A Minor Inconvenience

Right now we’re trapped on the third floor.  Okay, technically we’re not trapped, but 3 men have ripped out all of the carpet on the first and second floor and are currently engaged in some serious noise making.  Hopefully this means we will have new hardwood floors by the end of day tomorrow.  We shoved all of our living room furniture into the dining room last night, in preparation for what was supposed to be a 7:30 AM start time this morning.  Around 7:15 we received a voicemail informing us that the crew had to finish another job this morning and wouldn’t be arriving until 11:00 or 12:00.  Of course this meant they showed up just before 1:00.  So it’s not off to a brilliant start.  It’s supposed to be a 2 day job or less, but I’m not sure if that requires a 7:30 AM start on both days.

Our third floor is more equipped for sleeping than hanging out.  Two ensuite bedrooms take up most of the space.  Even I can only hang out in bed for so long.  Especially with all the banging.  Fortunately, we do have an extra wide landing area, which we saw fit to equip with a comfortable armchair and small desk.  The original thought was to provide a little semi-private space for guests.  The guest bedroom is only big enough to fit the bed and a pair of nightstands, so this is sort of an overflow area suitable for reading or working on a computer.  It also gives us a spot for a “real” workstation, because a laptop can get a little limiting at times.  It was a lifesaver when I did the final proofing on my latest photobook.  I caught a few cropping issues that I never would have noticed on my laptop.

Wait, did I hear a saw for a second?  That almost sounded like real work.  The guy with the truck had to run out and get the glue (something they were supposed to do 2 weeks ago) and I was starting to think that the remaining two guys were just sitting on the floor and making banging noises to create the illusion of work.  In theory, it shouldn’t matter how long this takes, since we are paying for a finished job and not by the hour.  But as a practical matter, maintaining sanity while being confined to a relatively small space is something best left to astronauts and prison inmates.  I’m not really aspiring to be either.

Thanks, I Think

Hopefully everyone survived the Thanksgiving holiday more or less intact.  I think it’s one of those love it or hate it holidays.  Although that’s probably true for most holidays, they tend to bring out strong emotions in everyone.  People with dysfunctional families tend to dread holiday get-togethers.  Thanksgiving doesn’t have the disaster potential that most gift giving occasions do, but there’s still the peril that comes when people overeat and drink, giving them an excuse to start pushing each others’  buttons.  And nobody knows how to push your buttons like your nearest and dearest.

I can’t say I have any epically bad holiday memories.  No drunken leering uncles or sloppy kissing aunts.  Most of my childhood holiday memories are pretty happy.  Utterly and completely dull.  Certainly nothing to blog about.  Sooo, what to write about?  I could write about things I’m thankful for, but that’s sappy at best and sort of braggy at worst.  So I’ll take a pass on that as well.  I could do something sarcastic about things I’m not thankful for, but it’s too easy to cross the line into obnoxious.  Besides, I’m pleasantly full of turkey rice soup and it’s making me kind of sleepy.  Not really the right frame of mind for sarcastic commentary.

I did hit two milestones today, which is making me feel quite smug and full of myself.  First, and most importantly, I finished my photo book.  WOO HOO!  That had pretty much occupied the majority of my time since we returned from Minnesota on Monday night.  To say it feels like 50 pounds off my back would be an understatement.  I’ve managed multi-million dollar software projects that were less stressful than doing this book.  I have gone over it with tweezers and a microscope, looking for flaws.  I’m sure I’ll find at least one in the printed version.  But for the sake of my sanity, I have to let it go.

My other accomplishment was completing my Christmas shopping.  Sure, I’m still waiting on a few things that are in transit and I have to buy a few gift cards, but the real work is done.  I even started wrapping today, something I usually do at the last minute.  So all in all, it’s been a great day.

Now I just have to start working off the 5 pounds of turkey.

A couple more of my detail photos from the book.

Answer Spam Part 4

Last post on spam comments.  (For now, anyway)

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Thanks, I think.

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Pretty sure you’ve never written anything close to one of my posts.  Nice try.

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I didn’t say I was looking anything.  If I was, it wouldn’t be called graphic bomb.

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So do I.  So do I.

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Feck off then.

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Twisted brain.  Nuff said.

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I guess that makes you stupid, Tilburg.

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Step 1 – install WordPress  Step 2 – start blogging  Feel free to express your gratitude by sending me large amounts of cash in small, unmarked bills.

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No.  All content is owned by me.  Copy anything and I’ll sue your ass.

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So do you like it genuinely or truly?  Make up your damn mind.

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Maybe.  If I actually used links.

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Glad you like my wite.

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I. Hate. Cold. Weather.  Can’t make it any clearer than that.  Say, do you know Tilburg?

And for the grand finale, we have 2 nearly identically and yet bizarrely different comments from same email address:

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Both leave me speechless.

Answer Spam Part 3

My post on Starbucks seems to have generated the most spam comments, I’m assuming they used a keyword search.

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You’re doing a project on Starbucks and you found my snarky post to be useful?  Good luck with the fact checking on that.

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New coffee resources?  Starbucks is new to you?  What planet are you visiting from?

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I’m going to take a wild guess here – you work in the marketing department for Starbucks?

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I never dreamed I’d become such on authority on Starbucks, based on one blog post.  PS – if this is typical of your writing, I’m predicting you will fail this class.

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Actually, you can thank WordPress.  This layout is right out of the box.

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I’m a huge admirer of your incredibly mangled writing.  Please don’t inspire every human being to bookmark my site – it can’t handle that kind of traffic.

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Don’t study it too closely.  It may rot your brain.

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The only related articles are in my head.  I don’t like to comment people my brain.

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No, I didn’t mention that.  What the hell blog were you reading?

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I hope you didn’t hurt yourself when you stumbled upon my blog.  I’d hate to get sued.

Answer Spam Part 2

My responses to more spam comments.

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I eagerly anticipate your return.

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You have a college assignment about flying to Miami to see the Indy Car season finale?  What a crazy coincidence!  Glad I could help.

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That’s really spooky, it almost seems like you actually read my post (Home Away From Home).  Wait, I bet you used a key word search to find posts mentioning Phoenix.  Sneaky devil.

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You know how I love to share informations.  Bookmark away!

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It’s a pleassure to be read.

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The really amazing part is that I essentially make seriously articles by doing research almost exclusively inside my own head.  It does make fact checking a real bitch.

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Thank yiu for reading.  Can’t say much about the spelling.

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One of the best bloggers?  You must not spend much time on the internet.

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I prefer not to steal any camera gear, lest I get arrested. (go with Canon)

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I don’t know Cornelius, but with a name like that, I doubt he’s the greatest at anything.

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From inside my own twisted mind.  That way no one can steal my material

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Okay, that’s just weird.

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Wow, you’re a real suck-up.  Glad you think my internet is wonderful.

I fully support all efforts to conserve, reuse and recycle – and it should be something that the whole nation should be doing – NOW!

That’s nice.  Start your own damn blog about it and get off of mine.

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it!

I’m pretty sure no one would pay me to write a book about this crap.  Only my mother would buy a copy.

Hi, Thanks for the great code. What am trying to do is I am trying to use this gridview in master/details application. I have created 2 tabs in the first tab i see master table fields and in the second tab am trying to setup this gridview with add/edit/delete functionality. I am already done with majority of the task but am getting the following error while at design time: Cannot implicitly convert type ‘void’ to ‘object’ AND at runtime am getting: CS1525: Invalid expression term ‘)’. I can surely help with the code if needed.

I didn’t understand any of that.

This was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

Tell it to your shrink.

Answer Spam Part 1

Since we’ll be driving back to Phoenix on Sunday and Monday, I thought I’d queue up a couple more Spam commentary posts to keep you amused while I’m offline.  I put the Spam in italics for clarity, but really it’s not necessary because if I started writing like they do, you would be sending men in white coats to pick me up.

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No, thank you for sucking up to me.  It feeds my voracious ego.

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success.

Wow, how profound.  Not sure how that relates to my blog, but thanks for the insight.

i’m making use of oprea web-browser

It might work better if you knew how to spell it correctly.

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Glad to know that my aimless rambling is useful to you.  Could you please tell me what field you think I’m in?

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I don’t waste my time playing mindless computer games.  I waste it writing blog posts.

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Oh please, tell me what you’re going to do.  The suspense is killing me.

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Great!  Let me know what you think after you check “it” out, whatever “it” is.



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Glad to know I included required Facts in my random thoughts.  Please return my guide when you finish with it.

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Awww.  You made me blush.

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A prime resource?  Now I’m really blushing.

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Oh, you’ll see plenty more about this.

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Funny, it works on my iPhone.  Must be user error.  I can’t really help you with that.

Hi there! Is it alright that I go a bit off topic? I am trying to view your website on my iPad but it doesn’t display properly, do you have any suggestions? Thanks for the help I hope!

Maybe you should talk to Angel.  You seem to have a lot in common.

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Could you people at least write some unique text when you’re fishing for my email address?

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Wow, you’re the second person who finds my ascendancy profoundly much an ardour.  I hope it’s not anything contagious.


My blog spam took a new turn for the bizarre a few months ago.  I started getting comments in Russian, Cyrillic alphabet and all.  So, just for fun, I’ve tried translating some of them online.  Here are a few examples with my responses:

Original version:  Отличная статья! большое спасибо автору за интересный материал. Удачи в развитии!!!

Translation: Excellent Article!  Thank you very much the author for the interesting material. Good luck in development!!!

I would be flattered if I was naive enough to think you actually read what I wrote.  Nice try though.

Original version: Кстати http://shockeds.ru/9483-hosted_theync_com_37.html я нашел это видео и весь день ржал )) для сайта justjacque.com

Translation: By the way http://shockeds.ru/9483-hosted_theync_com_37.html I found this video and all day ржал)) for the site justjacque.com

Wow, you found a video for my site, how nice.  Too bad I don’t use video and I’m not stupid enough to click on your link.  (Apparently ржал doesn’t translate well.  Probably a naughty word anyway.)

Original version:  Здравствуйте justjacque.com У меня есть проблема. У меня сайт учебной тематики про Рефераты и я хочу создать блог где будут собиратся новости с других блогов по рсс ленте.  Вопрос – можно ли я буду брать у вас новости 1-3 в неделю если они новые. ? Аудитория будущего блога люди 13-22 лет.

Translation: Good day justjacque.com from me there is a problem. I have web-site training of about referats and I want a блог where will собиратся news from other: the CCF tape. Question: Can I shall take you News 1-3 in a week if they are new. ? Audience future disk people 13-22 years.

I’m sorry you have a problem.  Unfortunately I don’t know what referats are and my online translator crapped out on блог and собиратся, so I’m afraid I can’t really help you.  Maybe you should try writing in English next time, since you must know it if you’re reading my blog.

Original version: Я не нашла гостевой поэтому пишу тут. Какой толк от регистрации у вас если можно писать комментарии сразу на новости ?

Translation: I have not been guest therefore write here. What is of registration for you if you could write comments immediately on news?

Hmm, I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume that you’re asking what it takes to get comments posted.  It takes a human being actually reading what I wrote and making a legitimate comment on it.  Pretty simple really.  Oh, did I mention the comment needs to be written in English?

Original version: У вас только 1 сайт – “justjacque.com” и все ?

Translation: You have only 1 site – “justjacque. about and all?

Yes, just the one site.  I’m not a robot and I’m not trying to make money doing this.

Original version:  Привет. Скажите пожалуйста как сделать так что на главной была короткая запись а не полный анонс статьи. Вот у вас я смотрел на главной http://www.justjacque.com лишь часть статьи а у меня она полная и читать неудобно.

Translation: Hello. Please tell me how to make that the main was short record rather than full Annensky, Innokenty article. That is you I looked at the main http://www.justjacque.com only part of the article and for me it full and read inconvenient.

Not familiar with Annensky, Innokenty article but it sounds like you’re complaining that you can’t see a full post.  Too bad you’re not a real person and I don’t help spambots.

Original version: Хотелось бы читать ГРАМОТНЫЙ текст! В словарях, например, пишется «ЕДИНИЦА». Слегка омерзительно читать тексты с подобными ошибками!

Translation: Would like to read literate text! In a dictionary, for example, goes «единица». Slightly омерзительно read texts with such errors!

Are you implying that my text is not literate?  How nice that your dictionary goes «единица», mine doesn’t.  I don’t know from омерзительно, but my read texts are without errors.

Original version: Красивый сайт мне понравился !

Translation: Beautiful site I liked!

Now that’s better.  At least your BS is polite.  Thanks!

And finally, one post in German (translated version only):

Hey, I found your site is at Yahoo. You really a class web site, will be the one or other times dropping here! Your Posts are also real top! Love Gruss

Why thanks, Gruss.  I look forward to you one or other times dropping here.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday.  Everybody say, “Happy Birthday Mom!”  Mom thanks you.  I’d ask you to sing, but I’m pretty sure most of you have lousy voices.  It’s not a milestone birthday, that comes next year when my mom turns 70.  Wow, that makes me feel old.  Now, I know what you’re thinking – it’s rude to put my mom’s age out on the internet.  But really, she gets a big kick out of telling everyone she’s almost 70.  So I figure it’s okay for me to put it out there for my tiny blog audience.  Since our little trip back to Minnesota conveniently overlapped her birthday, I took my mom out to lunch today.  Actually I would have done that anyway, but it was nice to get some birthday points for it.  I found a really funny card back in August, when I was looking for a birthday card for my brother and I set it aside for my mom.  The cover has a cartoon of a woman sitting in a bathtub drinking a glass of wine with a comment about getting over the stress of another birthday by taking a hot bath and having a glass of wine.  The inside reads “Of course if that doesn’t work you’ll just be a drunk old broad with really wrinkly feet.”  My mom found it hilarious, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about her sense of humor.

Mom doesn’t really like getting “stuff” for gifts anymore.  Meaning pretty but not useful things like jewelry.  Spending time with her is the best gift, so in the past I’ve taken her to shows when there was something good in town.  We’ve seen 4 different Cirque Du Soleil shows, Bare Naked Ladies, Blue Man Group and Tap Dogs.  Lunch and the card would have been more than enough, but I also bought her a Stomp DVD and The Complete Sussman Lawrence CD.  She knew Peter Himmelman back in her theater days (she acted in a play with his girlfriend) so she got a big kick out of that.  We also shopped for her Christmas present – a new pair of red eyeglasses from Costco.  The frames are a lower end version of some crazy expensive handmade in Paris ones that I have.  (The pair with lenses at Costco were half of what I paid for just frames)  She’s been having trouble with her contacts lately, so she has been wearing glasses exclusively for the past few weeks.  It’s a difficult adjustment after wearing contacts for over 45 years.  But  nothing will brighten your attitude like an awesome pair of glasses (don’t ask how many I have) so it seemed like a good reason to get her a new pair.  Plus it knocks another Christmas gift off my list (halfway done there).

It was a fun and relaxing day.  Happy birthday, Mom!

I Hate Cold Weather

Oh the insanity!  After nearly 3 weeks of sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s, we drove back to Minnesota.  This wasn’t some mad impulse.  We realized as we were packing to drive down at the end of October that it wasn’t going to be possible to fit everything we wanted to bring in the car.  So instead of stressing out about it and trying to make arbitrary decisions about what was absolutely essential and what wasn’t, we just decided that we would make another trip (in our larger, Phoenix based vehicle – a Nissan Xterra).  Most of this stems from our decision to spend the majority of the next 6 months in what was intended to be a “vacation” home.  So now all of the camera gear needs to be there, along with a lot of reading material, additional clothing, a good supply of wine, etc.  Plus we have a really nice Oriental rug that we don’t have room for in our Minnesota house.  Now that we’re putting hardwood floors down in Phoenix, I realized it would look great there.  And so it goes…

It gave us some time in Phoenix to think about what else we might need or want there.  It seemed like every few days something else would occur to me, so I would just jot it down.  Of course I have to be careful not to get too ambitious about what we can fit on this trip, lest I put myself back in the same situation.  We had commitments in Phoenix through the 16th, so we planned our departure for early morning on the 17th.  We were on the road pretty close to 6:30 AM and put in over 18 1/2 hours the first day.  Our GPS wanted us to take the northern route, through Colorado, so we ignored it and kept heading east on 40 out of Albuquerque.  Usually it will adjust fairly quickly once it realizes you have deviated from the originally suggested route, but for some reason it was incredibly persistent in trying to make us exit and start heading north toward Santa Fe.  Which is irritating because the voice keeps interrupting your music while it calmly tells you over and over to take the next exit and then the next one.  It’s also puzzling, because the time and mileage difference between going east then north vs. north then east is trivial.  So we shut it off and re-entered the destination, hoping it would choose a new route based on our having long passed the turn north.

And it finally did, but not exactly the one we expected.  The simple way is to stay on 40 until it hits 35, which is not the most direct path but it keeps you on the interstate.  I always operated on the assumption that it was better to stay on the interstate, unless it added a lot of extra miles to your route.  The speed limits are higher and you get two lanes, so passing is theoretically easier.  It turns out you can cut out 110 miles by taking a state highway from Tucumcari, NM to Wichita instead of staying on the interstate.  Who knew?  A lot of truckers, apparently, since that is most of the traffic we saw along the route.  We saved time and enjoyed some different scenery.  Plus had the added bonus of seeing a coyote cross the highway and the biggest raptor I have ever seen (excluding a bald eagle) sitting on the shoulder.  He didn’t even flinch when we drove by.  The only down side was a general lack of services along the way, but if you have a big gas tank and plenty of food in the car, it’s a great way to go.

OUCH (not for the squeamish)

I am a complete and total spaz.  Our bedroom dresser has an awesome feature – the top three drawers all have velvet covered inserts that lift out.  This makes it perfect for storing jewelry and I have way too much freakin’ jewelry.  It’s a completely awesome dresser in all other respects, but this little extra put it over the top for me.  I had to have it immediately, so we bought the floor model at the furniture store.  The two side drawers have small inserts that slide back and forth, so it’s relatively easy to get to the stuff underneath.  The insert in the center drawer is enormous  (24″ x 12″) and it needs to be lifted out in order to get to anything underneath.  (Yes, there is more jewelry underneath, did you really need to ask?)  I was hunting for something in the bottom of the drawer and instead of lifting the section out and setting it on top of the dresser, which is the sane and rational thing to do, I cheated by balancing it on the front of the drawer.

Do you need to ask what happened?  Of course as I was reaching for the desired item, I lost my grip on the insert and it fell to the floor.  Did I mention that the insert is made of wood and weighs just under 8 pounds?  (Yes, I put it on the dam scale)  So of course it didn’t just drop to the floor, it landed on my foot.  Specifically on the bone in my foot that connects to my big toe.  I now know what people mean when they talk about seeing stars.  My whole field of vision went white for a split second.  Then I was pretty much laying on the floor in agony while trying to pick up all of the jewelry that went flying.  I have a pretty high tolerance for pain but I don’t really like to test it out too often.

My propensity for self injury has become rather legendary over the years.  I have some pretty wicked scars on my left elbow and knee from the infamous scooter accident of ‘o3.  The best part was trying to mop up the blood and get ready for the cab that was coming to take us to the airport in 45 minutes.  (Leaving Phoenix to return to Minneapolis)  Nothing like flying with blood oozing through your shirt.  And of course there was the butter knife incident in ’95.  I wasn’t aware it was actually possible to cut your finger with a butter knife.  That was a serious amount of blood.  My then boyfriend (now husband) made me the cutest little finger splint so I could type without it hurting.

But I think one of the worst incidents was in ’06 when I took off most of the tip of my right middle finger in St. Goar, Germany.  We were checking out of our hotel and hauling heavy bags down a staircase and through the exterior door.  The  door was notorious for sticking so my husband told me not to shut it.  Of course I did it anyway and caught my finger between the door and the jamb.  It really made holding my camera awkward for the rest of the trip.  I was a little afraid I would end up with an ugly bump at the end of my finger when it finally healed, but it turned out there was so little flesh left connected that eventually the whole piece came off.  At that point the skin underneath had healed, so you can’t even tell I injured it.  Apparently fingers are pretty resilient.

Ironically, I’ve never broken any bones and I’ve only had stitches because of some minor surgery.  Although I probably could have used them on a few other occasions.  This history of self injury goes back pretty far.  There was an incident with a lamp post when I was 5, one with a pine tree when I was 8 (my most impressive scar) and one with a folding lawn chair when I was 10.  The first two involved climbing and losing my grip and the last one was a furniture jumping thing.  Point being, I didn’t get crazy stupid impulsive recently, it’s an inherent personality flaw.  Hopefully I’ll settle down a little before I get to an age where I have a high probability of breaking bones.

In the meantime I’ll just enjoy watching my foot turn pretty colors.