"There is no coming to consciousness without pain"
Well, I just got here. That's not really true anymore, but all this still feels new and exploration-worthy to me.
I'm not really good with this whole 'talk about myself' affair, so if you'd want to know what, why and how I got into all of this, please read the story of my personal ascension.
I definitely seem to have developed a passion for body suspension. And because this community seems to be THE place to be to live that passion, I decided to join your little world here. I want to learn as much as I can about it.
No Forum - but I like getting messages. And don't be afraid of the tracking thingie; it doesn't bite.
8/8/2010 | 5 comments
(click through all pics to enlarge!)
I don't know what started it initially, but Ania and me were discussing trips to Budapest we both wanted to / had to take this summer. For me, it was a business trip, whereas for her it was another of these "travel and acquire modifications along the way" journeys which she enjoys doing every summer (man, how I wish I had *nine weeks off* every summer during which to travel, too!). So we made travel plans and she arranged her appointment with Gabor so I could be there at the same time.
And then my knee decided to act up and render me handicapped for awhile (see below... I'm still on crutches and while the swelling has gone down, it's still hurting, impossible to bend and I can't walk for anything more than a few steps). Well, I did not let this deter me from going, so I changed my seat assignment for the flight and reserved a rental car with an automatic, which seems to be an impossibility in Hungary - I had to settle for a tiny Smart car!
Then came Thursday, July22, the morning of which will be remembered for its unpleasantness. I had to take the very first train to Zürich airport as my flight was leaving at 6am, so I took the car to go to the train station (no public transport at 4:30 am!), only to discover that all parking options were either filled to capacity or closed. Great. So I had to drive there (45 minutes) and put my car in the airport parking lot - exactly what I wanted to avoid, as by that time I hadn't really mastered the art of one-footed stick shift driving yet. Also, the fees are outrageous: it's cheaper to fly to Budapest than to park there for five days... The experience at the airport was horrible: the gate was miles from the check-in and it took me an extremely tiring half-hour hopping on my crutches to get there. Then there was no PBB but lots of walkways, a bus ride and a gangway with - *oh horror* - lots of steep stairs leading up into the plane. Let me tell you, by the time I was finally seated I was so exhausted and in pain, I only wanted to go home and lie down in my bed. The joys of travel - but I digress...
Anyway, I landed in Budapest on time and a little refreshed, was greeted by someone who held up a sign with my name and took care of my luggage - and half an hour later I was happily motoring into the city in my air-conditioned-and-automated-transmission-equipped Smart, ready for some fun. Well, after some GPS-induced getting lost (hey, how the hell am I supposed to know that there's twenty-three streets called "Danube road" in Budapest, and without adding the correct city district I have no chance of finding the correct one!) I finally met up with her, and we went to the city to check into my hotel and then go explore the city. We both got chuckles out of the carpet in my room, which, in addition to being blood-red, featured a motive made with needles, scissors and twine on it - definitely an omen!
After having a shower and getting g some rest, we went out for some food along the riverfront, explored the city for a bit and went to see Gabor in his shop to discuss the details of tomorrow's procedures, where I learned that I was needed to assist with it....o_O...
Seeing it was almost exactly two years since we met last (at Oslo suscon 2008), there was a good deal of catching up, too. Call me old-fashioned, but in my opinion (I know, some of you see this differently) no amount of virtual communications can fully substitute up-close-and-personal face-to-face meetings.
Now, Ania is a runner, and she wanted to use the running track which is circling beautifully located Margarets Island (or, in Hungarian, 'Margit Sziget'), so that's where we went for the evening. She ran the 5.3 km track while I hobbled to the nearest bench, savored the sunset and watched everyone running past, resting my leg. I unfortunately didn't bring my camera, so I had to use my phone camera for the finish-line photo. Sorry for the quality, but someone insisted on getting it:
Anyway, I was extremely happy to be back at the car, dropped Ania off at her boat and called it a night soon after.
but finally everything was set, the scalpels came out and the fun (?) began:
The 'outlines' (the cutting part) were done pretty quick and seemed to be rather easy. Ania was relaxed and obviously in no great amount of pain (check the second picture!). She was chatting with us like she'd be getting a massage instead of being cut up. BTW, there were no anesthetics used at all for the whole procedure. That's right - no EMLA cream etc.
Then came the second part - the design called for some good deal of skin removal. Gabor started out with tweezers and scalpel - mind you, no anesthetic! - and I was about to witness the most intense thing ever. Anias' relaxed attitude soon changed into a visibly pained and distressed one. She tried to breathe the pain away, much like as is taught as technique with body suspensions, and used her arms and hands as outlet to let the pain out. Just that, with suspensions, the pain is overwhelming only for a short period during lifting and then (well, usually, when you don't do anything super-intense like hanging from two hooks in the front of your body) recedes to the point of not being noticed anymore. But this was different - it took several hours, and it was very visible when and how her body and mind were both exhausted and had enough pain for the day.
At this point, squeezing her hand seemed to be welcome, also... Towards the end, as the endorphins wore off and the pain increased in more sensitive areas on her upper ribcage, there were a few water and relaxation breaks, as it was just too much for her to carry on, as much as she'd have preferred to do without them. In any case, progress was painful and slow, as Gabor moved on deliberately and with great precision. He really is a very talented modification professional and everything was done following good protocol. I'd totally could recommend him :)
Watching this work of art being carved into a living body was an amazing experience for me, and I felt honored to have been asked to share it.
Well ,after almost five hours of getting cut, things were finally done. Everybody deserved a break, and I had to scoot off to the corporate office far awhile (hey, this was a business trip for me!).
One last photo, and then the beauty of the new adornment vanished beneath a layer of vaseline and saran wrap:
But that is NOT the end of the story - there's round three to come: Ania got her tongue split by Gabor last year and experienced some regrowth, so she wanted a re-cut and the split deepened. Well, and that was where I was needed - it was my job to hold her tongue apart while Gabor first cut and then stitched it.
Let me tell you, the feeling of holding a 'living', moving tongue that was being cut through at the same time felt really strange. Compared to the scarification, that one went quick and painless (this time, anesthetics WERE used) though.
End result: One Exhausted but happy Ania. We then wrapped up, cleaned up and said goodbye - all in all, we spent six- and-a-half hours in there, the majority of which Ania was getting cut. That is damn impressive, and I really admire her stamina and attitude with which she approached the whole thing and went through it all.
And then it was time to get some rest. We retreated to my hotel, where we ate a bit, looked through the pictures and the tons of video I took of the procedure - and then it was time for that infamous first shower and wrap change. After that was done with (no details here - what happened in my bathroom, stays in my bathroom, n'est ce pas?) it was another nightly trip to the 'botel' and we all got some well-deserved rest.
The rest of the weekend was filled with rather unspectacular (in comparison) touristy things. We went out to the countryside and made a day trip to Tokaj, did quite a bit of sightseeing and generally enjoyed the time there. The weather, which had been scorching hot (over 40° Celsius on Thursday and Friday) cooled off quite a bit on Saturday, and it rained on Sunday, with temperatures dropping down to the 20° range. We took a mini-cruise on Sunday, enjoying a 90-minute narrated city tour on a large boat which was fun.
And we went shopping at an outlet center (hey, searching for gas stations sometimes turns out to be very surprising) where in a total reversal of stereotype gender roles had to convince a girl to get a piece of clothing (which I even paid for...). HA! Rule No.1: You can never have enough running tops. Rule No2: When they are on sale and to be had dirt-cheap, you grab the opportunity, as Rule #1 applies :)
First two pics: on the river trip. Third and fourth are Budapest by night, seen from the Buda castle. 5th was a "do like the locals do" pose in front of a winery in Tokaj (that's an inside joke . We saw an amazing number of storks along the way, too. And last pic is the special "after-tongue-split" diet - ice cream and vegetarian cheeseburgers :)
Well, and then it was time for me to say "goodbye", as I had to leave Sunday evening. Due to the flight leaving almost four hours late, we landed in Zürich only after midnight - and that meant no more trains. So I was *really* lucky to have taken the car, after all! And the good news is that MALEV will reimburse me for those outrageous parking fees!
7/30/2010 | 0 comments
Bad knee or no bad knee - I didn't let this deter me from attending the VI. Swiss IAM meeting. This event is the one that started it all for me four years ago when I attended it for the first time, marking my first contact with this community. Sadly, as in that first year, I did not suspend this time around - which would have been a bad idea what with all the medication I was taking. Although Alice would loved to have loved to do a 1 pt "grapefruit" suspension with me on my left knee that looked like said fruit, size-wise :=)
This year was really laid back, with less people attending than in previous years, which made the atmosphere really nice and relaxed. And although I was missing some people I knew and was looking forward to meet again, there were quite a few new faces. I'm especially happy about 'Team France' (Klem and gis girlfrind Julie) coming, who took on the longest road trip in the hottest weather for this. Quite a few first-time suspensions, too, which all went swimmingly. Everybody had a great time - look at those smiling faces: (as usual, click through to enlarge pics)
And there was more than suspensions - Rolf, in addition to doing his, um, 30th or so coma suspension, acquired a pretty bold facial cutting by Iestyn (who, along with Benoit and Alice from Constant Elevation, facilitated the suspensions) that really was scary to watch being done - the amount of blood being shed was crazy...
Here's some more pictures - enjoy:
I really enjoyed it, and definitely will be back next year. Thank you Keff, Sandy and Fabian for organizing it!
7/15/2010 | 13 comments
It seems like that EVERY TIME I plan on attending a get-together that involves hooks and fun, some higher power decides to deter me from that by making something in my body act up. Grrrrr... :(
When going to work last Tuesday, I noticed that the underside of my left knee hurt when touched and there was a bit of pain in it when I strained it. Thought nothing much of it. Well, until Saturday. Went to get my car from the shop (finally! No more boring auto trans loaner!) and stopped by my folks in Germany. Keen eye that my mom has, first thing she said was "hey, what's up with your leg - it's getting thick". Well, it WAS. Over the wekeend, it kept growing and growing and growing - to truly elephantastic proportions. And started to hurt *real bad*.
So I went to the Dr. on Monday to have it checked out. She sent me to the university hospital ER right away, after about thirty seconds of looking at it. There, I was seen by three different doctors, including the head guy, in the course of 45 minutes. Despite that and doing a battery of tests, they were unable to determine what caused this condition. After draining the fluid (180 ml of it!) and getting samples of everything for more lab tests, I was sent home with a pair of crutches, some braces and a couple painkiller and anti-inflammatory prescriptions.
This is how it looked there, and still looks (click through to enlarge to horrific size):
It hasn't changed at all since Monday night. Had the thing drained three times now, and it fills up again with fluid as fast as you can take it out.
Note the scars just above my knees - these are from last November ( yeah... I know why I don't like large hooks and am deadly afraid of tearing!) and everyone was asking about them.
Side note: I am totally amazed on how well the hospital experience went down with me. I used to get nauseous from the smell, and the sight of uniformed staff brandishing surgical instruments left me terrorized. Well, not any more. I guess getting involved with you guys took care of that for good. After putting 6g needles and hooks into yourself, I guess being poked with stuff just loses its scare factor.
Oh, and I will NOT let this deter me from going to show up at the Swiss meeting tomorrow. And I didn't cancel next week's trip to Hungary, either so far. Knock on wood...
6/29/2010 | 0 comments
that, according to the time recording printout I received, is the number of "overtime" hours I have accumulated since Jan.1st. And that does not even include any of the work stuff I do from home nor the rather extensive travel I do. I do love my job, and don't have an issue with working more than the 40 hours/week I'm supposed to - but too much is too much, and I'm a "MrNiceGuy" type of person who feels the need to always satisfy anybody's requests, but now I'm feeling exploited big time. It's not the lacking compensation (I'm not getting paid anything for 'overtime'), it's that bean-counter mentality of the upper echeleons around here who seem to be oblivious to the situation - we're down to to three people in the department from five, all that with responsibilities added at the same time. I feel so overworked and just tired ever since getting back from my vacation two months ago just to find a huge-ass pile of work on my desk, and I desperately want to go back to a point where I don't have to rely on externally administered substances to feel happy and euphoric - especially since that brings only short-term relief and has too many side effects. So there's going to be some changes one way or the other pretty soon.
End work rant. Feels good to write that down and have it out, even when nobody will read it.
Eh... I'm feeling strangely comfortable in here lately. I'm a very 'private' person, and writing about personal stuff (even more so, putting it out on the internet publicly) used to be a concept I dismissed as "not for me". But I credit this community in general and one of you in particular with changing this attitude, and I have to say it does have its merits. Funny, though, seeing how (almost) everyone else laments that it's getting quiet around here lately - I definitely seem to prefer the more intimate and obscure atmosphere.
In better news, personal issues are, well, better. Somewhat. And I got all my data back from the crash I had. Had to have this done professionally, but it's all restored and accounted for now. Hopefully I'll have some time to sort through all the pictures (I still owe y'all a few updates!) soon.
Oh, and I do manage to get away from the desk from time to time. Attended another music festival two weeks ago, so it's not all bad. Some pictures for you to enjoy (Rammstein definitely delivers most awesome shows!), and I had a very good time there. The guys with the pickup bed pool were our neighbors at the campsite - that thing was awesome! I rented an RV for the weekend, and, yes, that's the way to go for events like this and will definitely be repeated for Coachella next year.
Rammstein did an awesome show with enough pyrotechnics to start WWIII.
I actually had to retreat back from the my position near the stage because
it just got eyebrow-searing hot.(as usual, click through to enlarge pics...)
Love the "Crowdsurfing verboten" sign... and there's no such thing as bad weather :). Friday was hot and sunny, Sat. was cloudy and just right, and Sunday it rained...
And I went on a mountain bike trip to the Alps last weekend - this is just a bit more than one hour's drive from where I live. That was the first time I took my foldable, not-really-quite-fit-for this-task (skinny slicky road tires!) mountain bike to the test, and it held up better than expected. Fun times!
6/5/2010 | 0 comments
In the process of rebuilding all my computer stuff that was fried/killed last weekend. Luckily, I could return that expensive SSD, so I didn't spend the money for nothing. I love SSDs, they are so fast and all-around good. Could not imagine going back to "normal" drives now. Plus, it looks like the data on my NAS can be salvaged - added my old drives into the replacement unit which arrived today, and it's currently rebuilding the RAID. Well, we'll see what's coming out of that, but I'm confident! So I might only have lost a week of emails and files on the laptop drive instead of almost everything
Speaking of which, I got a brand-spanking new Dell now. Sure, it's really fast (what, quad-core CPU on a laptop?) and has all the bells and whistles you expect from a current top-of-the-line business machine - but I don't particularly like it. Never been a fan of widescreen displays - they're good for watching movies, but where's the horizontal space? And the keyboard as well as general build quality is really shitty compared with my old IBM. It's flexing and the shiny surface will scratch in no time.. Due to the keyboard layout being different from the Thinkpads I've been working with for over a decade now, I constantly keep hitting the wrong keys when typing, too. "FN" "C" opens some networking control instead of copying stuff! Argh! Can't wait to get mine back!
Feeling a bit better in general, too. Just letting things settle for awhile seems to help. Still a bit down, but nothing I can't manage.
Plus, the weather has finally caught up with the season and it's all nice, sunny and warm instead of cold, rainy and plain depressing. About time and just right in time for the outdoor concert/festival season - there's a few coming up soon I'm really looking forward to attending: Greenfield festival next weekend, and AC/DC on Tuesday!
Hey, I might just continue this for awhile. Writing things down has proven to be helpful in dealing with things, and it's not as awkward as I thought... so why not use this space for what's it was intended? (thanks for the inspiration and the guidance, you know who you are!)
And I could not resist - a lot of (pricey) geeky goodness: