Thursday, May 31, 2007

Life in the Left Lane

I'm not going to let a wonky shoulder keep me off the tennis court. The rotator cuff injury from falling on the ice at Berkeley Iceland isn't healed yet, and I'm sitting out this season of the local tennis league to rest it.

But where there's a will, there's a way. I've started practicing left-handed, and now can do everything OK that way except serve. Strangely, I had an easy time learning to judge topspin backhands on the left side, where I sometimes mishit the ball doing that with the right arm. Not sure if that's a vision thing, or a holdover from a right shoulder injury from the teenage years.

The rotator cuff is supposed to take "in the low months" to recover from this type of injury. As with ribs, the doctors don't do a whole heck of a lot unless there's something really serious. If it doesn't come all the way back, then an MRI is the only way to see exactly what's wrong. There are various tendons and ligaments that fall under the heading of "rotator cuff", plus the labrum which has its own set of things that can go wrong.

The Personal and the Professional

What does it mean when your professional life overshadows your personal life? I mean, I try to strike a good work/life balance. But not long after I set up a separate blog for work-related (i.e. Oracle) topics, that became the top-rated Google result related to me for a search on "John Russell". Last week it was on page 2 of Google results, now it's on page 1.

I guess it means that the web is growing up, that Oracle has a healthy and interested user community, and that my professional interests are worth sharing with others along with vegetarian recipes and Cancun travelogues. Or on a mundane level, it could just mean that my Oracle blog is the page most closely associated with me by name -- the people who link to it tend to call it John Russell's Tahiti Views blog.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ice Ice Baby

Although California isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think "ice", there is some to be found outside a freezer or a cocktail. Berkeley has its historical "Iceland" rink, or anyway it did until the end of March. We went for a skating session the last week before it closed.

In Canada, we all grew up using hockey skates, which have a smooth blade all the way around. Iceland, by default, supplied rentals that were figure skating skates. Those have a set of spikes, the "toe points", at the front of the blade. For someone used to hockey skates, that means the normal motion of sliding the foot forward causes the skate to dig into the ice. Not good for maintaining balance at high speeds! Luckily, I protected the digital camera the one time I fell. Unluckily, I tweaked my rotator cuff, which typically takes a few months to get back to normal.

Iceland's history includes Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, and the old California Golden Seals. (I used to have Golden Seals hockey cards back in third grade or so.) A group is trying to raise funds to keep it open, but they have a long way to go to meet their goal.