Sunday, February 26, 2012

a crook back

i've been waking up each morning this past week with a sore upper back - tense/tight muscles, spasmic sensations, sometimes just not being able to get comfortable whatever position i get myself in. the symptoms improve within a few hours, and i'm pretty much fine by the afternoon/evening, only to repeat the cycle the next day. there's also been possibly increased tiredness and some echoes of headaches.

all of which lead me to think for a while that maybe i've suffered some kind of whiplash like injury, but the only likely cause i can think of were the various bumpy rides during my recent SES deployment to roma/mitchell, which are more of an up and down movement than the typical back and forth of whiplash. moreover, my neck was about as good (or as bad) as it normally is. so, whilst i've discounted whiplash, i did come across a UQ site about the treatment for such injuries which i found of interest - the whiplash evidence based information resource. contrary to (some?) popular belief, the best treatment plans seems to be to basically get on with it - act as usual and keep exercising, in conjunction with seeking multi modes of treatment.

and given that i've not been able to find much info about "bumpy road" type injuries (although this was quite disturbing!) that's basically what i've tried to do... go to work, play my weekend games of social tennis, housework etc as usual, and seeking some additional treatment from my dad (a registered reflexologist and practitioner of various other alternative therapies). he says that part of my spine (upper back) is out of alignment, and this was likely to have been caused by the bumpy rides with the repeated bouncing/shock transferred from the seat/bum up the back...

i'm really hoping that this is a temporary thing and that it'll heal by itself in due course (a few weeks?). i'm trying to sleep more on my side so that i'm not putting as much pressure on my back (when lying down) for hours on end. it might be helping a bit...

now if only the vehicles we travelled in had suspension systems like these...!

Monday, February 20, 2012

alternative DNS server options

as with probably 99.5%* of the online population, i have for years used the default DNS servers that get assigned to me by my ISP as part of the DHCP process. i knew that other DNS servers existed, but never thought about using any alternatives. in recent months, i've found out about two such options, both free:
  1. OpenDNS, which claims to be "the leading provider of Internet security and DNS services", featuring
    • Industry leading malware and botnet protection 
    • Award winning Web filtering 
    • Faster, reliable, more secure DNS 
    • Ultra-reliable, globally distributed cloud network 
    • Simple, Smart, Easy
  2. Google public DNS, which claims to give performance and security benefits
i haven't tried google's public DNS, but have been using the familyshield product from opendns, which comes preconfigured to block adult websites, on top of other standard opendns features. it's quite easy to setup, and seems to be working fairly well thus far, though i can't say i've really noticed much difference (performance wise) compared to my ISP default. well it is meant to be a set and forget thing, so here's hoping i don't need to remember it much.

* yes i totally made that up, but that doesn't mean it's wrong :p

Saturday, February 11, 2012

how does orange suit me?

i finally got my SES uniform a few weeks ago, which means i now need to wear it to training every week. putting a high visibility vest over my (civilian) clothes was a much easier option, but at least i can look the part alongside the rest of the orange-clad membes, and not stick out as the non-uniformed new recruit.

it's still not all smooth sailing though - i'm missing a few items in the kit, and have no idea if/when these will come through. weirder yet was that my boots only came with one shoelace...

with no time to visit the shops to buy new laces, i stole the laces from an old and falling-apart pair of sneakers. but these were at most 60-70% of the length of the boot lace, so it was off to google for some inspiration on different lacing methods, and boy are there lots of ways of lacing a shoe!

i settled on the army lacing method, mostly because this method uses less lace length and is used for combat boots. it was pretty much just right for the old laces on the new boots.

so, i'm all geared up (more or less) and ready to be deployed.

and i just so happen to be going on my first deployment tomorrow! 5 days in st george (about 500km west of brisbane), helping with post flood efforts (the town has just been flooded for the third time in less than 2 years). i'm told the conditions will be rough, which is outside of the experiences of this urban creature... but this is what i signed up for, so it's time to finish packing, get a good night's sleep, and set out early in the morning.

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related posts: joining the SES