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small blue square More health complaints - I'm really falling apart. I think I've pulled a muscle in my chest, or back. What was weird was how I felt it developing, like being stabbed slowly, just as I got up early this morning - it was very similar to a temporary ache/pain episode from a couple years back. That time it happened while I was running on the treadmill - sudden, severe pain which didn't seem related to any of the muscular areas one exercises while jogging. Right then I had to stop working out, and didn't feel completely normal (ie pain-free) again for a few weeks; but just like my more common strain or pulled-muscle episodes <1> the pain eventually receded. This time, being an early morning wake-up, I went along to the gym anyway, and didn't feel constrained. (The treadmills were engaged; I had to use the Versa-Climber instead.) It's damned annoying, and even scary, but it's muscular, not pulmonary - I gotta believe the doctor's recent assessment of my lungs' health (although the obvious symptom is slight pain while inhaling, in addition to a general interior ache). I did make a medical appointment today, but not for that - this is for a return visit to the podiatrist - one of the plantar warts he removed with the laser has returned.

small cyan square Phone call with G at work today - possibilities exist for his coming out here for a couple months' TDY work, but nothing's firm as yet. He gave me more details about his & D's Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans, where he had an encounter with that region's dreaded fire ants.

small red square This weekend I should buy several family Christmas presents, but since I can't figure out what to get, instead I'm planning on seeing art up in the city, and movies; and to buy new bike wheels. The hope is the ideal gifts will appear as I do these other things. D thinks my present for my sister K is entirely inappropriate and must be augmented, although I bought it in Germany just for her. (Tools are seldom considered acceptable gifts among women; I find it difficult to understand why.)

small yellow square When I got home I listened to some Motown:

... you feel that you can't go on
Because all of your hope is gone
And your life is filled with much confusion
Until happiness is just an illusion
And your world around is crumbling down...
...for reasons of nostalgic regret which I won't detail here, these sounds can really bum me out, which happened this time too. However I'd been thinking about that animated Czech/French film "Fantastic Planet" ("La Planète Sauvage"), and when I checked this weekend's listings, behold: there it was, opening today, a 25th anniversary re-release. I had to drive on down to the San Jose "Towne" cinema this very evening. The other two places I saw this film were the "art houses" of Washington: the "Janus" and the (closed for years) "Cerebrus" <3>. That first screening was quite inscrutable - I talked T into seeing it with me upon its initial release, and the version we saw was so new it didn't even have sub-titles - a weird experience for both of us, who spoke no French. A little later I saw it again with U's sister; then we did get subtitles so I understood almost everything going on. This screening, I had full comprehension (even of the stray French phrase) and best of all by the time it was over my new chest-pain had receded almost entirely. There were previews, but I missed all except the last, which I've forgotten. Did catch the short opening film "L'esgargot", apparently now a traditional accompaniment to the strange planet, but I'd never seen its weirdness before.

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small white square Today's phrase that stays:

Compulsory Leisure For Workaholics
 ...from this essay by Bruce Sterling.

TDY - Temporary Duty
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<1> These happen in the lower back - they usually occur when I'm bending over - a sharp, sudden pain back there, which rapidly decreases to just a slight ache unless my movements reach certain areas or limits - then it hurts! - a stabbing pain. Lots of stretching aides in the recovery, and I think a lack of exercise and stretching of the effected muscles is the root cause of all this.

<2> "Reach Out I'll Be There", the Four Tops, 1966

<3> Our town's first multi-plexes, back then a novel pleasure - their small spaces cozy and intimate, with carpeting underfoot.