General Ramblings comments edit

Friday morning was my fifth laser hair removal treatment.  In the first treatment, I tried the MedioStar laser on my neck and it was just far too intense for me, so the subsequent treatments I’d been using the Dermo Flash IPL.

When I went in this time, the technician, Liz, took a look at my chart and my face and said, “You know… for the amount of time you’ve been coming in, you’re not getting a lot of result.”  And it was true - the Dermo Flash has worked a bit, and there were a few small hair-free patches, but it’s slow going.  My hair is thinner, but it’s admittedly sort of hard to tell if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

“So would you like to try the MedioStar again?”

Oooo.  Now, I’ve got a pretty low pain tolerance, and last time I tried that… well, it was just too intense.  But she was right - it was slow going, and it might be time to get results.  So I said we could try it again as long as we could stop if it was too much.  She agreed.

Turns out MedioStar, while very, very painful, is much less intense the less hair you have.  The Dermo Flash, having reduced the overall volume of hair, actually helped in that - the MedioStar was now still painful but not so bad I was utterly unable to handle it.  The upside of that is that I was able to do my whole face using the MedioStar.

For reference, Liz did say that she’s talked to other people who’ve had this done and that everyone seems to agree getting a tattoo on your face is far less painful and intense than MedioStar.  Think about this: MedioStar is so intense that it’s not uncommon for hairs to literally pop out of their follicles after being zapped.  It happened during my appointment.

To manage the intensity of it all, here’s what worked for me:

  • Between one and four laser pulses at a time, max.  In really dense hair areas, like the point of my chin, one pulse is just insanely painful and is all I can take without a break.  In less dense areas, like on my neck, I can take up to four.  That fourth pulse is the edge of my pain threshold.
  • Ignore the ice pack.  It’s just a distraction and doesn’t help any.
  • Take advantage of air cooling.  They have this hose that blows super-cool air that they can use to chill the skin prior to using the laser.  Before and after getting zapped, cool things waaaay down with that cold air hose.
  • Get one stress ball for each hand.  Something to squeeze is helpful.
  • Breathe.  Seriously.  I darn close to passed out from tensing up and holding my breath.

All told, it took the full hour appointment to do my face, but we did it.  By the time it was over, tears were running, I could barely speak, I was shaking, and I had sweated clean through the back of my shirt such that I had to go home and change before coming back to work, but we did it.  Today, three days later, I feel like I have a bad case of razor burn and my face is red and sort of bumpy/irritated, but you can already see some difference.  In two weeks, when the irritation has subsided, I think it’ll be much more obvious how much difference was made.

As painful as it was, I think I’ll probably do MedioStar next time, too.  I need to start seeing some real change and knowing that the intensity gets reduced as hair disappears, it sounds like next time will be easier than this one.

media, tv comments edit

Saturday marked the fifth annual 24 marathon at my house, this year for season six.  We started at 8:00a and ran non-stop, no credits, no “last-time-on,” no breaks.  The show ended at 1:00a Sunday morning, and it was a hell of a ride.

My dad and I were the only ones who lasted the whole thing.  Jenn missed the last few episodes, being unable to stay awake, and our friend K came for the morning but wasn’t able to stay for the whole marathon.

I’ve found that the secret to the last couple of episodes is to drink an energy drink or two and to stand up.  After sitting for most of the day, standing up really energizes you.

Once again, Jack Bauer saved the day, lasting through torture in a Chinese prison, a nuclear attack, and an air strike.  I still think my favorite season was season two, but I can’t say I was disappointed here.  A good time was had by all, and we’ll plan to see season seven (assuming Kiefer can get his ass out of jail and film the damn thing) next year.

aspnet, blog, net, subtext, downloads, net comments edit

So here’s the problem:

You’re running your web site or blog and you’ve got an image you want to put up.  You put in the HTML something like this:

<img src="/images/myimage.gif" />

No problem - you load up the site and it looks great.  You check your RSS feed and it looks good.  And why wouldn’t it?  When a browser hits your page or a reader looks at your feed, it’s all coming from http://yoursite.com, so the site-relative URL gets translated to http://yoursite.com/images/myimage.gif.  No problemo.

Then you decide you want the benefits of a syndication site like FeedBurner - it reduces your bandwidth usage and has some other value added features.  Good times.  You sign up, get your feed cranking through it, and go check it out.  It looks horrible - all of your image links are broken!  What’s going on?

The problem is the relative URL - now that the feed is coming from http://feeds.feedburner.com/yoursite, the relative image URL gets translated to http://feeds.feedburner.com/images/myimage.gif, which is plainly wrong.  Whatcha gonna do, brother, whatcha gonna do?

If you have an ASP.NET-based site, I created an answer:  The UrlAbsolutifierModule.  It’s an HttpModule that filters through content and converts URLs in HTML tags from relative to absolute.  You can even configure it to only process certain pages or handlers, so you only process, say, your RSS feed.

Note: I wrote it to be pretty aggressive - anything that looks like HTML (encoded/embedded in XML, straight HTML, a code snippet you might have embedded in a blog entry, etc.) will be updated if it’s run through this filter.  If you use it, you will definitely want to be selective about which pages it processes and not just throw it carte blanche on your site.  By that same token, if it’s not HTML (like if it’s your RSS feed and the URL is in the channel/link element of your feed XML), it won’t be looked at.

Included in the compiled package:

  • The UrlAbsolutifierModule assembly.
  • XML class documentation.
  • A readme explaining how to use it with an example showing how to configure it for use with Subtext, my blog of choice.

Included in the source package:

  • Source for the UrlAbsolutifierModule assembly.
  • Unit tests and a demonstration web site showing it in action.
  • The very same readme explaining how to use it.

Want it? Need it? Come and get it. Yours, free, at (of course) your own risk.

[Download UrlAbsolutifierModule 1.0.0 Compiled]

[Download UrlAbsolutifierModule 1.0.0 Source]

Version History: 1.0.0: First release.

gaming, xbox comments edit

After a long, heated discussion with an Xbox Live support technician last night, it turns out that my latest issue - where I’m unable to get the latest dashboard update so I can’t log into Xbox Live - is actually pretty common.  According to the technician, they’ve been getting hammered with calls from people who are having the exact same problem.  These problems are coupled with the fact that the update has caused some unexpected new load on the Xbox Live servers (undoubtedly the use of the new Friends of Friends feature coupled) and that seems to be coupled with the unexplained issue that there are several folks like me who are just plain “locked out.”

They’re going to send me a DVD with the last dashboard update on it (not the Fall 2007 one, but the Spring 2007 one) and that’s supposed to at least unlock things long enough for me to recover my profile so I can play… well, anything.  Can’t do much without your profile.  As for being “unlocked,” the answer was just to “keep trying to take the update

  • when you can take it, you know it’s fixed.”  No ETA on that, by the way.

I’m surprised no gaming sites have reported this issue, but then, I’m sure this crap happens on every dashboard update.

UPDATE: The problem was corruption on my hard drive. They ended up sending me a new hard drive.

General Ramblings comments edit

Martin
FieldsI’ve got screen protectors on my PSP, my new iPod Classic, and various PDAs.  I’ve tried several different brands, but I have to say my favorite is, by far, Martin Fields.  Easy to apply and you can’t even tell you’ve got anything on there.  Not only that, but their scratch resistance is amazing and they’re washable and reusable.  Replace your iPod?  Move the screen protector to the new one.

They’re not too expensive, either.  At the time of this writing, both the PSP and the iPod Classic protectors are $12.99.

Interestingly, I always forget the name of the place, then I go research whenever I get a new device and end up getting one of these.  I figured I’d blog it so I can remember for next time.