Video from Rose City Comic Con

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I meant to post this earlier and time got away from me, but here’s the video of my interview with Wil from Rose City Comic Con:


 

I meant to post this earlier and time got away from me, but here’s the video of my interview with Wil from Rose City Comic Con:  

On the Turning Away

1 basil hayden | Life | Misc | Reflection 1 Comment

My new house is dead silent. I can’t sleep at the moment, a minor issue I find has cropped up since my coma. It’s not a bad thing, I don’t feel anxious or physically bad. Neither too do I feel energetic or purpose driven as if this is some psychological replacement for both the time I was nearly asleep for good or the second chance I was given. I’m just… awake.

Living in the country allows a lot of time for quiet and reflection and I suppose that’s a part of it. I’ve finished up my question list for Wil for Sunday’s Rose City Comic Con panel, and I’m making the drive down to Portland tomorrow to see my friend Mark before I hit the event.

It is, as I said, dead silent around me.

Except for Basil’s snoring, a reminder of the life I’m a steward of and how much happiness he brings me. And the clicking of my keyboard as I write, reminding me these same tools I use to write this are the tools that provide my livelihood. The house itself occasionally makes noise, a squirrel or wandering cat on the roof or the simple sounds that all houses make when talking to you if you remember to stop and listen and not tune them out. (They have their own languages, Houses. Some of them shout like Ollie the weather man, and others whisper.) I can hear my own breathing, a reminder I’m still here. My stomach growls loudly because my medication often makes me want to eat something at odd times.

I go downstairs to grab a piece of fruit from the fridge, conscious of the sound of my bare feet on the wood floor. I can hear the soft whir of the fridge. Outside, despite the late hour, a car drives up the gravel main road.

All these noises and sounds happen all around me typically while I sleep, and now I feel pleasantly sleepy having gotten to sit and experience them for a moment. I finish my snack, turn away and go back to bed.

My new house is dead silent. I can’t sleep at the moment, a minor issue I find has cropped up since my coma. It’s not a bad thing, I don’t feel anxious or physically bad. Neither too do I feel energetic or purpose driven as if this is some psychological replacement for both the time […]

No there ain’t no rest for the wicked, till we close our eyes for good.

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I’m sitting in a posh hotel bar in San Francisco. Just a couple of months ago, I was looking at the city from a much different view, that of an ICU bed at Pacific Medical Center.

I sit here now, like I sit each day, wondering a little bit about what I am going to do with the gift I have been given. You see I was dead for a short bit. Well, mostly dead. At one point the Neurologists had concluded they could detect little electrical activity in my brain, my foot and ocular reflexes were zero: no response, that of a person brain dead or with severe brain damage. An ammonia buildup in my brain combined with a septic infection in my lungs had put me into a coma. The verdict was that I was either already gone, or so far gone I would not return in anything resembling a normal state.

Then something happened. Thanks to the charity of my friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook and just awesome people in general, my family was able to all fly in to San Francisco from Dallas to say goodbye and decide when to pull the plug. Things were that bad.
Then I woke up. Then I got better. Then I got a lot better. Then I got almost normal. Then I got pretty much normal. And now I sit here awaiting my dinner (Salad!) and a ginger beer three months later, and I stop often to think about this continue button I got to press.

When I was out at the deepest level, the “he’s pretty much brain dead” level, I was locked in. I was aware, but unable to communicate or move. I was able to prove this later by recounting conversations around me that happened at that time that I otherwise could not have known about. During that, I lived other lifetimes. I had no temporal sense at all. It was the single worst thing I have ever experienced, by far, because I was just gone enough mentally to be so confused I thought it was normal. When I awoke they could have told me I had been out for 5 years, 5 weeks, or the 5 days I was actually out and I would have believed them. It is, for all methods I could possibly think of, impossible to describe. This isn’t a case of “It felt like forever”, this is a case of being left out in forever entirely, so deep you have no frame of reference for the word “forever.” I moved from fragments of lucidity to dreamstates to…well something I simply cannot describe to you.

There was no tunnel with a light at the end, there was no sense of anything guiding me or spiritual. There was simply this existence out of time, experiences so far reaching sometimes they hit me out of the blue, not in a traumatic way, but in a way that makes me feel somehow much older. I feel, on occasion, weary mentally. Not unlike I’ve been around in this universe way way too long. It’s not especially unpleasant, and some of the experiences I remember were positive. But it tends to take me by surprise when it happens and it’s sometimes hard to shove aside.

Again, these…reveries I suppose they could be called, are not unpleasant or traumatic. I recovered physically such that I am out of any apparent danger, exercising and trying to eat well. They serve to give me pause and reflection about what happened to me, which is a good thing because I don’t want to forget and become complacent about getting a second chance at so many things. I’m extraordinary lucky to get my health back. I live in a beautiful house on a large plot of land in a beautiful part of the country. I have my dog Basil whose unbridled joy at discovering a simple rock in the back yard never fails to make me smile, and I have a life and more full of friends and people who care about me who I inadvertently scared the shit out of.

Being a writer I am of course mining as much of the experience as possible for pieces to perform, believe it or not there is a tremendous amount of humor to be found in the situation once you’re past it. There will be news on that version of events pretty soon.

But for some reason tonight I thought it best to think about the poignant part of what happened to me, that sense of immense age that hits me out of nowhere sometimes. I’m still me, I escaped any lasting brain impacting issues. My follow-ups are all a-ok.

And even with all the time I felt like I lived in that very weird block of darkness, it still would not be enough time to thank everyone properly who came to my aid, from family to friends. From people I’ve known for decades to people I don’t know at all, but who know me through my writing or performances or work. From people I’ve worked with in the past, and people I work with now at HackerOne. The Internet is a wondrous and complicated thing, full at once with 1’s that are angry at 0’s and vice versa. But it also brings us closer together, and I like to think that as loud and painful as the bad parts are, they are still overall in the minority. Something I try to minimize but sometimes falter at.

Next to me a couple is arguing, from the snippets it sounds like a breakup. Across the restaurant there’s a guy sitting alone like me, reading what I think is the latest Jack Reacher book. My salad is half gone, as is the ginger beer. Moments feel immeasurably longer than that every once in a while, just for a brief bit. But that’s more or less where I’m at too.

I’m only half done.

I’m sitting in a posh hotel bar in San Francisco. Just a couple of months ago, I was looking at the city from a much different view, that of an ICU bed at Pacific Medical Center. I sit here now, like I sit each day, wondering a little bit about what I am going to […]

PAX 2015

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Lot’s to catch up on, and I will over the next two weeks. But for now I WILL be at PAX Dev and PAX Prime this year, if you see me be sure to gimme a hug! I’m sure I will be poking my head into any number of surprise panels and talks.

If you want to make sure you see me, I would try your bestest to be at the closing talk of PAX Dev. But I’ve already said too much…

Lot’s to catch up on, and I will over the next two weeks. But for now I WILL be at PAX Dev and PAX Prime this year, if you see me be sure to gimme a hug! I’m sure I will be poking my head into any number of surprise panels and talks. If you […]

When Six Months Feels Like 10 Years

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“Your hemoglobin is pretty low so while we wait on some of the other panel work we’re going to give you a blood transfusion.”

These aren’t words you expect to hear casually, offhand like “I need to check your blood pressure.”

I was sitting in an ER in Vancouver and reflecting on how things could get more stressful. Divorce, new job, relocation to a new country, job doesn’t quite work out, find new employment, feel run down and generally not well, bam hospital with a blood transfusion. I mean, who gets one of those “just because?” Besides Lance Armstrong I mean.

That was early winter. I had just changed over my cell phone plan to Canada, had a little condo in New Westminster, and everything suddenly got…complex. Fast. Due to a surprise health issue I spent some time hospitalized, had to find new work to pay the bills (and lawyers) and rebuild little things you forget in life until you don’t have them anymore like “oh shit, I need a toaster.” Mentally and physically it felt like I had no time for friends or doing anything but working and staying stationary on the couch while getting better.

Most of that, thankfully, is moving well into the “behind me” timetable. I thought most of it would be done by March but I took some extra time to sort of get all my ducks in a row at once. Little things bring a weird sense of returning to life, like getting a new cellphone and number back in the US, going house hunting, lucking into a great role I think I can do well in. Looking around and trying to figure out where you left everything and how you put it all back together is both daunting and exciting. I don’t know if turtling up for a few months was the best way to go about things, but in a way it got me through to this point.

So now I’m back, and that’s on several levels, back on this blog, back in the US, back in the computer security industry, back to writing and performing on the side. It feels strange, but also good! Hopefully all the ancillary stuff is passed, we’ll see. Sorry for the long hiatus, but I was broken for a bit and am more or less back together. :>

“Your hemoglobin is pretty low so while we wait on some of the other panel work we’re going to give you a blood transfusion.” These aren’t words you expect to hear casually, offhand like “I need to check your blood pressure.” I was sitting in an ER in Vancouver and reflecting on how things could […]