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Luke Melia

Things That Go Bump

Some months ago…. Six? Nine? It’s unclear how many… I awoke and felt a small bump on the bridge of my nose between my eyes. It felt like a pimple but it wouldn’t pop. It got larger over the next month or so until it was the size of a pea. I waited for it to go away.

And I waited.

For a couple of weeks, I tried applying a ginger compress to the growth, and that didn’t help.

Finally, I got a recommendation for a dermatologist and went to see the gentleman, who was purported to have a charming old European style bedside manner. Bedside manner is quite important to me, because I’ve had a lifetime of anxiety around medical situations. If I make it through an doctor’s appointment without fainting I consider it a success.

By that measure, the visit to the derm was successful, but my a more common evaluation, it was uneventful. He said my bump was almost certainly a benign cyst and nothing to worry about. He said since it was under the skin, he couldn’t take it out and I consult a plastic surgeon about that.

I made an appointment with the doctor the derm suggested, on the Upper East Side. I had my visit (successful) earlier this week and he explained the situation with a bit of a surgeon’s swagger: The cyst is most likely caused by a clogged gland. The oils produced by that gland have no where to go so they get backed up, harden, and there’s my bump. It might go away by itself, but it probably won’t. It might get infected, but it probably won’t. There’s a good chance it will start growing again, but it may simply stay as is. There’s no urgency in taking it out, I’m in no danger. If I was his son, he’d recommend I have it taken out.

I was leaning toward having it taken out. Has my vanity overwhelmed my fear? He described the procedure and my options. Slice, remove intact, stitch. I will have a scar. Can’t say how prominent. Local anesthetic. How am I with needles and blood, he asked… On my reply, he suggested general anesthetic would be a better bet for me and him. If it was your foot, or your behind, perhaps you could keep yourself distracted, but we’re talking blood dripping into your eyes. Jeanhee, who was with me, wondered if he wasn’t a tad too excited as he said that…

I’m leaning toward getting them to knock me out and de-bump me. It’s a hospital visit and a standard barrage of pre-surgery tests. It all adds up to the most major medical experience of my life, by a long shot. And it scares the crap out of me.

US Open

Last night, I watched some early round US Open matches. Lindsay Davenport won in straight sets, as did James Blake.

Blake was a lot of fun to watch as he struggled to return his opponent’s 130 MPH serves and then take control of the rally enough to approach the net. He had one awesome attack where he jumped Air Jordan style to smash the ball so hard it bounced up into the stands with no chance for any return.

It was a beautiful night for tennis.

Ho. D. in Bryant Park

I went to my first political rally on Tuesday night. Oh sure, I’ve been to plenty of protests, but I’ve never gone out to see a candidate speak. I’m not sure why that is. I guess I was never invited before.

On Tuesday night, Jeanhee and I hopped the train up to Bryant Park, in midtown Manhattan. The park happens to be have a free WiFi network, and it was strange but cool to see people sitting small tables in the park surfing the web in the glow of their laptop screens. The center of the park was given over to a crowd of people, many holding “Dean for America” signs, gathered facing a stage and big ol’ projection screen. The NY Times put the crowd at 10,000 and that seems about right. Jeanhee spotted her neighbors among the crowd clothed in homemade “Dog Lovers for Dean” tees.

A few speakers were introduced before Dean spoke. Among the highlights were the congressman for my neighborhood Jerrold Nadler endorsing Dean; a young Vermont woman describing her two lesbian mothers, crocheting, baking their cornbread, going to their PTA meetings, and asking “how, exactly they are a threat to the family values” of Rick Santorum and GWB; and a college Republican screaming his support for Dean.

Dean himself was a good speaker. Straightforward. Enthusiastic. Smart. Confident. I was filled with anger during the portion of the speech in which he railed against the current administration’s actions. I was surprised by that reaction in myself, as I tend to prefer and cultivate a relaxed existence. But there’s no way around how frustrating it is what Bush/Cheney have done with respect to the war, the environment, and the fiscal state of our government.

Dean seems to be in good shape more than a year out from the general election, and I hope he wins the nomination. He’s a leader I could trust and follow.

Dean Dialogue

While debugging some code at work this afternoon, I listened to the most refreshing politics I’ve heard in ages. Chris Lydon was in New Hampshire to see Howard Dean speak and not only did he blog it, but he recorded Dean’s speech, his Q&A session, and Lydon’s own interviews with various folks in the audience.

It’s a great use of the internet — way to go, Chris!

More importantly, it’s great to hear Dean. I’ve realized that he’s not my ideal candidate, but I think that he will make a pretty good president, far better than Bush, and better than most of the other candidates, too. If you have some time, have a listen yourself, and see what you think.

UPDATE: I’m going to see Dean (or “Ho Dee” as my Vermonter friend Molly calls him) speak in Bryant Park tonight, here in NYC. Details: The “Sleepless Summer Tour” is in Bryant Park tonight from 8:30pm to 11pm. Broadcast live on C-SPAN2 at 9:30 pm Eastern, and may be rebroadcast at 11 pm on C-SPAN.

Blackout Stories

Want to read other blackout sagas? Here are the stories of some friends and non-friends…

Also, residents of Baghdad offer tips on dealing with power outages

To celebrate the lights coming back on, I played volleyball all day on the beach, where we need no electricty, save the rush of a great dig or a big hit.

The Blackout of ’03

I’m down on the Jersey Shore now, at my beach place, away from the heat and darkness that was New York City last night. It was pretty nuts. The power snapped off around 4pm, just as my company’s IS department was scurrying around trying to patch our computers against the Microsoft worm that’s been going around. We thought it was just our building at first, but then saw some people looking out their window across the street, and then we started hearing the crazyiest reports.

“Midtown is out, too.”

“Downtown is out.”

“They have no power in the Bronx.” “The Bronx?”

“Westchester, too, and Bergen County in Jersey is out.”

“Toronto has no power.”

What the f* is going on, we were wondering. Nobody wanted to panic, but everyone was thinking it might be some sort of terrorist attack. I’m glad it wasn’t. Poor engineering and upkeep somehow seems a preferable enemy.

So after an hour in the dark at work, we all went home. It was an easy three blocks for me, not so easy for people that commute via subway or train. In the streets, cars moved cautiously, though no more slowly than on a typical Manhattan afternoon. Downtown, lines of hundreds and hundreds of people waited for ferries to New Jersey. Across the island, people walked across the bridge.

When I got home, I collected my candles and flashlight, and then skated over to the gym. I figured it would be closed, but I thought I might find some other volleyball players. Sure enough, Zak spotted me and said, “I thought if anyone would come down here hoping to play volleyball right now, it would be you.” So we headed down the west side bike path to the World Financial center and played some pickup sixes until it got too dark.

Back at home, I discovered that I had water and gas, so cooking was a possibility, that my phone didn’t work at all without power, and that I didn’t have a working radio. My cell phone didn’t work at all until midday today. So I really had no news until I ran into a neighbor in the morning and than spoke to my sister Monica from a pay phone after that.

I cooked up a big bowl of pasta a la everything-perishable-in-my-fridge and later tuned my guitar up. I played by candlelight till I was too exhausted to continue.

I was glad to see that New York as a town seemed to handle it so well. Calmly, neighborly, peacefully.

I’m not sure why the PATH trains were working today when the subways weren’t, but they were, and I hopped one to Journal Square where Bill, my tournament partner for tomorrow, picked me up. We made it to Surf Taco in Pt. Pleasant in time for dinner!

Move Over Ira

Move over, Ira Glass. Round the bend at Travelin’ Van, Liz and Anthony have posted their first “Audio Thingie”. Listening to it was the most enjoyable 27 minutes of my work day so far.

Audio is an interesting beast. It’s fits better into multitasking than video does. I can code and laugh while listening to Liz interview Anthony. But it’s not skim-able the way web pages are. It’s difficult to quickly get enough info to decide whether to listen now, or later, or at all. There’s oh so much more personality in it than text, though. The pauses. The sarcasm. The laughter.

It’ll be interesting to see if audio becomes more widely used in blog-type sites.


I’m working late tonight, doing some interesting stuff automating Microsoft Excel via .NET. Well, maybe it only seems interesting because the alternative is going to deal with my laundry.

Tonight is my first “free” time in quite a while. I’ve had plans of one sort or another nearly every weekend this summer and most of the remaining weeknights. Mostly it’s volleyball that’s occupying this time, so I’m not complaining.

My dad is following a path of his youth, the California coast, but now as a father, snug in a sedan with my brother and two of my sisters. I’m half-expecting to see one of them show up on the list of hundreds of candidates for Governor…

Jeanhee is off today to the lower part of that disarrayed state, attending a journalism conference.

Dylan is home from the hospital; he IM’d me today at work — a very happy distraction!

BTW, it sure seems that breaking domino records would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the damn cockroaches.

And… added to my list of airlines not to fly on: MyTravel

Weekend Update

I returned this afternoon from a bachelor party weekend in the Poconos. A dozen-plus guys helped our friend Ilio prepare to be married by shooting him with paintballs. Many paintballs. The weekend was great.

Paintball was a lot of fun, too — strategic and adrenaline-provoking, competitive and physical. As I drifted off to sleep last night, though, I had half-dreams of paintballs whizzing by and some making welt-producing contact. It made me shuddder to think of the dreams soldiers must have after days of battle.

Tonight, Jeanhee and I went to see Spellbound, the documentary about the national spelling bee. It was great, especially the views into the varied backgrounds and family life of each of the kids they followed.

A few quick politcal notes…

Lawrence Lessig shares some good thoughts on the California recall election.

As described in this Baltimore Sun article, Howard Dean is running television ads in Texas and describing Bush as “all hat and no cattle.” I love it.

Finally, signs that John Kerry is getting a bit more on the ball in his campaign appear in this NY Times article. I think that the more good competition we have early, the better candidate we’ll have to vote for next fall.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” —Martin Luther King Jr.


I’ve become a Howard Dean supporter. I have some reservations about him still, but I’m more encouraged by what I’ve learned (environmentalist, anti-war for the same reasons I was, pro-choice, fiscally sane, grassroots-oriented) than I am discouraged (waffles on gay marriage, minimal foreign policy experience). I’ve donated some money to his campaign and am looking forward to seeing America get to know him.

On the other side, while I’ve never particularly liked the current administration, my dislike has grown. What’s got to me? Selling out the EPA to the energy industry, making the Treasury department cow-tow to the gods of tax cuts, and lying to us all about war, death and destruction.

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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