Monday, June 30, 2008

back at it!

I'm back in the swing of things at work, which means I'll be far busier in the coming months than June. Oh well, being busy is good.

Not too much has changed at VisArts, I should be working on some nice projects and I'll probably post more about them at a later date. At the moment we're gearing up for out next exhibition, Farm to Market.

Well, off to do some photo editing. Let's see how well I can replace an entire street...


I wonder why people love Las Vegas. Personally, I think it's pretty overblown. While I would like to return to Vegas one day, I'm not jumping at the bit. It's such a city of extravagance that it's somewhat sickening. Everything has a gimmick, the las vegas hotels are all themed and each new one tries to be bigger, more expensive, and more overblown than the last. The restaurants, while good, are also a mixture of expensive entrées and famous chefs that don't actually work there. The stores are all to pricey and filled with material crap, frankly. The entire city is built on making you feel/wish that you were a millionaire 5 times over.

It's the same loud experience in every hotel and casino, you just get a different theme. I don't know, it's a fun city but I think there are too many people who take Vegas seriously. Perhaps it's the antisocialite in me, but I don't know how much I could handle all of that money flaunting and obnoxious rich people day after day.

Just a rant I suppose.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rental Advantage

I'm able to do a lot of things at my age. I'm legally an adult, I can gamble, I can purchase alcoholic drinks. But, I still can't legally rent cars, not until I'm 25. Oh well, with the price of gas being what it is and my own financial predicament, I'm not planning on travelling anywhere soon, so not too big of a deal.

Still, when the time comes, it's nice to know there's a place I can find a cheap car rental for. offers some nice deals on car rentals, like $20 a day deals. Which sounds pretty good to me. Right now, they also have a special offer of up to 50% off of luxury and convertible car rentals.

Maybe I can't rent yet, but I seriously hope that when the time comes, I'll be able to rent for as cheap as Advantage offers.

heck yeah, Amazon!

I'm quite pleased with Amazon's shipping. I ordered the Futurama movie on Sunday, and today it's here! Let's here it for free accidental overnight shipping!

Yeah, I've yet to have problems with anything I've ordered from Amazon directly. I always get my packages on or before the estimated delivery date. So yeah, I'm pretty dern happy about this.

Oh yes, the DVD is as awesome as I expected.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Domain Name Scorecard

I've been hemming and hawing over a domain name for the website I will share with my boyfriend. This is a certainty that we're just putting off. Having a personal website to host your portfolio is pretty much an essential in the art world. It's also quite important in the business world as well, which is why I worked on to help that client reach a selected audience that he otherwise wouldn't get. Choosing a domain name is such an important step, that it should be taken seriously. This is your URL after all.

Network Solutions offers a neat little domain name scorecard, that helps see if your chosen domain name is helping your business. It's pretty basic, three steps, with three somewhat broad questions. It's nice, and does make you think "well, wait...maybe I should do this and that, I'll have a better site for my business". I tried it out with, just to see, and I guess it didn't score too badly, 5/10.

The questions are this:

1.Have you registered additional extensions of this exact domain name?
2.Have you registered misspellings and common typing mistakes or names that sound like yours that a competitor might register?
3.Have you registered domain names that describe your products, services or locality?

This is definitely geared towards larger businesses, not personal portfolio sites like what I would like to have. While the questions are good, I do wish there were a few more or a better explanation of how to increase your score without spending more. Since the changes they suggest would mean spending more money. To a business, that doesn't sound like a bad idea, to an individual, that's pretty tough.

If you have a business or personal domain name, it might be fun to find out what your domain name scorecard is.

Intuos Woes

I'm a little sad/confused with my Intuos3 tablet. I downloaded a brand new (released on the 17th) driver last night in the hopes that my Wacom will go back to working like the dream it should be. Nope, the driver apparently did nothing.

My pen isn't sensitive at all Photoshop, there doesn't seem to be any difference when I apply pressure or draw as lightly as possible. I don't get any sort of difference in like when I tilt the pen one way or another. The Intuos should do that, and I've played with pen sensitivity settings on both the Wacom properties page in the Control Panel and in Photoshop itself.

It's quite bothersome really, and I don't for the life of me know what to do.

Have you had any similar problems with pen sensitivity using Vista?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Social Work Study Guide?

So, of all the jobs available that I could do, social work is not even close to being something I'd like to do. Of course, I have great respect for those in the social work business, it must be quite hard to deal with a bevy of terrible people day after day. Those who can keep their cool after a few years in social work can keep their cool in any situation. I didn't realize there was an official social work test though, that's news to me. I suppose it makes sense, a lot of careers require an exam to become licensed, I guess I just never thought about needing it for that particular type of job. They also have study guides available to help out, so I suppose it's as much pressure as the SAT is for high schoolers. Just like the SATs, there's a whole lot of different types of study guides out there, but it looks like Social Work has some of the more useful books for social workers.

You learn something new every day!

Beast With a Billion Backs

So, continuing with my love for all things Matt Groening, I'm excited for the upcoming DVD release of Futurama: Beast With A Billion Backs. Here's the trailer:

Yeeeppp, looks like it's gonna be fun on a bun! I've already pre-ordered my DVD!

...Okay, I'll admit that I've already seen it. But, I support Futurama and watched the movie with the full intent of purchasing the DVD. Futurama is one of the few series I own the entirety of on DVD, yes, I also have Bender's Big Score. The reason being, that all the television DVDs contain commentary that is as entertaining as the episodes themselves. I'm such a DVD nerd, I love audio commentary and I enjoy it even more when those commenting sound like they had a good time making the film/t.v. show. I think it enhances the viewing experience, and touches on things that the viewer may have missed. Thus, I love Futurama and its consistent DVD commentaries.

So, here's a short review of Beast With a Billion Backs (spoiler free):

It's....weird. Definitely one of the odder stories to take place in the Futurama universe. I do like it though, the story is just a bit different from other Futurama stories. Why? I suppose it's a little more of a horror story actually, while funny the plot is quite disturbing and could easily be turned into a Sci-fi thriller if you take away the comedy...and Bender. But where would Futurama be without lovable Bender and its witty comedy?

The jokes are still great, and I've read a few reviews of people who are hardcore Futurama fans who didn't like Bender's Big Score because they said the writing wasn't as good as the t.v. show. That's, frankly, bullshit. Considering that the show has the same staff of writers as the films, I don't see how it could be worse. In my mind, it's the same. In fact, a bit better. Longer "episodes" lead to longer jokes, giving them more time to grow and develop. Also, by crafting the movies around a DVD release, the writers are able to get away with material that Fox would otherwise turn down. Fox has such odd censor laws, I can't imagine what the Futurama movies would look like on that station. Good thing they've got a contract with Comedy Central, a more lenient station.

I'm glad I bought Bender's Big Score, the DVD extras were plentiful and amusing. While the full-length Hypnotoad episode was a little wearing (of course it was, it's Hypnotoad, there isn't much more to elaborate on), the science lecture was quite entertaining and of course, the commentary was right on par with the t.v. DVDs. Looking at The Beast With A Billion Backs, the extras should be just as good.

There are two more Futurama films coming out after Beast, you can be damn sure I'll be watching them.

Skate Shoes > Any Other Sneaker

I'm a bit of a tomboy, I've always never been a girly girl. I don't care enough about makeup to worry about putting it on each day, and I find guy pants to be a whole hell of a lot more comfortable then girl pants. I also don't like to wear heels, on a daily basis. I see no need in putting my feet through that horror or pain down the line. Then again, my daily shoe wear consists of flip flops and other open toed sandel-like shoes. I haven't worn sneakers for quite a while now, and I have no problem with that.

When I did wear sneakers, I wore skater style shoes. Vans, DC Skate Shoes, etc. I've been on a skateboard maybe once in my life, so I'm no skater girl. That doesn't mean those shoes aren't far more comfortable then tennis shoes or trainers, I much prefer my Vans to Nike any day.

Buy Skate has a good selection up for perusing. In fact, a very good selection of brands to choose from for men, women, and children. Unfortunately, they have more selection for men then women (understandable), so I won't be able to find that special pair I loved years ago. Oh well, I've still got my sandals!

Summer Memories

I'm such a homebody. I don't like going out much, unless it's to dinner or the like. Going to clubs has never been my thing, too many ugly people too close to me. I don't really like going to bars either, but that's because I don't want to pay for drinks (who does eh?). Actually, I really don't like to go out during the summer. It's hot, sunny (want to keep my moon tan alive and well!), and just generally uncomfortable.

When I was younger I did like to go out to the pool though. Whenever we went on vacation, the pool was the place to be for me! I suppose I never really had any official pool toys though like other kids. No innertubes, no foam things, nothing. If I was lucky, a friend would have brought their toys and we could play. If I was alone, my toys were pennies or rocks. Diving for pennies was what I loved to do.

I do sometimes wish I owned a few pool toys but it really was an unnecessary purchase. There was only one person who would use them, and she really didn't get to go swimming much. Oh well, now I guess it wouldn't make sense for me to own any. I rarely go to the pool, even though there's one in our neighbourhood and I've got passes.

That said, if I have children, you can bet they'll get a few pool toys. Nothing fancy though, a few foam tubes and diving sticks last a long time.

Dr. Drew

Ever seen Celebrity Rehab on VH1? With Dr. Drew Pinsky? Yes/no?

I didn't really watch the first season, I'll admit it. Even though I'm a big fan of shows like Intervention, which show the horrors of addiction and the usefulness of drug rehab, I just never got into the whole "celebrity" aspect. I love Dr. Drew, I think he's a great doctor and a very knowledgeable man. He even came out and said that he's doing the show to educate the world on what goes on in a real rehabilitation setting. For that, which I think is an adequate reason since we've never actually been privy to a rehab unmasked as it were, I won't bash VH1 or declare the show to be an exploitation of pain and D-list celebrities.

I admire Dr. Drew, I really do, he was great on Loveline even though I stopped listening when it became too difficult to find the show and Adam Carolla left, and he's a great man of medicine. Whatever he says, I listen. I know recently he was in the news for saying in a Playboy article something about Tom Cruise joining a cult because he obviously had a messed up childhood, as this is the perfect example of that. Cruise's camp went on to compare Drew to a nazi, smart move. I really don't think Dr. Drew should have issued that apology, but he know how much of a headache he could have if he didn't.

I might start watching the next season of Celebrity Rehab, check it out and really see what drug rehab is all about. As I imagine I'll never need to go to one, god I hope not, but if I ever did I'd want to go to Dr. Drew's. I trust him to genuinely help people fight their disease.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Ahh, magic. One of the oldest and most interesting visual arts that has captivated humans for centuries. From famous concert illusionists to street magicians, there's not a populated place you can visit that doesn't have a magician of some sort.

Perhaps Las Vegas could be considered to be one of the most popular cities to find, and feature, good magic acts. All the great modern illusionists have played there. One of the most popular mdoern magicians is Criss Angel, and he's teamed up with another Las Vegas super-show, Cirque Du Soleil to bring audiences CRISS ANGEL Believe, a 3 hour journey through Criss Angel's mind and death. Knowing the performance art of the ever popular Cirque Du Soleil, this should prove to be a very entertaining show.

If you're not familiar with Criss Angel, then you probably don't watch cable television. Criss has his own show on A&E, Mindfreak, where he goes around and performs weird and other worldly illusions in front of everyday people on the streets of Las Vegas (as well as some other locations). It's pretty amusing, and by performing in front of a live street audience it separates Criss from other big name magicians like David Copperfield and Harry Houdini. Both of those men performed the majority of their tricks on stages, always about 10' away from any audience member. Performing on the street gives a person a more intimate feel, and they may be more likely to believe in the mystery of magic when it's less than an arm's reach in front of them.

If you like Criss Angel's style of illusion and the odd French circus that is Cirque Du Soleil, you'll like 'Believe'. You'll also like that there's a contest going on right now where if you text 'Believe' to 22122, you could win 2 tickets to the show.

Magic is always a captivating art, but it's even more impressive when the illusion is performed right in front of you.

Sponsored by CRISS ANGEL Believe

Friday, June 20, 2008

Go something something

Yay! I found the video that contains one of my most favourite bits of The Simpsons, from Treehouse of Horror V:


hee hee hee, awesome.

Clothes for Dogs are Useless

You know what I find weird? Buying jewellery for your dog. Perhaps it's because I've been watching Animal Planet a lot lately, but I think purchasing anything more than a collar for your pet is strange and unnecessary. It's always the little, yappy-type dogs too. you'll never see a full-grown boxer wearing a diamond tiara, gold anklet, fur (irony?) coat, or little doggy sunglasses. It's just not practical.

It's like buying baby clothes at really expensive Hollywood stores, why would you do this? The kid doesn't appreciate that you're making him wear a $500 pure mink little baby coat. He'll probably just spit up on it anyway. Also, he won't be wearing this $1,000 wardrobe for more than what, a year at most? What a waste of money.

Trust me, your shaky chihuahua doesn't care about that oh-so-adorable sweater you bought him. he'd rather kick it off and run around and smell another dog's butt.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Intuos3 Ahoy

I've been having a little fun with the new tablet:

Took about 1.5 hours when all was said and done tonight. Yep, I'd say I'm pretty happy with this new toy.

Hosting Deal

Looking up web hosting for a new site is always an ordeal. Unless you're one of the lucky few who can just spend whatever you want on a web host, you have to shop around. Part of the reason why I don't have my own domain yet is because of trying to find a great host that offers a good deal for the right price. Supreme Center Hosting offers a pretty good deal, their cheapest package is called Specialist Hosting and goes for $6.50 a month. This includes about 6gb of space, 16gb of bandwidth, 3 hosted domains, and 40 email addresses. Pretty good if you're considering a personal or a blog website.

Money is always an issue with web hosting, and if you're looking for something small to get a spot on the web, you need to know what you think will be the appropriate size for your space and bandwidth. Supreme Center Hosting is pretty good in this sense, and it doesn't hurt that they're offering a 10% off offer. Just enter NEWHOST10 at checkout and you'll have your little spot on the net for all to see.

Lazy days

My vision isn't perfect yet, but it's still far better that it originally was. I'm keeping in mind that the eye doesn't fully reshape itself for several months, which is why I'm not thinking "jeez, it's been a week...why can't I see perfectly yet?!". I'm reasonable and more than happy with the gift of sight I've so far received.

So, since I don't start work until I feel comfortable enough to return (I'm banking on the first week in July if all goes well), what have I been doing with my little vacation?

The answer is...nothing really.

frankly my days have been spent online, or playing video games on my boyfriend's school roommate's xbox 360. He loaned it to me over this summer so he won't be tempted to waste his vacation playing at home. Needless to say, I didn't object.

I've got a bevy of games on my radar to get through and as my boyfriend decreed, my goal this summer is to reach over 4000 on my gamerscore. I'm at about 2500 right now so that shouldn't be a hard goal to reach. I'm planning on completing a few games at least:

-Lego Star Wars II
-The Orange Box (minus Team Fortress because I can't connect the Xbox to the internet)
-Tomb Raider Legend

It's not too many games so far, but I've got a ton to choose from so my list will probably grow over time. I would like to complete Crackdown, but it doesn't seem to want to let me play without freezing, so nuts to that.

Oh well, Lego Star Wars is a great game and I love the series (I have The Complete Saga for DS), and I'm in the middle of Half-Life 2 so I'll be busy for a bit.

I really should spend some time drawing with my Intuos3 too, perhaps tomorrow I'll have a nice background in-progress that I can post.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Optical 4 Less

Now that I don't need glasses any more, I'm quite interested in finding out exactly how much my family has spent on spectacles over the years. I imagine that without insurance, we've spent well over $2,000 on glasses alone. That's quite a bit of money to spend on a second set of eyes. I'm betting it's actually more than that too, but nonetheless, eyeglasses are a needed accessory to millions of people in the United States alone and we're all spending a whole lot of money on a fashionable, and useful, pair.

If you wear prescription glasses you probably order them from your optomitrist, but there can be a cheaper method if you don't posses any, or at least good, insurance. Optical 4 offers a wide range of theLatest eyeglasses selections for a great discounted price. Whether you're looking for rimless eyeglasses, Alloy eyeglasses, hingeless eyeglasses, half rimless eyeglasses, or even Clipon sunglasses, you can find them at Optical4Less.

I used to wear bendable frames, or Titanium frames when I was a wee one and I think they're a fabulous form of specs. They're perfect for the kid that's either super active or just terribly clumsy like me. Over the years I grew to treat my glasses like a second set of eyeballs, so I stopped wearing titanium bendy frames and moved on to Plastic eyeglasses. Actually, my last pair looked a bit like this:

Of course, if you're familiar with my blog, you'll remember that I had a bit of trouble with those black plastic frames in that they broke 2 times on me last year. I suppose it must have been the brand, but I had to replace the stupid frame too many times. And since insurance only covered one set of new frames, I decided that the second time it broke I'll just use some older frames and get new lenses. Because a new frame would have run me upwards of $100, which isn't worth it when you consider that I won't even need my glasses in a few months. I suppose if I knew about Opitical4Less, I would have considered going through them, since a pair of prescription glasses cost as little as $15 (the pair that I posted the photo of costs $29) and comes with an anti-reflective coating, UV coating, colorful stylish case, and a cleaning cloth. Quite a nice package I'd say.

The only problem, in my case, would be that the frames take about 2 weeks for delivery, which doesn't help much if you're in a bit of an emergency situation. However, for everyday glasses ordering, 2 weeks is about average, at least at my optomitrist.

Optical4Less also offers an interesting, rotating, selection of Overstocked eyeglasses. For each pair of glasses they have a neat little area where you can preview the frames on your own face (by uploading a personal photo) or on somebody who has a similar face shape. To me this is quite useful, since when I try on glasses, I can't really see my face in the mirror, at least not without getting quite close to it. There's also a testimonal page which is great to hear real people's opinions and personal dealings with the company.

I'm really quite glad that I don't have to deal with ordering new frames each year, at least not for several years, but I wish this website was around earlier. I'm sure my family could have saved quite a bit of cash.

Sponsored by

Jason Cable: intelligent and gay

I'm all for gay rights, especially when it comes to jobs. Discrimination based on looks, sexuality, or race is terrible. I think that the internet give gblt bloggers a great outlet to speak on issue important to them. Issues that may range from sexuality to politics to everyday life, like my blog here.

Jason runs a great gblt blog and podcast. His entries are witty and intelligent. It's amazing to think there are some people out there who think that homosexuals can't have the same personality of a straight person. Jason sets this terrible thought straight.

I especially like his blog post on his #1 search term, which is "Suze Orman gay". Suze Orman, for those who don't know, is a financial guru who has a money-talk show on CNBC. She recently came out as a lesbian, and has a longterm partner. It's funny that this is Jason's #1 search result for people wanting to visit his site, but I suppose it does prove that nothing is more enthralling than the sex lives of celebrities.

Personally, I never deny or proclaim my sexuality but I am truthful if people ask. I don't feel the need to say that I'm bi because I'm in a longterm, loving, relationship with a man. This is fine, as I can still support the gay community, I just feel a little odd fighting for my own. Reading gay blogs like Jason's are fantastic, as I do enjoy every aspect of the gay community. Especially the witty and intelligent blogger section.

PRK Experience- Day 5

Part 1- Pre-surgery

Part 2- Post-surgery

Part 3- day 2 and 3

Well, yesterday I got the contact taken out. Today my eyes feel much better. They still hurt a little, but not as much since the lenses are out. Tuesday's appointment was quick, but positive. My eyes are healing quite nicely, that's great news. Even better is that I'm seeing approximately 20/40. Just over 5 days ago I was seeing 20/1000, so this is fantastic!

A few more weeks before I'll feel comfortable to drive though. I don't want to do so until I'm about 20/20, just a personal choice. I'm healing quite fast, I was expecting this to go much slower and not be able to see quite as well as I can. It's really quite amazing.

My mother came with me to this visit and got a bit of an exam done for herself to see if she's a candidate for Lasik. So far they said that she is, but she goes back on Thursday for the full exam.

My next appointment is about 10 days away, so we'll see how that goes!

Today I got a card from LasikPlus that I have to keep in my wallet that says that I've had Laser Eye Surgery so my license isn't lying when it says I need corrective lenses. Which means I need to get to the DMV at some point and change my license. Joy.

They also gave me 4 refferal cards that offer $100 off a LasikPlus procedure for anyone else. This is great, but I doubt my mom will be able to use it since it expires in December. Oh well, maybe somebody else I know could benefit...doubtful though.

Still, it's a nice gesture.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Robot Kits

So I'm into futuristic things, robots and the like. I'd love to be able to build one of my own. What a world we live in where you can buy robot kits online. It's quite odd to think about and you're not going to be building the next human companion/wifebot, but it's a pretty cute idea. Don't you think?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

PRK Experience- Day 2 and 3

Part 1- Pre-surgery

Part 2- Post-surgery

First off, I expect these entries to get smaller since all the important medical hooplah is out of the way. So, hoorah! Next, i want to say that I did notice a HUGE difference right after I got out of surgery. My eyes are quite blurry still, but I can actually see what is on t.v. from farther than 2 inches away. Which is what it was when I had glasses, I'm not exaggerating, my eyes were just that bad.

Okay, Day 2. We had a follow-up appointment at 8:30, so that sucked having to wake up for that. However, the appointment took all of 15 minutes and consisted of me attempting to read an eye chart and seeing a doctor who made sure my eye was healing as planned and the contact looks good. Everything's good. My vision went from about 20/1000 to 20/80 in a day. That's not the endpoint, as I'm not expected to reach 20/20 or stabilize for months. But that's pretty damn good. I can't remember the last time I was 20/80, I suspect it was in elementary school.

Nothing else to report for the rest of the day. I haven't been straining my eyes that much, but have spent a lot of time watching t.v. and on the computer (what else is new?). Apparently, I'm experiencing haze. Which means everything kind of has a halo around it. Which makes reading on the computer somewhat hard.

So now it's day 3 and I'm finding my vision begin to worsen a bit. They told me to expect this, so no big deal. I'm following the medication instructions, 4 times a day during breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed. I'm also using the artificial tears religiously. Tear production is very important, so I'm glad that I can produce tears naturally as well, some people have a hard time doing so right after surgery.

I haven't been experiencing any pain from the surgery but today I was reminded why I hate wearing contacts. That's the pain I'm experiencing, felling the lenses in my eyes makes it a bit hard to keep them open and focus, but it's only two more days before I get them taken out. I'm not worried in the least that I'm doing something wrong, as aside from the lenses being bitchy, I feel just fine. I'm following directions, so what else can I do, right?

Well, Tuesday morning can't get here soon enough. I want these lenses out! I'm expecting my vision to get a bit worse after they're removed and from there, the roller coaster should begin. I'm still not ready to drive, not expecting that for a few weeks, but I'm also quite happy right now.

Healing from PRK takes time, but the results should be well worth it.

Next: Day 5

PRK Experience- post surgery

Part 1- Pre-surgery

Part 3 Day 2 and 3

Today is Day 3 and I've got a lot of haze going on which makes it hard for me to really see what I'm typing, but I want to get this up here before I forget. So I'll try to catch all typos and grammar errors, but please forgive me if I miss some.

A little while after my previous post I went to the LasikPlus centre. Now they told us to arrive 30 minutes before the actual appointment and be prepared to stay for up to 2 hours. We left a little early and ended up staying about an hour, so that was better than expected.

After arriving at the centre, we checked in with the receptionist/surgeon assistant. I'd like to note that there wasn't a person working in this office that didn't have scrubs on, so they were all technicians or nurses of one kind or another. It's actually quite comforting to see these people have dual jobs. At least, it's comforting to me, since it feels like everyone knows what they're talking about and has training in the Lasik field.

For those who might choose LasikPlus, they offer a great Lifetime Acuity Plan. Which means that once you sign this piece of paper, you are eligible for free enhancement surgery at any LasikPlus location. Since they're located all over the United States, it's a pretty good deal. At check-in I had to sign that and the 3 page patient condition paper. It basically tells you this is what you should expect, here's your confidentiality agreement, don't sue us because you're an idiot and can't follow basic directions, etc. Both of these papers must be signed at check-in because you need a witness (the nurse who checks you in). Something interesting to note, in some states you must provide a living will before they'll perform the surgery on you. If anyone knows what states require this, please let me know. I'm quite curious.

After that and the always depressing matter of payment, we were told to take a seat. Less than 5 minutes later, another technician came by with a little black leather purse that has LasikPlus and the doctor's name printed on white on one side. This is my "kit". In it are two kinds of medicated eye drops, a few boxes of artificial tears, sunglasses, an instruction paper and some coupons. I also got a blue haircap, which makes perfect sense. This technician took me back to one of their exam rooms to map out my eyes once agaun and explain all of the eye drops and what to expect after surgery.

Before the day of the surgery you are required to bring in one thing and one thing only, a small bottle of Vigamox eye drops. They give you the prescription on your consultation visit and expect you to have it filled. You do have to play your usual insurance copay, but that's it. Everything else is provided for you by LasikPlus.

So, we go in to the exam room, the technician explains everything to me. The three kinds of eye drops are as follows (and I don't know if the names change depending on your location/surgery/whatever but this is what they are for me):

-Vigamox-The antibiotic used to fight infection
-Acular LS- The analgesic used to minimize discomfort
-Omnipred- The steroid used to control inflammation

She explained to me that I take all three eye drops 4 times a day for 5 days. After that, I just continue to take the steroid. I'll talk about that at a later date, since it's not important right now. Anyway, along with these medicated eyedrops I need to use the artificial tears at least 4-6 times a day but really, whenever I feel uncomfortable.

I need to wear these sunglasses whenever I go outside, as I need to protect my eyes quite a bit. Not going to argue there, for the past 6 months I haven't been able to use sunglasses and it's been killing me. I miss them quite a bit.

She explained next what I should expect after surgery and what is happening to my eyes as they heal. I honestly can't remember everything that she said, and certainly not the medical terms, but basically it's this:

My eyeball shape is going to change over several weeks. At the time of surgery, it was quite oblong, as that is what happens when you have myopia (near-sightedness), So I can expect drastic fluctuations in vision. From day to day or even morning to night, my vision is going to get better, then worse, then better again. For the next 5 days, my vision will be hazy, but there will be improvement immediately (because of my horrible prescription, this improvement was major). Because the eyes are creating new cells, I need to keep my eyes wet using the artificial tears. This will prevent those new cells from flaking off and help me heal faster. Here's a pretty good diagram of what the cells healing looks like:

Because I have PRK and not Lasik surgery, I don't need to worry about sleeping with eye-cups or being very gentle with my eyes. There isn't a flap that may wrinkle or get nudged, so in that sense my healing will be much easier than Lasik patients.

After that, she had me look into a machine with a bright red shape that goes in and out of focus as she mapped my eye. I don't know exactly how it works but we had to do it multiple times for each eye, just to get everything perfect. Once that was over, it was back to the waiting room for me.

We sat there for about 10 minutes, watching the surgery room get prepped. The room itself is surrounded by glass, so anyone from the waiting room can look in and watch the surgeries take place. There isn't any privacy, but that shouldn't be an issue because you're in surgery. You're not supposed to look fabulous.

I met the doctor who will be performing my surgery. He took me into another exam room, made sure my eyes are looking good (nothing like one more check!) and then into the operating room we went.

I'll quickly summarize what goes on in PRK surgery, but here's a video of someone elses surgery that might be more helpful. This is not my surgery, and I don't know what doctor/office they used, so I can't say it's exactly the same, but pretty damn close.:

1. They apply numbing drops to my eye.
2. After a few minutes of the drop setting in, they tape back my eyelids so my eyelashes don't get in the way and put in the speculum.
3, The doctor begins to scrape off the top layer of cells using a very sharp, and very small, knife.
4. He brushes off the eye, clearing it of all debris, uses a crosshair to line up the laser.
5. The laser begins its work. You can see a pattern being displayed across the eye, the only thing that I could see, however, is a blinking red light with a ring of bright white around it. The red light is what I focus on throughout the entire surgery. The laser was on both of my eyes for 1 minute each, but it differs depending on how bad your vision is. Also, it smells like burning hair. Just an FYI

Here's where it differs from the video
6. They apply a medicated sponge to my eye for one minute. To me, it looks like frosted blue glass, but really it's a porous yellow sponge.
7. The sponge is taken off, my eye is drenched in a saline solution.
8. The bandage contact lens is applied.
9. end!

After both eyes were done, I was led into the waiting room and sat for a bit with my eyes closed. After that, the doctor took me back into the exam room to make sure everything looked good. I'm to wear these bandages contact lenses for 5 days sraight, I get them taken out on Tuesday. If one or both happen to fall out, my doctor gave me two emergency ones and told me to just put the fresh one in. If I keep up with the artificial tears, though, I shouldn't have any fall out.

He also gave me a prescription for Percoset, which is to be filled if I experience quite a bit of pain. I don't see myself getting it, since I really didn't feel any pain that day. In fact, right after surgery my eyelids where hurting, because of the tape.

We thanked him immensely and left to go home, where I would take a bit of a nap and use the medicated eyedrops every 4 hours. Thus ends the day of surgery.

Next: Day 2 and 3

Friday, June 6, 2008

PRK experience- pre surgery

Well, I'm back home. Today I'm finally get PRK (Lasik) eye surgery. I'm quite excited and plan to stay out of work for the next month or so.

There's not too much to report, just got my new Wacom tablet, which is fantastic because the last time we tried the old restarted my dad's computer...twice. We've also had some power outages here, Wednesday it lasted for at least 7 hours but it's working fine today.

I don't know what else to say. I'm just quite excited about getting new eyes in a few hours!
I hope to report on the healing time itself to help educate those that want more personal experience stories.

I've wanted Lasik surgery for many years now, ever since my dad got his eyes fixed back in 2000. My vision has quickly worsened from 1st grade on and at that moment, at 21 years of age, I'm legally blind. To measure my vision on a 20/20 scale is fairly useless, it would end up being something like 20/1000 or so, you don't really count that when you're eyes get that bad.

I've tried contacts, both gas permeable and soft lenses, but really didn't like wearing them, so I've been consistent with glasses.

I started the actual process of finding a surgeon last summer, we went to three reputable offices in the DC metro area. LasikPlus offered the best price (we get a discount because of insurance)and the most thorough exam, which is why we decided to go with them. I'm not going to mention the other two places because they were both very good offices with excellent surgeons, they just weren't right for me.

Okay, I'm a bit of different candidate for Lasik, since I have such terrible vision we didn't know which surgery to go with exactly. For those not in the know, there are several different types of laser eye surgery that cater to each person separately. At each location I got a different answer as to which type of surgery is best for me. My father, who has done quite a bit of research, went into this process with the idea that PRK ( photorefractive keratectomy) is probably the best choice as it has been in existence the longest and is great for those with larger diopters (another way to measure vision. My eyes are around 11 diopters, which is quite bad), thick corneas, and large pupils. Which somewhat describes me.

LasikPlus is the one that said that PRK would be the safest, best, operation for me. At one office, I was told I could have Lasik done, however this doesn't make sense as I wouldn't have enough eye tissue left over for other operations if I deem them necessary. The other office suggested an implantable contact lense, which is a fairly brand-new technology. This would be a lovely solution, however it is far too expensive for us. So, PRK with LasikPlus it is!

LasikPlus went through a very thorough examination at consultation. They completely mapped my eyes, dilated them, checked corneal thickness, etc. This is the longest examination I received at any of the three offices, which tells me that they seriously want to make sure I'm a good candidate and not skip over anything.

So, we take this into consideration and less than a year later we go back to LasikPlus for another consultation. This time with the intention of making an appointment.

The consultation happened on Monday, nothing changed too much, except my vision got a tad worse in my left eye (awesome >.<), but overall this is great news because I'm still a candidate. After a bit more discussion with the surgical assistant, we decided that I would go with Custom Wavefront Laser Surgery. Which utilizes wavefront technology, the most accurate analyser available to the general public. NASA developed it for use in high-powered telescopes.

This is still PRK surgery, so I'm prepared to have a much longer healing time than most lasek patients. While the eye heals itself, my vision will go up and down, so for about 30-60 days I won't have consistent vision. At least, this is what I am told to expect, we all know that each person heals differently. Which is why I don't know how comfortable I'll be driving. The good news? I can watch t.v. or be on the computer as much as I want! Video games ahoy!

Anyway, I think that's a pretty good background for this procedure I'm about to go through. Today, my surgery day, all I have to do is show up without makeup or perfume (yeah...hard concept for me, seeing as how I rarely wear either) and the anaesthetic eyedrops they prescribed for me on Monday. I might go through the entire exam process again, but since it happened on Monday, I'm not sure. I imagine most of my time will be spent sitting around waiting for the doctor to finish with other patients. Both parents are coming with me and they'll be able to see the surgery itself. Each eye should take around 15-30 seconds to complete, so that part of it will be quite quick.

After the surgery, I'll come home and rest for a while so I don't think I'll update this again. Tomorrow I'll have my first follow-up visit, so hopefully that will go well and I may be able to update depending on my focusing ability. They did say that immediately I will notice a difference in sight, but I don't know how much better I'll be able to see.

So, after all of that, am I nervous? Not really. I'm not the type to squirm at blood or guts or any sort of surgical procedure. I understand all the risks that come with elective surgery but the pros for me far outweigh the cons. If I stay like this, I can only imagine how far my vision will depreciate by the time I'm 40. I understand that everyone's vision gets worse as we age, and that I may not get 20/20 (though that's what they're aiming for), but if I can get a new starting point that would be great. When my vision deteriorates after the surgery, I'll still end up with a much smaller prescription, if I don't just need basic reading glasses. Really, that is great news.

LasikPlus offers free enhancements for life as well, so at any point if my vision get's worse I can go back and get another surgery. Not that I hope that will happen, but if it does, by the time I get it technology will have progressed and who knows what I'll have to choose from.

Okay, I should probably get ready to go at this point. Wish me luck!

EDIT: here's a video that kind of is a nice introduction to Lasik and PRK:

Next: Post-surgery

Part 2, post surgery

Part 3 Day 2 and 3

Wise Names

Ah manga, a most popular style of comics that has taken the western world by storm. I am a big fan of manga, I've been reading it for quite a long while, and I probably know more about that universe than Marvel or DC. In recent years I stopped buying manga, mainly because I just can't keep up with all the new series that come out and a lot of them just don't appeal to me. It feels like the creativity is lacking, and we end up with new series that are just generic ghosts of older, better, manga. Just my opinion though, take it as you will.

I do rather like the art for Bleach, though, a great little manga turned anime that has a feature film coming out on June 11-12 in US theatres. Bleach the Movie and other anime and manga always offer up some fantastically odd/cool names of characters. Often with Japanese pop culture the name of a character means more than just words, a lot of names have traditional meanings that can tell the background or true character of a person. For example, Ichigo Kurosaki, from Bleach, means “First Guardian” or “He who protects.”

It is quite fun to come up with your own manga name. I did do that many years ago when I was in the peak of my anime obsession. I went with "Michiru Ko", which is taken from the popular manga, Sailor Moon. Michiru Ko basically translates to "mature child", which, now that I look at it, actually was kind of fitting. I was the most mature kid among my group of friends and knew how to take charge of a situation. I also provided the most logical answers, so, funny enough, that name actually suited me quite well.

I may be past my anime dork-phase for the most part but I still enjoy the memories quite a bit. Coming up with your own identity is very important in a kid's life, and if you have to do it via a creative anime or manga like Bleach or Sailor Moon, then so be it. As long as you don't get stuck in that dreamworld and learn to mature and move on, you'll probably end up a better person in the end.

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