Stroke Log

On Friday, Nov 29, 2013, I suffered a stroke. I was 29 years old. Sure, I had high blood pressure, but that was it for medical warning signs. Out of the blue it came, and it hit me, and it is finally going away.

The story really begins on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013. That day I woke up from a nap with the left side of my body tingling and numb. I went back to sleep though, woke up half an hour later, and all was well again. This was apparently a TIA, or “mini stroke”, and is the only warning sign I was given. Naturally, since it was transient and went away after half an hour, I assumed I had just slept in a strange position and went about my day.

The story really begins on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013. That day I travelled from my home in Northern Virginia to a hotel in North Carolina to celebrate my grandmother-in-law’s 90th birthday. Because of this celebration, I was away from home and local help.

The story really begins on Friday, Nov 29, 2013. That day the stroke hit me. I took a shower and dried myself off. Suddenly, vertigo. I managed to hold onto the walls and stumble to our bed. After a quick consultation with my wife and her family, we called 9-1-1. Paramedics came, decided I had just had too many energy drinks, but took me to the hospital for a stroke eval anyway. After several hours, two CT scans, and an MRI, it was official: I had suffered a stroke.

Current Status

I have diminished sensation in the left side of my body. I have lost two senses on the right side entirely. The left side of my throat is paralyzed, including my left vocal cord. I have double-vision (vertically oriented) thanks to a left eye that refuses to track properly its compatriot.

My left side is tingly and a little bit numb. All sensations are still there, but in diminished capability. I have lost not only sensation there but fine motor control and coordination as well. I can no longer walk. I can barely stand for short periods of time. My left arm and leg are weak and difficult to control. If I go to brush hair from my eyes with my left hand, half the time I will smack myself in the face accidentally.

My right side has perfect motor control and most senses. However, in the entire right side of my body I can feel neither pain nor temperature. I can feel textures, I can feel pressure, I have coordinated movement and motor control. But I cannot feel heat or cold or pain. I am terrified of hot surfaces now, like stoves, because I may burn myself without even realizing anything is wrong.

Where I am, and how I got here

At this moment I am at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Virginia, and it has proven to be an excellent facility so far. It has been fifteen days since my stroke.

In the Carolinas Medical Center North East, in Concord, NC, I spent 10 days in the intermediate care unit and three more days in the neurological ward following my stay in the IMU. Most of my time in the IMU was spent in a stupor of Xanax and Vicodin, for which I am forever grateful. My poor wife had no such comforts, and spent 12 hours a day at my side, fully aware of how much danger I was in and unable to do anything about it except trust the doctors.

After 13 days at the Carolinas Medical Center I was discharged to travel back to Virginia, to HealthSouth. We broke the journey up into two days, stopping at a hotel overnight. I had my first shower in two weeks with the help of my wife, and for the first time in two weeks was clean and happy again. I could not walk, I could barely talk, and I could not see except in double, but I was out of the hospital and literally on the road to recovery. Life was good again.

I arrived yesterday evening at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital. The cafeteria is excellent, and even my “cardiac”
diet is no burden on my palette. Despite my sensory and motor losses, my stroke has been a relatively minor one, and I am blessed to look forward to a speedy recovery. I have already worked with both physical and occupational therapists, both of which were impressed with my performance. I feel good about this. I will make it.

Where I’m Going Next

The next place for me, once I leave rehab, is back to work. I work for a non-profit government contractor. I enjoy my job, and provide essential technical expertise to both my team and my department.

Challenges I Face

One big challenge I face is remembering that I am disabled. I’m beginning to feel better. For example, a few minutes ago I forgot that I need assistance to stand and tried to just stand up out of my wheel chair and walk to bed. I didn’t get very far. Half way through standing my legs gave out, the wheelchair flew backwards, and I almost hit the ground. (I managed to land in the chair instead and avoid a fall, but the reminder is still strong.) One of my biggest challenges I think will be not pushing myself too hard, whether intentionally or not.

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On God and Imperfection

On God and Imperfection

One of the most pervasive memes in modern religious culture is that of God as a perfect being, perfect in every way. This idea is in fact not consistent with Torah; it originated during the Enlightenment period and has sunk its teeth into modern religion. Despite its popularity, it simply is not so.

Genesis tells us that God created the earth in six days, and on the seventh day he rested. Genesis also tells us that, every step of the way, God saw that it was good. This is an extremely important statement.

That God saw that it was good implies that it could have turned out bad. It suggests that God created many universes, and all the prior ones did not reach the sixth day, and did not meet the six milestones, and were scrapped. A perfect deity would not have observed that each day was good, because a perfect deity could not have created something bad.

Later, we find in the story of Noah that, despite passing the six milestones, our universe still was broken. God had to destroy it and start almost entirely fresh. (Thankfully for us, he saw fit to keep samples of all animal life, including humanity, for later reintroduction.) The story of Noah marks another major change: the introduction of reduced life-spans. Prior to Noah, humans lived easily for a thousand years if not killed by violence. Afterward, that lifespan gradually dwindled to what it is today. Clearly God saw that a thousand years was simply an untenable lifespan. (Consider, for example, that a person becomes set in their ways and often resists all attempts at change by middle age. What prospect of progress must have existed when the old and inflexible did not die of age?)

The Ontological Argument Against Imperfection

Some philosophers argue that a perfect god must necessarily exist. One such argument is as follows:

Let God be defined as an entity that is perfect in every way. Such a concept perfection must include actual existence, for to not exist would be imperfect. If we suppose that a perfect God does not exist then we have introduced a contradiction, therefore a perfect God exists.

The argument is, of course, nonsensical. Consider:

Let the perfect hamburger be defined as a hamburger that is perfect in every way. Such a concept of perfection must include that I am eating it, for to not be eating it would be imperfect. If we suppose that a perfect hamburger does not exist then we have introduced a contradiction, therefore the perfect hamburger exists.

Rephrased as above, we see that the argument can be applied to anything. The contradiction introduced is not, however, in the proposition that our perfect God does not exist. The contradiction is in the definition itself. Perfection clearly does not imply existence in reality, and because the premise of the argument is that it does, the argument is wholly invalid.

The Existence of Evil

A long-asked question is, if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-benevolent, why then is there evil in the world? Many philosophers have tried to tackle this question, and the most popular answer is that ours is the best possible world. Clearly it is not; the best possible world would not be filled with a history of atrocities.

Evil exists because God is not at the same time all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-benevolent. Evil exists because human beings have free will. To remove evil from existence would necessarily remove free will from existence, for to remove evil would remove the ability to choose between the two. God may be all-powerful, and may be all-knowing, but if so is not all-benevolent. God has given us free will, and with it the power too choose for ourselves to pursue good or to pursue evil. Without free will we would be no more than animals, unable to make choices, and driven to behaviors not by our minds but by divine micromanagement.

The existence of evil demonstrates that God cannot at the same time be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-benevolent, which violates the fundamental assumptions of the perfection of God.

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Hard drive crash on the server

so, a month or two my server’s data drive crashed unrecoverably, and I lost all the uploaded files on this site. my bad.

anyway, that’s why all the links are broken.

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Breakfast of Champions


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I’ve just posted the latest and greatest version of TETREVIL on my site.  See it on the nav bar above, or click here.  TETREVIL is like normal Tetris, except the computer intentionally gives you the worst piece it can figure out.  At some point the source code will be released under a BSD-style license.

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Exporting Address Book Contacts to Bluetooth Watch

I own a Bluetooth watch with caller-ID, from ThinkGeek. It’s pretty awesome, but it doesn’t play all-the-way nicely with my iPhone.  The caller-ID display part works fine, but it will only show the phone number, and not the name, of the caller.  This is normal until you tell the watch to load contacts from the phone to which it is paired.  The problem is that it can’t load contacts from an iPhone, thanks to the iPhone’s lack of OBEX support.

While playing around with other Bluetooth stuff I discovered that bluetooth contact exchanges were performed by sending VCF files back and forth, so I decided to try sending a VCF to the watch, and… it worked!  With this proof-of-concept under my belt, I went ahead and wrote an application you can run on your mac to send the contacts in your address book to your watch.

When you run the application you are prompted to open your address book and select the contacts you wish to transfer.  The app exports a VCF file, then processes it to strip out everything but phone numbers (and reformats the phone numbers), and then initiates a file transfer to send the exported VCF to the watch.

BT Watch small

Screen Shot 2011 07 29 at 10 33 47 PM

Screen Shot 2011 07 29 at 10 35 33 PM

Screen Shot 2011 07 29 at 10 35 56 PM

Posted in Robin, Technology

EST Superior to UTC

Because I said so.

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Here Dinah!

So my wife’s new kitten arrived yesterday.  Her name is Dinah, much like the cat from Alice in Wonderland.  She is very cute indeed.  Hopefully she will not be leading Anna down any rabbit holes though.




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For Sale: 2007 MacBook Pro 15”

For Sale: 2007 MacBook Pro 15”

I have a mid-2007 MacBook Pro for sale. It works perfectly and is quite capable of modern computing; it is for sale because I have replaced it with a newer model. I am asking $700 for the complete system (laptop, spare battery, software, laptop bag)

Quick specs:

·      15” display, 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 4GB RAM, 120GB hard drive

·      Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard), iLife 2009

·      Spare battery included

More Detailed Specs:

·      15.4” widescreen TFT display, 1400×900, matte (not glossy)

·      2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

·      4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300)

·      120GB Serial ATA hard drive, 5400 RPM

·      Slot-loading DVD±RW/CD-RW drive

·      FireWire 800 port, FireWire 400 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, ExpressCard port

·      DVI video output, DVI-to-VGA adapter included

·      iSight web-cam built in

·      Combined optical digital and analog audio input and output, microphone

·      10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet port

·      802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0

·      Realistic average 3.5 to 4 hours battery life per battery

·      Weight: 5.4lbs

·      Dimensions: 14.1” x 9.6” x 1.0”

Full specs available at (See MA895LL).

Good condition; a few scratches on the case but no deforming. Maintained AppleCare extended warranty until July 2010 when it expired. Motherboard replaced under warranty in May 2010, no other repairs or parts replaced other than the RAM upgrade to 4GB. Includes Mac OSX Snow Leopard installation disc, iLife 2009 application suite retail disc, and all original paraphernalia (installation discs, adapters, manual, etc.). Hard drive has been 7x overwritten with random data prior to fresh install of OSX Snow Leopard.

Posted in Robin