Dentist and hubris

Today I went to the dentist. Somewhat to my surprise, after all these years, he asked where I worked. What’s up with that? It’s been a decade, if not two. Perhaps he had been reading my journal here and could no longer control his curiosity. Probably not though, since he first asked whether I was employed, before he asked where. It has nothing to do with employers’ dental plans, because we don’t have them in Norway. (Possible exception for boxing and similar sports where teeth are likely to fly. American-style football also comes to mind. Anyway, it is not normal. We don’t have public dental coverage either – each of us pays for ourself.)

The pay was fairly moderate this time, because there were zero holes again. I felt pretty good about this, although a bit surprised. I live mostly on carbs, after all, since I can’t eat more than small amounts of fat without getting ill, and really hate eating meat and fish. Not so much for religious or ethical reasons, although those don’t help exactly. It is just icky. That leaves carbs of various kinds, neither of which are known to be loved by teeth. (Except the indigestible sugar xylitol, which is known to protect teeth but can upset digestion in larger doses. I don’t eat much of the stuff.)

I felt pretty proud of my achievement even so, and as I posted on Google+, decided to celebrate with Pepsi and chocolate.

The soda tasted disgusting. That is not a property of Pepsi generally, but this particular bottle was not their best, it was one of the worst I have ever tasted from that brand. And then I broke my tooth on the chocolate bar.

OK, not really, it was already broken, it is the usual one which breaks every few months (or roughly as often as I buy some new gadget, which led me to the conclusion that “every time I buy a laptop, God breaks one of my teeth”. This one would be the retribution for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, although I am not sure whether it actually broke before or after… but in any case, it came out now. On the bright side, I didn’t swallow it. It has a longish metal pin on the root side, so that would have been very risky.

So, it seems I will be back sooner than expected, and pay more than expected. The chocolate was good, though. I stopped halfway through so as to not get sick (there is fat in chocolate), but it was quite tasty. My hubris, not so much, I guess.

Dentistry, summer and fat


“Faint praise coming from you” my self-sim seems to think.

I have lost count of how many weeks I have gone with a loose tooth. It was one of the three ceramic teeth and was fastened on the root of the original with a thin metal bar. This is, I believe, the third time it has been broken. Hopefully it will be a while till next time. Perhaps that depends on my computer shopping habits, however.

I have written in the past about this peculiar pattern. At first I thought the rule was “Every time you buy a computer, God kills a tooth.” (Patterned after the infamous “God kills a kitten” meme, which I am sure Google can explain to anyone who may have been spared it until now.) Later experience showed that I could buy desktop computers without breaking teeth, so I amended it to “Every time you buy a laptop, God kills a tooth.” This time, however, the tooth broke while I still considered buying a laptop for a friend. Actually in part I did this to test whether the cosmic law only reacted to buying for myself or whether it was the objective act of buying a laptop that invoked it. Instead I found that it was the decision to buy. Perhaps at some future point, I will break teeth even by looking at a laptop to covet it?

In any case, I got it fixed at a sufferable cost, and in time before the summer vacation. (Not mine, I don’t have vacation in summer, but presumably the dentists have. Summer vacation is almost sacred up here in Norway, where the summer is short but intense, with warm bright nights that don’t invite to get up early next morning for a long day of hard work.) The dentist’s equipment had broken down today but he borrowed that of a colleague; they are a small team of dentists working together and sharing office services. Despite the unfamiliar workplace he seems to have done a good job.

On my way back to work, I noticed how hot the day had become. It was by now rather late in the workday, around 15 (3PM) and the heat in the city felt almost tropical compared to the cool days of the past couple weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed the cloudy weather with occasional showers, since I am not really made for heat. The newspaper claims that the heat will last for a week or more. I would not be surprised, the south coast of Norway is a naturally sunny place all year long with only scattered rainy days. No wonder people from all over the country come to relax on the beaches here.

One recurring concern when the word “beach” comes up is the extra pounds from the dark season. They just don’t seem willing to leave in order to render you good-looking in swimwear. Of course, this is hardly a concern for me, since I get violently ill if I eat more than a few grams of fat. And even were it not so, I have long since given up on swimwear. Not so much because of the skin disease that makes much of my body look like that of a toad, but mostly because melanoma runs in my family. I can only hope that I realized this soon enough – I have mostly stayed out of the sun since I was around 20 – but I certainly don’t want to run any risks now. Life is short enough as is.

Fat is not known to make life any longer, at least in our time when there is an excess of it. And that was the thing I noticed on my way back from the dentist: Norwegians really are growing fatter. Norwegians and Sims. One of the most eye-catching changes in The Sims 3 compared to the earlier versions is the wider range of body shapes, from fat to skinny to muscular. A goodly number of the inhabitants of the imaginary town are shaped like couch potatoes, and unfortunately so are also those in the real town where I work. It used to be that Norwegians were still lean and active compared to our American cousins. Well, they are still ahead of us in sheer obesity, but not in overweight.

To make this clear, the border between “normal” and overweight is set pretty low. Unnaturally low, I believe, as studies show that mortality is actually slightly lower in the barely overweight group than in the “normal” group, which includes some decidedly skinny people. I am not sure who set up those categories. They should probably have been set a little higher. But in any case, technically obesity is a different group from overweight, and at this point the health cost is obvious. It is hard for the obese to move around efficiently, and their hearts are hard pressed to keep the blood flowing through the bloated body. Hypertension and diabetes are almost unavoidable if enough years pass in such a state.

Norwegians have become overweight to the same degree as Americans – about two in three is now above that artificial line – but we have far less outright obesity. I am afraid this is only a matter of time, though. Looking around today, I saw a lot of fat. There is definitely more of it than there used to be when I was young. Unless someone finds a miracle cure, we will have the same wave of chronic lifestyle diseases as our American cousins, with all the cost and suffering involved.

After work I went home and trotted out the manual lawnmower again. As the voices in my head remarked: “I am become death, the destroyer of grass.” (Thank you, Oppenheimer.) But better it than me. I can do without a tooth for a few weeks, but not a heart.

Loose tooth

The tooth that fell out last year is definitely loose again. And what is worse, it started hurting this evening. It is not so bad yet, except if it is exposed to heat or cold, such as if I eat or breathe with open mouth.  Over the years I have lost track of which ceramic teeth have had their root canals filled (common in the bad old days of dentistry) and which only have a needle. But I think it is a good guess that this one still has a nerve, given the sharp jabs of pain if it comes into contact with heat, cold or sugar. Also, given that it has been glued on twice before and is loose again now.

I don’t think we can blame Holosync for this one…

In tradition with the rule “each time you buy a laptop, God kills a tooth”, I have actually looked at another Linux laptop.  This time it is not for me, however, but a friend of mine who has it on her wishlist.  But evidently it is my teeth who go either way. I wondered about that. I guess it is better than her tooth falling out if I buy her a laptop.  She really can’t afford that – she and her husband both live in America now, and it’s not exactly caviar and champagne over there.

I haven’t actually ordered the machine – wonder if the tooth will grow attached again if I definitely decide to not buy?

I can live with the occasional jab of pain for a while. I am more worried about a root canal infection. I’ve read that those leak bacteria into the blood, where they can cause anything from rheumatism to atherosclerosis to sepsis with shock and sudden death.  (The latter being fairly rare though.) Some believe that even a successful root canal work will remain a focal point for continuing infection for the rest of one’s life, but this is not accepted in mainstream medicine. Of course, the worst that could happen if you believe it is to end your life with few or no teeth, and that was the norm in my grandparents’ generation.  Actually, most had all their teeth extracted before they retired. Can’t say they were any healthier than the next generation with their root canals filled though.

Dentist day again


Extremely important!  Hmm, then why did I not expect it?

Totally slice of life today. Well, I am glad to have a life to slice. Let’s hope it continues that way.

The big event of the day was going to the dentist again. If not, the big event would have been the visit from our supreme boss – I believe he is the boss of the boss of my boss’ boss, but I am not really a hierarchical person at heart so I may have missed someone. Probably not though. I believe over this guy there is just one more, at most two, before the King. Yes, we have a King here in Norway, although he is mostly for show. Anyway, synchronicity strikes again! The guy was slated to appear in our department at the same time I already had my dentist appointment. Since I had nothing unspoken with Big Boss, I went to the dentist instead.

It was a minor thing, as I saw it. Remember how I lose a tooth each time I buy a laptop? The last time I went to the dentist, he put in a temporary tooth (or “crown”, as the root is still there and (surprisingly) still alive. Still alive…

As for me, I am also still alive as of writing this (not ghost writer!) but my tooth hurts. This was not expected. I mean, all the preparations were done last time. All he did was pull out the temporary tooth, clean out the place where it had stood (it smelled death, it is kind of hard to clean UNDER a tooth after all), try the new on for size, drill off a tiny bit of the corresponding tooth in the upper jaw because it hurt biting, pull out the tooth, rinse again and dry, add some kind of glue, and press the new tooth down in the glue for a few minutes. That’s it. So why does it hurt almost as much six hours later?

Needleprick pain is one of our most precise senses, but inflammation pain is not. I can feel that the broken tooth is in pain, but I cannot say whether it is the gums (which were once again harshly treated) or the root canal (which is perforated by a needle, but hasn’t reacted to it for the last couple weeks). If it is just an inflammation caused by mechanical stress (kind of like your skin turns red if you scratch it hard) I am not worried. Moderate pain does not stop me from living my life as normal (although agony does – I just have a high pain tolerance, I am still human, despite my prior aspirations to the contrary). But an infection is an actual health risk. So much more so since these days, we are almost back to a century ago before penicillin was discovered. A big “NO-thanks” to all who use antibiotics against virus (where it has no effect) or “just to be sure”, allowing a wide range of bacteria to become immune to a wide range of antibiotics. Way to go to send us back to the dark ages guys!

So if this is my last entry ever, I was probably eaten by flesh-eating bacteria. Or perhaps I stumbled in the stairs and broke my neck. There is no way you’ll ever know. But you will know that using antibiotics as candy is bad, and that’s something.


But it would be a small day if it only had room for a dentist appointment and the consequent pain, right? So how about more HoloSync stuff, it being my current fad and all. (I have a meta entry about my fads lying around in case I should end up without a fresh entry one day, but it won’t be today.)

This morning I continued the tradition from the last two mornings to wake up earlier (or rather less late) and spend half an hour listening to the Dive, the basic soundtrack of the HoloSync Awakening Prologue. I had slept around 6 hours this time, in other words almost enough. (Not considering any sleep debt.) According to not only Centerpointe but relatively independent users, an hour of HoloSync in the morning is better than an extra hour of sleep. This is not to say you can completely replace sleep with HoloSync. I am not sure why not, but I haven’t heard of anyone doing it. The same goes for meditation. You can substitute one for another up to a certain point, but gradually the value of one will shrink and the value of the other will grow.

Anyway, this morning was the first time I stayed pretty much awake all the way through, even through the last minutes which are supposed to be delta waves. And I realized that sleeping through HoloSync is the easy part. Staying with it when you’re not sleeping and with the world’s best computer games only inches away from your hand is going to be the hard part.

I had another micro-dream this time. I almost opened my eyes, enough that I sensed brightness, and in the brightness I saw the street where I walk from work to the commute bus. It was an ordinary day and I was walking down the street as usual, but I was aware that I was actually sitting in my chair with my eyes just barely closed and seeing all this. Woo. It did not last long though. Not as much fun as Sims 2 or City of Heroes, but hey, take what you can get.

You’d think that would be enough HoloSync for one day, but then you would have counted out Bill Harris too early. (Founder and director of Centerpointe Research Institute, but I feel I have said this so often that I should abbreviate it or something.) I may have misjudged the man. He cannot be as greedy as I estimated from his slick salesman verbiage and the exaggerated claims for his product. If he was greedy – or even had a strong economic sense – he would not send me a bunch more CDs with NEXT DAY PRIORITY EXPRESS mail from across the Atlantic Ocean. That set him back $8.65, not counting the content, for stuff I had not ordered and would never have missed if he hadn’t sent it. And the price of the whole thing was pretty squeezed from the start. He really can’t be making much money from me. Although there is a chance that he thinks this will make me more likely to buy other stuff from Centerpointe, perhaps. Or perhaps he is more philanthropic than I thought.

So yeah, I came home from work and there was this thick envelope with CDs and a couple letters from Centerpointe. And an even thicker envelope with socks. I subscribe to socks by mail, and have done so for many, many years. It may end now, however.

Over the last couple weeks, I have had this crazy itch at random times on my feet. It usually starts on the ankle of one foot, and spreads to all of the sock-covered area except the soles of my feet. This happens several times a day, and I have taken to spending my time at home without socks because of it. The skin is now full of red dots and some larger cracks. Rashes? Something like that. I suspect the socks. I mean, it matches almost exactly with where the socks touch my skin. I don’t know if they have added something to the socks recently, or if there is a change in my skin instead. But I think it is time to try another brand of socks. That’s a shame, because they have served me very well for a couple decades now at least.


My gums are not the only thing hurting after going to the dentist. (Actually feeling a bit better now, thank you.) There is also the pain in my wallet. I paid my bills yesterday, and the dentist bill was the size of my new netbook and neural impulse actuator put together! This time was only about half that. Still, it is a remarkable place to live, where medical bills are merely symbolic, but where dental insurance does not exist at all (or perhaps it does for movie stars).

This month’s bill was overall remarkable for being more than my monthly income after tax. That is a rare thing these days, thank the Light. Of course, it is not every month I buy a computer, although it may seem so to the casual reader. Or break a tooth. Actually there was so much money in my account that I had to go back and check that there were no erroneous incoming payments, and that I had remembered paying my rent lately. No, there is not even remotely enough to begin thinking of buying a house; it is more the size of a decent used car. But given my socioeconomic status by Norwegian standards, and my attitude to money in general, that is still baffling.

Oh, and since this is all slice of life anyway, let me tell you about Symantec Norton 360, the antivirus and overall computer security program I use on my main computer. This is the computer that is connected to the Internet through a direct connection to the router (although the router itself uses a firewall that has only a few holes in it for basic services). Every some months there will be worms trying to get in through the ports, and Norton will catch them before they can hurt anything. It is kind of expensive for being useful so rarely, but money is not exactly a big concern in Norway. Also, it is very unobtrusive, unlike Norman, which I could get for free but which constantly whines and nags and boasts and interferes with normal computer use.

My 1 year license expired yesterday. For all of that day and all of today, the Symantec renewal service have tried in vain to connect to their server. Perhaps there is no such renewal, perhaps you have to buy it again, I don’t know. Neither does Symantec, evidently. It is kind of sad to see it strive so earnestly to call home, and nobody answers, for two days now.

It does not really inspire confidence in them, though, at least not enough for me to go out of my way to buy them again. I really only need the direct connection for BitTorrent, where I exchange Japanese TV programs that are not available outside Japan in any other way. I guess I should use Linux for that. I wish I had not lost the power supply for the old, old HP laptop. It is plenty good enough to run a BT client under Linux.

OK, that was slice of life, but not life as you know it. Very nerdy life. I guess this is a good place to stop. I’ve been reading about the causal body too, but I think this is verging on geek overload already. But if you think you could do it better, it takes 5 minutes tops to get an online blog. Come on, I’m all (movable) ears.