Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

The nerve of that guy!

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

A comment that updates & expands the “Partial Social Media Bankruptcy” note I offered at Facebook & Twitter. To wit, it’s likely to be even “less of the web” for a few days, weeks or possibly months.

The title’s significance may become evident.

Wednesday, August 2

My wife went in for (planned and very much needed) carpal tunnel release surgery, which meant her right/dominant hand would be in a lower-arm/hand splint for a week, then a removable splint for another week. Basically one-handed…and that hand needs different attention later. Oh, and with thumb arthritis issues on the other hand to be addressed at a later date.

I figured I’d step back from stuff and spend as much time as needed providing a helping hand. (We also purchased an Etak Deluxe One-Handed Paring Board with Rocker Knife, and it’s a marvelous device for one-handed paring, peeling, opening jars, and lots more. Highly recommended.) Anyway…

I was just a little unsteady to & from the outpatient clinic; I attributed this to getting up VERY early.

Thursday, August 3

She’d done so much advance preparation–and the Etak is such a great device–that she didn’t need very much help. But she noticed a little continuing instability in my walk, and I noticed that I had white noise in my right ear. At dinner, she said “Smile” and informed me that the right side of my mouth was drooping. Fortunately, I passed the other “911 he’s stroking out” tests [e.g. holding arms out straight, touching nose with finger, etc.,) so we agreed that if it wasn’t better Friday morning I should call my doctor.

Friday, August 4

It wasn’t better. It was somewhat worse. I called to make an appointment. My primary care doctor wasn’t in on Friday; when I described my symptoms to the receptionist, she had me on hold for a few seconds, then said “Go to the emergency room.” Not quite “call 911” but “get in here now.”

We went to ER. After initial tests, the ER doctor thought it looked like Bell’s palsy, but wanted to check with a neurologist–as it happens, the neurologist who tested for nerve conductivity in the nerve damaged an March 2016 (when I had a Schwannoma, a benign nerve sheath tumor, removed from my right forearm). She didn’t find any, and the last three fingers of my right hand still can’t be lifted when the wrist’s steady or lifted–I’m now a seven-fingered typist. But that was 2016.

Now, after an MRI,  she discussed the symptoms, tried a couple quick tests, and thought it was more likely to be a minor stroke. And wanted me to stay overnight and get more tests…

A ultrasound/echocardiogram, neck ultrasound, second MRI with contrast, and an odd night (including alerting nurses when the person in the other bed fell on his way to the bathroom–at 3 a.m.) later… and, of course, my wife driving to & from the hospital twice, with one arm barely mobile…

Saturday, August 5

Symptoms… drooping mouth a little worse, drooping right eyelid, and–as it turns out–blinking doesn’t fully shut the right eyelid, and I can’t shut just that eyelid at all. After looking at these, reviewing the various tests, reviewing the second MRI especially, etc., they conclude that the first diagnosis was right: Bell’s palsy, “a nerve disorder that usually happens suddenly and without warning.” No clear cause, but usually a virus, such as a cold sore (a flareup of herpes simplex).

And yes, going to ER was appropriate, because the symptoms are similar to those of a stroke. Fortunately, Bell’s palsy is “rarely serious” and usually subsides in a few weeks without treatment. But one aspect of it–one eyelid not working properly–means the eye needs to be kept closed so it doesn’t dry out and damage the cornea, and with one eye closed there’s no depth perception, and so no driving (and the instability’s not quite gone, another issue even for walking). [Also probably the only connection I’ll ever have to Angelina Jolie: she supposedly had Bell’s palsy.]

I’m on prednisone and valtrex [respectively corticosteroid and antiviral], both for a week, and finally on baby aspirin forever, like most older men. I’d assumed that I’d finally lose my old status of  being over 70, male, and *not* on any continuing prescription drugs, but since it’s not a stroke and y cholesterol panel and other results were fine, I may retain that odd status for a while longer.

And beyond…

So does the post title make sense now? Seems like when  I do have problems they’re nerve-related

For the nonce, I’m spending much less time online and much more time resting, listening to music with my eyes closed, and of course helping my wife (she could only prepare veggies etc. so far ahead, so come tomorrow I’ll start learning/practicing more food prep. Cheerfully.)

I may not be around much. Haven’t read any tweets or status since early Friday morning and won’t even think about catching up. Some day, it will be better…

Oh, by the way: keeping one eye closed did not earn me the Dread Pirate Walt badge. The patch with a strap protects the eye from light but does nothing to keep the eye closed. I’m using boring combinations of gauze pads and adhesive eye patches (my beady little eyes are too sunken for the adhesive patch to work by itself): not dashing, but seems to work. And lots of eye drops and closing both eyes frequently for the break periods in which I get to use both eyes.

In case it’s not obvious: this–my situation and my wife’s–is a damn nuisance but a temporary one. No sympathy requested or required, and certainly not comparable to ongoing ability issues!

[Special thanks to my wife–39 great years and counting–and my brother and sister-in-law.]

Now I’m gonna go check on a couple of things and log off.


Update, Wednesday August 8:

So how’s it going?

Well…

Tuesday 3 a.m.: When you’re a little unstable and wearing an eyepatch and going to bed, maybe it’s not the ideal time to resume every-other-night wearing of a full-hand right resting splint…

…and getting up in the middle of the night for the usual reason, not sitting long enough, heading for the step up in the (all tiled) area near the door, noticing (I did have a flashlight) you’re too close, reaching out on the side you can’t see (eyepatch) with the hand that’s really a cloth-covered slab to steady yourself…

…kaboom, not falling badly but managing to hit forehead just above (left) eye on door on the way down. Wife appropriately upset, cleaned up bloody hands (not really that much blood, but), had a “911?” conversation, assured ourselves no concussion, no broken bones, not even any blood or serious bumps other than the one.

Was admonished NOT TO GET UP without waking my wife, who guided me Tuesday early. The wound was narrow but deep and not really bleeding, so we checked urgent care hours, then I called my regular doctor (just down the hall), who had an opening a couple hours after urgent care would have opened.

Saw her. She was great. Didn’t need to add sutures. Did provide excellent suggestion on stability–and as it turns out we already have a cane.

So I’m bloodied and bowed, moving slowly with right hand on a cane. *Not* wearing eye patch during the day (closing eyes at least once a minute, and the blink’s getting better). Won’t be driving for a bit longer. Everything takes 2-3 times as long, and resting a LOT. As I should. Other symptoms actually improving (I can furrow both sides of my brow, my smile is less ghastly, the blink is at least halfway there)–but gait/stability problems were first to show and probably last to go. Feeling like a weary little old man, but then again…

How many times?

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

I see yet another OA conference is happening (I’ve never been to one, probably never will be, and that’s OK.) My question, after seeing some tweeted photos: How many times during the conference will gold OA be equated with APCs? Dozens? Hundreds?

Maybe a better question: How often will somebody mention gold OA and explicitly note that most gold OA journals (and 43% of articles in 2016) do NOT involve APCs?

Now! with HTTPS (but not fully secure yet)

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Thanks to Blake Carver’s assistance, I’m pleased to note that all three of my sites–

Walt at Random

Cites & Insights

WaltCrawford.name

–now support secure (https) connections.

At least for now, and possibly for some time to come, these sites will connect via https: but be flagged as having insecure content, because some links within the sites are http: links.

On Firefox, that means a little orange warning sign in front of the secure-site lock.

On Chrome, you get an info icon rather than the “Secure” message. I can assure youthat none of these sites care about your location, try to use your camera or microphone or any of the other things Chromewarns about.

On Edge, you just don’t get the lock icon.

I have no idea when (or whether) all links will be changed to https. Ifthat includes links within these blog posts, “never” may be the answer.

All times are UTC

Friday, January 13th, 2017

I use Chrome as my default browser while researching journals, because it makes it so easy to use the Google language tools to translate pages. Almost always, I can use the translation–and occasionally, as with Italian author guides, the translation has the feel of free verse.

Then there’s this–just encountered when checking
Herakleion : Revista Interdisciplinar de Historia y Arqueología del Mediterráneo, a Spanish journal.

One of the tabs is
Normas de Publicación
(which I already recognize as “publication norms” or author guidelines).
Translating the page yielded this:
All times are UTC
which is an…interesting…translation.

And no doubt true.

Adding a new category for W.a.R. posts

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

I’ve just added an Important New Category for posts that offer my superior wisdom to those who have thought about something on their own, especially when those people lacking The Truth are women.

The new category is “Actually…”

Check back periodically to catch up on “Actually…” posts.

If I behave as I believe is appropriate, checking back once a month year decade should be sufficient.

[Updated a bit later: The real reason for the category and this post is to remind me when I’m on the verge of something like mansplaining, that it’s almost always a bad and pointless idea.]

The new Mikado

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Yesterday, we saw the closing performance of the Lamplighters’ production of The New Mikado: Una Commedia Musicale! at Livermore’s first-rate Bankhead Theater.

It was excellent.

Set in Tirmisu, a sweet little town near Renaissance Milan (and ruled by Milan’s emperor, Il Ducato, who aims to make the punishment fit the crime), it tells the complicated story of Niccolu, son of Il Ducato but disguised as a wandering minstrel (or second trombone in Tirmisu’s municipal band), Amiam, his beloved, and how love eventually conquers…nah, you can’t really recount the plot.

What? Renaissance Milan?

Yep. I’m sure you can find material on why the Lamplighters staged this production. (We saw their production of The Mikado a few years back. It was also excellent.) I won’t dwell on that. I’ll just say the commedia dell’arte-style production (including street entertainers before the curtain and actors reacting to scenery changes involving trees being lifted out of or restored into the scene) was absolutely first-rate. Mason Gates was especially good, but others–including F. Lawrence Ewing as Coco–weren’t far behind.

Sigh. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the Lamplighters won’t visit Livermore for the rest of the 2016-2017 season.

 

How terribly strange…

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

I can only reasonably use the post title above for one more month, so this is as good a time as any. If you don’t get the reference, you may not be a S&G fan.

Semi-appropriate sidebar 1: For Paul Simon, it was more than four years ago.

The more significant item this year: the Fourth Official Sign of Growing Old in the U.S.:

  1. More than 20 years ago: AARP eligibility.
  2. More than five years ago: Medicare eligibility.
  3. More than four years ago: full Social Security eligibility.
  4. This year: Turning seventy-and-a-half.

If you don’t get that fourth one, you’re either much younger or don’t have a 401(k) or 403(b): this is when the government says “if you don’t take it, we will”–not unreasonably.

Semi-appropriate sidebar 2: For Sir Elton Hercules John (or Reginald Kenneth Dwight), it was nine years ago, and my best guess is that John has changed his mind.

This is the year I’ve decided “old” isn’t such a terrible word for me. Maybe because a couple of things have me feeling oldish…

Semi-appropriate sidebar 3: For Sir James Paul McCartney, it came twelve years ago, but his has always been more upbeat. He does not apparently have grandchildren, whether Vera, Chuck, Dave or otherwise–but he can probably afford to rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight. (Right around $270/night, AFAICT.) [No, that’s not the canonical version; UMG has done a pretty good job of locking out official versions.]

So what’s got me feeling old? Apart from waiting for forms to fill out (hey, Lincoln!) and that sort of thing? Well…

  1. This is the year I had my first surgery lasting more than 30 seconds or so, having a benign nerve sheath tumor (a Schwannoma) removed from my right forearm…and had the unexpected side effect of, so far at least (4.5 months later), a partly dysfunctional right hand. (Floppy fingers is one term; I have nothing but good words for the physical therapists at ValleyCare Livermore, and am getting good at six-finger typing. I do use chopsticks like a clumsy eight-year-old, though…) Yes, I know I’m damn lucky to have gone 70 years with no significant surgeries. And that I’m ambidextrous enough that this mild inability is just that.
  2. This is the year that, after some nudging, I clarified where I stand on speaking travel, given my health, my wife’s health, our cats’ health and other issues: Starting with “unlikely” and clarified to “Simply not doing it.”
  3. Not sure if this is a sign of age, but I’ve been blocking a lot more people on FB–mostly friends of “friends,” and almost always for misogynistic, bigoted, racist, stupid attitudes or support of such attitudes.

On the other hand…

  1. This is the year I completed a full in-depth analysis of article publishing by Gold OA journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, with sponsorship from SPARC. Considerably more than 4,000 copies of the book-length results have been downloaded–and, unfortunately, very few copies of the Subject and Country supplements.
  2. It’s now clear that $6 is a prohibitive price for an easier-to-use paperback copy of that same report. I’d say the ratio of PDF to paperback (excluding my own copy) is more than 4,000 to 1, but it’s actually infinity.
  3. I’m still married to my best friend, we’re still in the nicest house we’ve ever owned, and in a city we’ve come to like even better–this odd mix of fifty-odd wineries, cattlemen (still a few) and scientists (still thousands).

I said there was no deeper significance. I don’t find it terribly strange, but then I spend more time on long (4-5 mile weekly) walks with friends and short (1.3 mile daily) walks with my wife than I do sitting on park benches.

 

Recovery: a short, slow post

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Since I’ve left notes elsewhere saying I’m mostly offline for the next [1:n] days [where n is indeterminate], I thought a little more detail might be in order:

  • The surgery: removing a Schwannoma (a benign nerve sheath tumor) from my right forearm–a visible bump perhaps 1.2″ long and 1.3″(?) high, determined to be benign by a January needle biopsy-which also irritated the lump and caused it to grow.
  • When? Tuesday, March 29, around 3:30 pm Stanford Hospital, Dr. David G. Mohler (who did a great job).
  • Pain? Not bad: of the allowed 2-pills-each-6-hours allowed, I needed 1 pill Tuesday afternoon, 1 at bedtime, 1 Wednesday a,m.(10 hrs later) and, since then 1/2 pill every eight hours, Good chance I’ll stop altogether tomorrow. (OTOH, my metabolism appears to be tough on drugs: the whole-arm nerve block, intended to last 8-12 hours, lasted about 3.5 hours. General anesthesia not wanted or needed,)
  • Problems? Maybe just reality: after trauma to the tendons and muscles and nerves in the arm, my fingers aren’t back to normal. (But gripping, etc. is pretty much OK.)

So I mostly need to let my right arm rest until the swelling goes down. I’ve seen how hard it is to work online without instinctively using both hands. So I’m mostly staying off. Two fingers are starting to come back to semi-normal; the rest could take a day, or three, or a week.

Otherwise? There’s leeway enough in The Big Project; I’m feeling good enough that I went for the daily walk around the 1,3-mile block with my wife today.

Thanks for the expressions of concern

In partial defense of Jeffrey Beall

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Not in defense of his lists, which I regard as a bad idea in theory and fatally flawed in practice, for reasons I’ve documented (most recently here but elsewhere over time).

But…I’ve seen some stuff on another blog lately that bothers me.

  • I do not for a minute believe that Jeffrey Beall wrote the supposed email I’ve seen that suggests a listed publisher would be re-evaluated for $5,000. That email was written using English-as-a-third-language grammar; it’s just not plausible as coming from Beall.
  • I truly dislike the notion that a doctorate is the minimum qualification for scholarship. But then, I would, wouldn’t I (since my pinnacle of academic achievement is a BA and a handful of credits toward an MA).
  • I also dislike the notion that state colleges are somehow disreputable. My own degree comes from a state institution, and I’ll match its credentials with anybody.

The same blog had an interesting fisking of one of Beall’s sillier anti-OA papers. I had tagged it toward a future Cites & Insights essay on access and ethics. But after seeing this other stuff…I won’t link to or source from this particular blog.  Heck, I’ve been the subject of Beall’s ad hominem attacks; doesn’t mean I have to support that sort of thing.

Not quite gone: a short catchall post

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Just thought I’d drop a line to say why I’m posting even less than usual, and why that’s likely to continue for a few weeks months…

You can guess the major reason: Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2014.

I’m trying to do the scan as carefully as possible, and include as many DOAJ-listed journals as possible.

Oh, that’s not all I do: I rarely do any of it after supper, there’s still (some) TV, I’m still reading roughly a book a week and lots of magazines, there’s still the Wednesday hike (or long walk) and the daily 1.3-mile walk around the block. But it takes up a fair amount of time.

Optimistic schedule

If all goes well, I hope to complete the first pass sometime in mid-March. I won’t start the second pass (revisiting a couple of thousand journals where revisits are required or advisable) until early April.

In between, I hope to put together some sort of Cites & Insights issue.

But there’s also a medical situation in late March that could have me out of commission (at least where typing’s concerned) for anywhere from a day or two to several weeks; the day or two is more likely, but you never know. (Benign Schwannoma on the forearm, if you must know: “benign” being the key word.)

Come April, there’s the rescan–a lot fewer journals, but each one will take significantly more time. At least I hope many of them do: part of the revisit is all journals that were unreachable or unworkable or raised malware flags, and I hope a fair number of those don’t have the same exclusionary conditions.

(So far, the only discouraging part of this new project is that too damn many OA journals–not very many in the overall scheme of things, but still too damn many–cause Malwarebytes or McAfee Site Advisor or Windows Defender or, in one case MS Office to say “do you really want to go there?” I  believe that uncontrolled ad sites make up a lot of the problem, but in any case it is simply not acceptable for any journal site to have code that triggers malware warnings. Nor will I ignore the warnings. If I had a dedicated Chromebook, I suppose I could–but that wouldn’t be helpful for others. And yes, I did get a serious bit of malware last time around, and it became clear that at least one other journal was trying to install the same code; that’s why I use Malwarebytes these days.)

I’m guessing I’ll need to take more breaks during the rescan, so there may be more blog posts and activity at Cites & Insights. Then, of course, comes the analysis and writeup… after which I may have a good deal more time. Or not.

Not complaining; I love this. It’s a little triumph each time I can fully analyze a journal I’d left out before, even if it means opening up a dozen PDFs for each of the past five years. At least now I have real broadband, so that’s feasible if annoying. (“Real broadband” as in Comcast, guaranteed 25mbps, actual 30mbps–as opposed to “Uverse” 1.5mbps but dropping entirely once or twice or more a day.)

Still around, still mildly active in various parts of the LSW diaspora, but mostly doing research. And enjoying it.