i finally called my doctor to schedule an appointment regarding the weird pain on the side of my face. "the next available time is next friday," the receptionist told me. "do you have anything earlier than that?" i asked her. she told me she could get a nurse practitioner to call me back and see where we went from there. a few hours later i got a phone call. the NP asked about my symptoms: muffled hearing on my left ear, blocked left nostril, pain in my jaw joint when i tilt my head the other way, nothing swollen, no other pain when i open my jaw or tug on my ear. she suggested a few things: try some carbamide peroxide to unclog any earwax blocking my hearing canal, take some psuedoephedrine to treat a possible sinus infection, apply a warm press to the side of my face, and call them back if doesn't work.

feeling relieved after speaking with somebody from the medical community, i planned on going out and getting my drugs. that's when i pushed the underside of my left jaw near my neck and felt this sharp pain. no lumps, but it hurts when i poke around in that region. so i went online and searched for "swollen lymph nodes underneath neck." if i thought that would assuage my fears i was seriously wrong. instead of "expert" advice telling me everything would be okay, i found forums and bulletin boards where people with neck and throat cancer and lymphomas were writing about their experiences. yikes. that's when my mother came to pick me up to go to target. "i think i might have cancer," i told her as we drove off.

we went to costco and target before i got a ride back home. i tried calling the hospital to definitely schedule an appointment but they were already closed. at the very least i can self-medicate for the time being. i went into the bathroom and dripped the earwax removal liquid into my ear. it felt sort of weird as it trickled inside my ear canal and i could hear the crackling of dissolving earwax. minutes later i washed out that ear, where a viscous sludge oozed out. next i popped a claritin-d tablet. hours later i felt sort of strange, but my sinuses cleared up to a certain extent. however, at this point, i don't think it's a problem with blocked earwax or nasal decongestion. the pain is definitely localized to my throat, and then to my jaw joint area when i tilt my head. i'll just have to wait until monday to call up my doctor, unless i have to take a trip to the emergency room.

with the myriad of different colored lights shining and flashing in my grow closet, it really is like a carnival in there. i'm noticing more and more nasturtium flower buds. frankly, i didn't think any of the nasturtiums would flower unless i decreased the daily amount of light so they think it's later in the artificial growing season. but another thing that makes plants flower is when you stress them. if they think they're about to die, they start making flowers like crazy in an attempt to make some seeds before they're gone. that must be the case here. as for the cypress vines, i added two more to my collection yesterday and the fourth and last should be emerging within the next few days (i checked beneath the soil, a seedling is definitely growing).




growing up in the 80's, i remembered seeing the covers for ranxerox in the underground section of the comic book stores. i was a little too young for "adult" comics but 2 decades later i'm finally catching up to what i've been missing. italian artist tanino liberatore first created the character of ranxerox in 1978, but it wasn't until 1983 before there was an english version of the series. the story takes place in a dystopian future; ranxerox is a frankenstein-inspired robot who has an underage female lover named lubna. the tales are pretty extreme: besides cavorting with an underage girl who just also happens to be a junkie, panels display scenes of ultraviolence, rape, strange fetishes, drugs, gangs, snuff movies, and child abuse.

liberatore has a very unique style. characters are outlined but the rest is done in colors, especially focusing on the musculature, which has a fleshy pornographic feel to it. the stories are pretty extreme, but the art is so stunning, there's like a balance between the ugly and the beautiful.

american version

french version

i noticed something strange when i read the american version. for one thing, there are constant reminders that lubna is supposedly 18 years old, even though it's quite obvious from her depiction that she's much younger. then i discovered the uncensored french version, and found out that lubna is actually 14 years old (to be fair, the age of consent in italy is 14). other differences: it's okay to show male genitalia, but not erect; and a whole page where ranxerox shakes down a little gang girl is completely missing in the american version.

regardless, i'm not endorsing ranxerox in any way, but if it sounds like your cup of tea, you can search around the internet for copies.