would be with the fringe. With the "mental component."
Instead of automatically calling everyone mentally ill a criminal and removing their rights (what was done with the last mass shooting) we need to do the opposite; uphold their rights; stop the constant and consistent disregard to their humanity; put an end to the discrimination that occurs daily; and begin to treat the medical condition as a medical condition and not a criminal one.
Right now; and even this article shows this to be fact; mental illness is over and over treated as a criminal condition. "Disorderly Conduct" is where it starts; basically if someone does something that someone doesn't like, they are a criminal and you can charge them with disorderly conduct. And the "mentally ill" are very weird, they are always doing something that someone doesn't like. And so is true, this man started there; being discriminated against for his illness and charged as a criminal. Once in the system there is no way out and the government continues the offenses against the individual until the mind is completely broken and THIS [mass shooting] is the very result of such government tyranny.
Change the stigma return to the freedoms this country was founded upon; and treat medical problems as medical problems and that would put a stop to the mass shootings. 
A few things.

1.  What an awesome theory!  The mentally ill only remain so because government tyranny makes them crazy.   He is right that our prejudices toward the mentally ill marginalize rather than treat them, and that our system does very little to rehabilitate and treat those who engage in criminal behavior because of mental illness.  On the other hand, it is absolutely bonkers to say that government tyranny made this guy hear voices and shoot his coworkers.  The causes of his mental illness are multifaceted and the lack of treatment is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, but neither is because the government is doing too much.  Indeed, the marginalization of the fringe members of society can often only be addressed through government intervention.

2.  Welcome to the revolution!  I love that to Nathan T., the shooter is a revolutionary, someone who is standing up to government oppression.  However, the sad truth is that this guy engaged in a workplace shooting, not some quixotic challenge to the government that hurt him.  He lashed out at the people he interacted with most, they just happened to work for the government.  I also love that in his later comment, Nathan T. backs off his original pledge to stand with revolutionaries like this guy.  Yup, the solution to the lack of treatment for mental illness in our country is to either violently or systematically over 100 years remove every person of power from government.  That will totally solve the problem and is definitely not a misdirected overreaction.  You nailed it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"I call the big one, 'Bitey'."

Over the past few weeks, my mother has been subjected to nightly visits from unwanted guests.  While this is not unusual since I regularly break into her house late at night to steal stuff, the nature of these visitors is somewhat different.  For example, I generally don't scamper across her roof with my tiny feet.  Also, I don't usually leave a nest and babies in her chimney; I leave them out in the open.  Finally, I don't have a black stripe over my eyes that makes me ironically similar to the the stereotypical human burglar.  No, after much speculation and $65 worth of idiotic exterminator, my mom determined that she had raccoons living in her chimney.

Since I have developed a reputation in the area of freelance pest control, my mother called me to talk about solutions.  Without doing any research at all, I put my mind to it and came up with nothing.  But, my mother being much smarter than me, suggested using smoke bombs.  Immediately intrigued, I went to the store and bought a box of TNT smoke balls (like bombs, but manlier).  I contacted one of my brothers and we put together a hasty, ill-conceived plan.  We considered a number of options, and rejected all but one.  We couldn't light a fire because we didn't want cooked raccoon stuck in the chimney; we didn't want to kill them for the same reason; we didn't want to try to trap them for fear of having to get close enough to them to be bitten; and we didn't want to lure them out with food since that would probably be counterproductive. 

We assembled at my mother's house at 7:30 pm on Saturday.  We came armed with my airsoft gun, airsoft handgun, pellet gun, my brother-in-law's airsoft sniper rifle, and of course, my box of smoke balls.  Despite my better judgment, we ascended the latter and set up around the chimney where we believed the little varmints were hiding.  Using only the weak flashlights we had, we peered down each chimney and verified that there were no raccoons within a few feet from the top, but that they had definitely been there as we found excrement and little paw prints in the soot.  We then proceeded to the main event.  We lit and dropped one smoke ball down each chimney shaft, moved back into a ready-to-fire position and waited.  After a minute or so, we began to see colored smoke pouring from each hole.  We sat with nervous anticipation as we waited for the little buggers to come running out, fully expecting that they would attack us.  After several minutes, the smoke cleared, but no rodents appeared.  We decided that one ball per hole was not enough, so we dropped one more down each hole.  Again, we backed up and waited.  Once again, the smoke wafted up and cleared out without so much as a chirp from the beasts.

We were now convinced that the raccoons must have set up shop somewhere else, probably in the attic.  I was curious to know how far down each chimney shaft went, so we broke out a spotlight and looked down.  We first looked down the chimney that led to upstairs fireplace.  We saw the flue, but no evidence of the hat-makers.  Then, I looked down the chimney that led downstairs.  Just like in every horror movie ever, I looked casually, not expecting to see anything, but instead, saw this:

Also, like in most horror movies, seeing their beady little eyes scared the beloved crap out of me.  I quickly motioned to my brother who took this picture.  

With my brother covering me from behind, I lit another smoke bomb and dropped it down the hole.  I moved back and crouched down with my gun pointed right at the opening.  As before, we started to see colored smoke after about a minute, but this time it was a lot more smoke.  After a few minutes, we saw creepy little fingers come up over the lip of the opening, followed by noses and ears.  They both had come up for air.  I got ready to fire if they went anywhere but straight off the roof and out of the yard, but they just stayed there at the opening, unwilling to come all the way out.  We watched as the smoke cleared, ready to make our move.  Unfortunately, they never gave us a chance.  We cautiously approached the chimney, looked over and saw this:

We only had two smoke bombs left, so we decided that the best course of action was to cap the unoccupied chimney, then flood the occupied chimney with smoke.  I approached the occupied chimney with my airsoft gun and kept it trained on the little effers while my brother affixed the chimney cap to the other hole.  Then, with the sniper rifle trained on the hole, I lit and dropped the remaining smoke bombs down the shaft.  It was just like the end of "The Dirty Dozen".   Despite our heroic efforts, the little buggers wouldn't come out and we were out of ordinance, so we called it a night, planning to come back the next evening.

I spent part of the following day preparing "depth charges".  They are totally legal and not modified fireworks designed to explode with concussive force attached to the end of a string plumbed to hang just above the flue.  My brother went to the store and came back with 48 smoke bombs - we were not going to be defeated this time.  As before, we ascended to the roof ready for battle.  With my gun ready, we shined the spotlight down the shaft but didn't see anything.  We dropped a single smoke bomb and moved back to watch.  Because there was less wind the second night, it took longer for the smoke to appear and then clear, but sill no little critters came up.  So, we decided to up the ante.  We dropped seven smoke bombs down the hole.  It took more than 20 minutes for the smoke to clear, but even after all that, there was no evidence that the raccoons were still there.  Just to be safe, I set off one of my depth charges because I read that they don't like loud noises.  To be a jerk, I set off another, then another.  However, on the third charge, we saw a big poof of hair come out of the shaft.  I pulled out the expended device only to find that it was covered with tufts of fur.  Given the lack of blood or other matter, I concluded that we must have detonated the nest, and consequently determined that it must have been empty.  Riding the success of the third charge, I set off a fourth, but without positive results.  So, we declared victory and capped the remaining chimney.  We then set off smoke bombs around other parts of the yard and garage to stimulate aversion therapy.  Hopefully the acrid smoke that became so thick that it burned my eyes will have a similar effect on all who dare cross the threshold of my mother's property. 

All in all, it was the most fun I've ever had fighting little buggers.

[Editor's note: I changed the title from "We must respond with our deadliest weapon - the lawyers." because this one is funnier.]

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Worst episode ever."

I'm just going to come out and say it: I could not care any less about the following geeky/nerdy things (indeed, in most cases there is little room for any more hatred either):
  • Apple
  • Steve Jobs
  • Minecraft
  • Nintendo anything (esp. Super Mario Brothers)
  • Anime
  • PlayStation
  • Most comic book stuff
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • Steampunk
  • 8-bit versions of games
  • Pixar
  • Freddie Wong videos (at least in a diminishing capacity, i.e. his videos get less and less entertaining with each installment)
  • Dr. Who
  • Leet speak (1337)
  • Remakes of 80's cartoons
  • Asian girls
And much, much more!

I know that many people would view my list as heresy, but I maintain that you do not have to like all of something to still feel like you are a part of it. (For example, I like some aspects of Call of Duty and really quite enjoyed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, even though it felt like a betrayal to do so.)

In an effort to piss off everyone who still reads this blog, I say: I'm pretty sure that in Steve Jobs' personal Hell, everyone blames him when Windows crashes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"This is Chief Wiggum reporting a 314 - waking a police officer."

On August 6th, I went shooting with some of my friends. We went up the north side of Farmington Canyon to the same place I went shooting during my last blog entry on the topic. It's sometimes referred to as "the Firebreak Road" or "The Lake Bonneville Shoreline". It's a place I've researched given the applicable restrictions and verified as compliant with all relevant laws. In fact, I have shot there several times before, and all the folks in my party had shot there before, too. However, there had been a fire on the south side of the canyon just a few weeks prior which was started by people shooting in the foothills. Keep that in mind as I recount my harrowing tale of a run-in with "The Man".

I'm pretty sure this is how all people in Farmington
picture people shooting in the foothills

We met up at around 8:30 and drove up to the park at the base of the trail. We pulled our guns out of the truck and picked up our boxes of targets which consisted of old computer parts and DVD player that had betrayed me after I went to all the effort of hauling it back and forth across the country.
You're dead, traitor.

We brought with us a pump-action .22 Winchester, some Czech WW-II era gun, what I think was a K-98 Mauser (maybe Boy can verify this for me), and a couple of handguns. Nothing too special. Anyway, we began shooting at some boxes and our old electronics which we had placed on the south-facing hill in front of us. Keep in mind that there is a road that runs up the canyon, but it is across the river from where we are and more than the required distance away. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed taking out my revenge on my traitorous DVD player (although it didn't ping when hit like I had hoped).

After about half an hour of shooting, we heard a woman's voice calling to us from through the trees on the other side of the canyon. Here's roughly how the conversation went:

Woman: You can't shoot here!
Us: We've looked into it and we can!
Woman: No you can't!
Us: Yes we can!
Woman: No you can't!
Us: Thanks, have a nice day!

And we got back to shooting. About ten minutes later, a very irate-looking female Forest Service Ranger and a male Davis County Sheriff's deputy came walking up the trail. The Forest Ranger had drawn her gun, but not pointed it at us (this is apparently called "presenting" - an unfortunate term in her case) and asked if we were unarmed. We had already laid down whatever guns we were holding, and responded that we were.

You have the right to shut up, Timmy.

Here is roughly what followed:

Ranger: Did you know you're not allowed to shoot up here?

Us: No, we've checked it out and we can.

Ranger: No, you can't. Did you not hear me yelling at you earlier?

Us: We did, but you didn't identify yourself so we thought you were just some random person.

Ranger: Well, you can't shoot up here.

Us: We've checked with the Sheriff's office and the US Forest Service website and we can.

[I began looking this up on my phone.]

Ranger: No, you can't. Had you called dispatch today, they would have told you no.

Us: We've called the Sheriff's office before and they said it was okay.

Ranger: When was that?

Us: A couple of months ago.

Ranger: Well, they wouldn't have said that because you can't shoot below 7,000 ft in these hills.

Us: Really, when was that put into place? Because we've been here many times and never had a problem.

Ranger: For a couple of years now. You have ID?

[We handed over our IDs.]

Us: Well, we've never heard of this restriction before.

Ranger: Well, it's been on the books for a couple of years. You know what happened up here last week?

Us: Yeah, a fire was started by some people just over there on the other side of the canyon. But they were shooting at explosive targets.

Ranger: What are you shooting at?

Us: Boxes and old electronics. You can see them right there.

Deputy: Well, I can hear your ricochets going off ping, ping.

Us: We haven't heard any.

Ranger: Well, I'm not going to give you a ticket today, but I'm taking your names down so we know that you know the next time we catch you.

By this point, myself and one of my friends were ready for a fight. We were both fired up and ready to argue with this Ranger until she let us keep shooting. I had looked up the restrictions on the Davis County Sheriff's website and the Forest Service website for the Wasatch-Cache National Forest and had not seen any 7,000 ft restriction. In fact, that was the first I had ever heard of it. I was thinking to myself, "Go ahead and give me a ticket. I want to know what specific law I'm violating. Plus, I'd love to see you arrest us because I'll just act as the attorney for these other guys and we'll fight the ticket."

We'd be patriots, like all those people in jail.

However, one of my friends who was obviously very nervous about the whole thing asked if we could just pack up and leave. The Ranger agreed and the Deputy asked us if we were picking up our "brass". We had been and so we combed the area and left.

If there's another way to present information, I'd like to hear it.

On the way back and later that afternoon, I did some research into this alleged 7,000 ft restriction. Here's what I found out:

On August 24, 2010, Davis County passed the 7,000 ft restriction. http://www.co.davis.ut.us/calendar_item.cfm?calendar_item_id=5424

Then, a number of people complained, citing to Utah Code Section 53-5a-102 which states, "Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property." http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE53/htm/53_05a010200.htm This means that only the State can limit the use of firearms - counties cannot.

In response to the letters and the obvious problems with the law, Davis County convened two weeks later on September 7, 2010 and repealed the law at the insistence of deputy county attorney Gerald Hess. http://www.co.davis.ut.us/calendar_item.cfm?calendar_item_id=5511

I also checked the Forest Service laws to see if they had passed anything or made any restrictions. Use of Forest Service land is governed by the Code of Federal Regulations, which includes the restrictions we were already familiar with. http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2010/julqtr/36cfr261.10.htm

As the incident unfolded, and upon later reflection, I came to the conclusion that the Ranger and the Deputy knew that they had no authority to stop us from shooting, but rather, wanted to get us off the mountain because of the fire the week before. This makes sense in light of the fact that the Sheriff's Deputy didn't really say anything to corroborate what the Ranger was saying, and because I talked to my neighbor who is a Davis County Sheriff's Deputy and he thinks the same thing, because getting someone to agree with you after only presenting them with your side of the story is the strongest evidence you can have.

Now that I've shared this with you, you idiots better not ruin it for the rest of us. And stay the hug away from my spot.

[Ed. note - I'm performing an experiment with this post. I have inserted a number of labels designed to increase potential traffic. I'm curious to see how it will shake out.]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Ultrasuede is a miracle. This is just good timing."

This is why you always maintain a three meter spread:

(I'm the person shooting the rocket.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Let's go save some cheerleaders."

I recently finished playing the single player campaign for Dice's latest masterpiece, Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The game mirrors COD:MW in many ways, but improves upon most of the aspects of the gameplay in its overly self-absorbed cousin.

What, no smiley-faced grenades?

The game is a sequel to the very enjoyable Battlefield Bad Company. Once again, we join our squad of miscreants and follow them as they battle through a brand new story. Where the last game took place in a fictional eastern bloc nation, this one takes place in real places as the US battles against a global Russian offensive. The game centers around Bad Co.'s search for a "scalar device" - essentially a large-scale EMP device a la "Ocean's Eleven", taking you from icy tundra (in Alaska, I think - see my complaint about this below) to jungle to desert (in Chile - yay!) and then ultimately back to Texas (airspace, anyway). (I apologize for the number of parentheticals in that sentence, but I don't get the benefit of Colbert's overlay when he does "the Word".) Oh, and the game starts in WWII-era Japan, because screw you, that's why.

First, the gameplay is awesome. It's fast-paced, much more so than it's predecessor which felt like the enemies were too few and far between. It's also varied, giving you a lot of different things to do including your standard running and gunning, sniping, shooting from a tank, jeep, helicopter, and four-wheeler (or "quad bike", as Sweetwater gayly calls it). Some of these elements worked really well, like the time you have to provide sniper cover to your team as they insert into an enemy base, but with the catch that you time your shots with the thunder that's going on around you. Or the time you run down a snowy mountain but have to periodically stop and warm yourself up. However, some of the gameplay elements fell a little flat, like designating targets with a laser designator or flying a UAV helicopter, which felt an awful lot like the AC-130 level from COD:MW, but not as much fun. On the whole however, these things worked out really well and made the game different and entertaining, with each level giving some surprises. Oh, and the opening level in Japan - hugging awesome.

Not only is the action great, but the engine is awesome. Pretty much everything can be exploded (yes, exploded) and there are plenty of opportunities to do so. You can level entire houses, destroy every bit of cover and otherwise wreak havoc on the countryside. The game does a good job of incorporating opportunities to do this, including a couple of great levels using a helicopter-mounted mini gun.

Yup, exploded.

The story was also pretty good. Nothing earth-shattering, but entertaining in its own right. It moved along quickly enough to keep my attention, but seemed to miss some important stuff, like where the eff you were a lot of the time. (Seriously, where does that first level take place? Alaska? Russia? On top of some mountain?) Oh, and it was a little unclear why you were doing a lot of the stuff you were doing. But I have that same complaint about COD:MW, and just about every other video game I've ever played. I always have a hard time following the plot. Nevertheless, despite the fact that they left it on a cliffhanger, setting it up for a sequel, I still immediately restarted the campaign and played through it again. And again. And again.

Where the game really shined was in its characters, dialogue, direction and voice acting. A lot of people really didn't like the characters and their banter from Bad Company 1. Not me. I loved it. Sure, it was silly that your squadmates would be goofing off right after a firefight in hostile territory while facing court martial, but the entire premise of the game was silly, so it fit within the world they created. I really enjoyed them playing rock-paper-scissors and annoying each other. It was a nice touch. Well, they dropped that for Bad Company 2, but what they did still works. Each character has more personality which comes out both in the cutscenes and in the in-game dialogue, which is better than pretty much any game I've ever played. There's a particularly good moment when Haggard sees a huge explosion and solemnly declares, "That is the greatest thing I have seen in my entire life."

Which brings me to my next point, the voice acting was great. The lines were all very well-delivered and properly timed, there were no annoying accents (Halo:Reach, Rainbow Six Vegas, COD:MW, I'm looking in your direction), and they fit into the scheme of the game and the story perfectly. While I liked Marlowe in the first game, I grew to love him here. He was sympathetic, emotional, and vulnerable, but also funny and skilled.

He's about to mess somebody up. You know, like nice guys do.

The cutscene direction was also very good. While some of the cutscenes were a little dry and expository, they were interspersed with enough interesting and sometimes, very cool stuff to keep my interest. In fact, there were a few points were I actually yelled because I thought they were so cool. One in particular comes to mind, where the squad is riding in a helicopter and they're suddenly barraged with rockets. The pilot (who was a very cool side character and had the best line of the game which can't be republished here due to my moderate self-censorship) takes evasive maneuvers which causes the aforementioned scalar device to fall out the side of the chopper. Marlowe, without even thinking, just jumps out after it. It was very, very cool.

Additionally, I'm not sure how these guys did it, but they managed to make the CG characters look and feel real. So often I find that the more real the animation, the less human the characters seem (see: the uncanny valley). But here, they didn't. It might be a result of the stellar voice acting, but it felt like there was something more that made the characters real and believable and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. However, my praise for this realism ends at the core squad. The other characters, including the character you play in the first level, had that same sort of hollowness that you find in most video game animations.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the game's sound. The sound is just unbelievably cool. From changing sound effects (guns are louder indoors) to engine-linked particle effects (you can hear dust and debris falling around you depending on where you are), the sounds really complete the gaming experience. That, and the gun sounds are very realistic. Having fired a lot of guns in my day, I can say that the gun sound effects in this game are more realistic than they are in any game I have ever played.

That's not to say the game is without its faults.

My main complaint with the campaign is the lack of checkpoints. This isn't really a problem in the early sections of the game, but becomes worse as the game goes on, hitting its obnoxious climax on the level "Sangre Del Toro." Despite the fact that this level takes place in Chile - which is awesome as I used to live there - I found myself shouting at the screen several times during this level and won't play it any more. The level takes place over a very large map and you have to drive to various points, get out of your car, fight off the bad guys, and then perform certain tasks. The problem is that the game checkpoints you immediately after you've performed the tasks, but not in between. What ends up happening, is you drive for minutes at a time to get to the next action and then die, having to start over again, driving for minutes at a time. There's a particularly annoying part where not only do you have to drive a whole bunch, but you have to stop, sit through an annoying and useless cutscene (there isn't even any story-related dialogue), listen to Sweet tell you that the obnoxious thing you just did was "cool", and then drive some more, through the blinding dust into an ambush that you won't survive on your first, second or third try. I think I wasted 20 minutes on that part the first time I played it. Now, I just drive to the point where I know they're waiting and blindly throw grenades into their midst. Not a very fun way to play, Dice. Neither is driving in the dust. I'm glad that your engine can realistically simulate wind and dust. Congratulations. That doesn't mean I want to constantly drive blindly through snow drifts and dust storms at the expense of your otherwise beautiful backdrops.

You will come to hate this place.

Along with this, I was also frustrated by how often you sit through a cutscene, then drive a whole bunch without doing anything, only to get to another point that initiates another cutscene. Why make me drive? It's not fun or interesting, so why can't you just transition to the next scene like they do in movies?

Another big complaint I have is with the cutscene transitions. In COD and sometimes in Reach, the cutscene transitions pretty seamlessly into the gameplay. Here, at the beginning and end of each cutscene, they fade in and out of black, respectively. It's very annoying, especially at the end where there is a series of cutscenes in pretty rapid succession which take place over the course of a few minutes in the story. The fades took me out of the story a bit and were distracting from the gameplay.

Finally, it's only a minor concern, but give me better gunsights, for crying out loud. Only a handful of the guns have acceptable gunsights. More often, you find that you are looking through your scope trying to line up a stupid carat, or worse, series of carats against a backdrop that makes them invisible. Use an effing red dot. Or if you must insist on using the carat, at least light it up on all the guns and not just the one scoped machine gun. And definitely don't use it for the sniper rifle, you jackoffs.

Guess how much time you spend looking at the only white space on the map.

Despite my complaints, which are really not that significant compared to the many, many awesome aspects of the game, I was really happy with the campaign and look forward to replaying it a whole bunch. It's a great game and well worth your time.

P.S. I haven't played much of the multiplayer, which is why most people play this game, but I plan to. The reality is that I don't buy games for the multiplayer as playing online is often an impossibility for me due to the lack of a pause feature.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

"I sit on the board of the Pediatric Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation."

Let me begin by advising you not to take my advice. I'm just some retarded a-hole writing anonymously on the internet. You should really ask a doctor or something about this crap.

Ever since 1999, I have been suffering from restless leg syndrome. It's one of those diseases that sounds made up and even stupid. The kind of disease you reference when talking about diagnoses run amok. I agree, it does sound stupid. "Creepy-crawling"? What kind of symptom is that?

In any event, I experienced it on my religiously-affiliated vacation in Chile, where it got much worse than it had ever been before. It subsided a bit while I was in college, but came back with a vengeance when I started law school and has (had) remained with me, at a pretty debilitating level ever since. There were days in a row where I would not get more than a few hours' sleep because of the jimmy legs.

I tried a number of treatments: neurontin and other anti-seizure drugs, sleeping pills, warming leggings, but to no avail. I even tried multi-vitamins, potassium, iron supplements, and got bupkus. Nothing seemed to help. The only way I could even get some sleep was to take sleeping pills. (By the way, Ambien CR is awesome.)

Well, due to the wonderful free-market healthcare system we currently enjoy, I ended up spending a month without insurance. During that month, I didn't refill my asthma medication, Singulair because it costs $180 to fill. That's $6.00 per pill. That's like three years of XBox live membership. And so what if I got sick every single time I had previously neglected to take my Singulair on a daily basis? Screw that.

Despite my experience, I did not get sick and my restless legs went away. I spent an entire month without the constant pain and lack of sleep they usually bring. Then, I got insurance again, refilled my Singulair and started up again. That same day, I had the worst restless legs I've had in months. Not wanting to make serious medical decisions on a fluke, I took it again the next day with the same result. It sucked balls. So, I stopped taking it. It took about five days to completely wear off, but my restless legs are for the most part gone again. Now, I can return to looking down on people who have crap illnesses. You have depression? There's no such thing, you're just being a pussy. What's that? You're saying I take Lexapro? I take that for my crippling emotional cancer. I see how you would confuse the two.

In summary, Singulair causes restless legs. And since I'm clearly a qualified physician and not just some anonymous idiot blogging on the internet, you can take that to the bank.*

*To repeat: I'm not really a doctor. In fact, I'm just some retarded a-hole writing from my own experience and not a bit of knowledge, education, training, research, or qualification. DO NOT TAKE MY ADVICE! I cannot emphasize this enough.