90 Minutes of Discomfort for 6 Shades Whiter

So for Christmas last year, Lucie and I decided to splurge and buy Zoom!® tooth whitening for each other. We've tried a few times to make an appointment, but things have come up, and we hadn't been able to use our gift certificates until today.

I've got the day off, so I have my appointment in the morning. I drive Lucie in to work, and head off to our dentist for my session. I am greeted by our friendly and perky dental assistant, whom I shall call Torquemada (or, as I can easily imagine her saying, "call me Torkie!") who has me lie on the dental chair while she busies herself setting up the soundproof walls. The dental chair feels eerily like a rack as I lie down, and Torkie adjusts it so I'm lying flat on my back and helpless.

She puts a goofy-looking pair of yellow glasses on my face that are almost certainly only there to make me look and feel foolish, brings out a mouthpiece that forces my lips back and shows so much of my teeth I start to feel like the Joker, and brings out her tools. First, Torkie takes several swatches of cotton and shoves them into my mouth to help isolate the teeth. Next, she takes out her hot glue gun and glues everything together ("to make sure the cotton sticks together," she says, though I have long since stopped believing a word she says.) I start to feel more like a craft project than a dental patient, and I imagine her whipping out a Bedazzler to give my teeth the bling they so desperately need.

Thankfully, no Bedazzler appears; it looks like we're finally about to start. Once my teeth are bared, my mouth is clamped open, and the cotton has turned my mouth into Death Valley with an epiglottis, Torkie slaps on the bleach and brings over the REAL torture device, the Zoom!® Whitening Lamp. A cross between one of the scutters from Red Dwarf and a tentacle straight off Doctor Octopus' torso, I can see the thing leering at me with an evil sneer, eagerly anticipating its next victim. Torkie grants its wish, jamming its UV spewing end into my mouth and setting the timer for 15 minutes before walking away and leaving the two of us alone. The heat makes my teeth sting slightly, and it gets a little warm, but I toughen it up and manage to make it through my session... or so I think.

After fifteen minutes, Torkie bounces back into the torture chamber and moves the lamp away. Maybe it's only my imagination, but I swear I can see it pacing behind her as she cleans the whitening agent from my teeth. It's tasted me, and it wants another shot to take me out. Unknowing and unaware of the evil robomauling to come, Torkie dumps another load of bleach into my mouth and lets the lamp have its way with me once again. This time, the heat becomes harder to bear, my tongue starts to scramble around my mouth trying to find some shade like it's a vampire getting a tan, and the lamp is jammed so far into my mouth that... well, let's just say that if you've ever been French-kissed by a Decepticon, you know exactly how I feel. It gets decidedly uncomfortable, but finally Torkie comes back in and separates the two of us.

Unfortunately, she only keeps us apart long enough to replace the whitening agent from my teeth before it begins all over again. I don't know if I'm going to make it through this time or not -- my nerve endings are complaining nonstop, I'm bent so far back on my chair that I can feel one of my vertebrae threatening to come out my nostril, I'm pretty sure I can smell my moustache hairs starting to smolder from the heat, Barry Manilow is playing on the sound system, and the light is so bright that I feel the need to clench my butt lest some light leak out of the bottom of my shorts.

An eternity later, Torkie comes back into the room and thankfully, blessedly, moves the Zoom!® Assault Lamp 2000 into its corner where it rests, laughing at my pain and no doubt blogging somewhere about its latest orofacial conquest. The mouthpiece, cotton, glue, and several dozen nerve endings are pulled from my mouth; Torkie gives me a forgiveness package of whitening toothpaste and sensitivity gel; and in my weakened state I allow myself to be scheduled for a follow-up appointment next week where I will be instructed to repeat the bleaching process at home. As I walk out of the dentist's office with my teeth so sensitive that I seriously think about walking backward to reduce the amount of wind hitting my mouth, and with the pain and humiliation of the last hour and a half tempered by the fact that my teeth are now much whiter than they were when I woke up this morning, I find myself thinking two things...

First, maybe I shouldn't mention all of this when I pick up Lucie for her whitening treatment, and

Second, maybe I should brush my damn teeth more often.


105 Days Recapped in a Few Short Comments

Oh yeah; I *do* have a blog, don't I? Probably should, like, update it every once in a while...


Rather than come up with a totally fake reason as to why I haven't added a post here on over three months, I'll just pass on the COMPLETELY HONEST AND REAL excuse that magic Internet elves stole our broadband bandwidth, and that I had actually planned on updating my blog a full 20 -- no, let's say 25 times, but wasn't able to.

So to rectify that TOTALLY TRUE AND NOT FABRICATED issue, I'll just re-post every single one of the 25 -- actually, let's make that 30 -- posts that I just so happened to have saved on my hard drive. Lucky, that. And not at all contrived.

So give me a minute to peruse the Google news archives,,, er, look through my blog entry folder, and let's get started...


12/3/2007: "1 Mummysaurus Rex announced in North Dakota."
67-million year old dino mummy found in North Dakota. Brendan Fraser holds immediate news conference and suggests that researchers DO NOT open any jars or unlock any ancient books that may be found nearby.

12/6/2007: "3rd Boutique for SfJ."
My company holds a craft boutique; I faithfully lug 80 pounds of equipment to work and set up shop for a day. In the 4 hours I'm sitting behind the table selling my wares, I actually make less money than I would have if I'd been on the clock. This is why Silverfist Jewelry is a HOBBY, and why I WORK for a living.

12/20/2007: "95 Years on Earth, Forever in our Memories."
R.I.P, Grandma (-in-law).

12/22/2007: "2nd Classic Christmas Special for 2007."
I download A Very Supernatural Christmas from iTunes, and pronounce it Awesome. This, along with Shrek the Halls, make 2007 the best year for Christmas TV specials since Rankin/Bass started it all back in 1964.

12/25/2007: "20 Foot High Wall... NOT."
Three allegedly drunk and allegedly instigating teenagers are attacked by a tiger when it escapes its confines in the San Francisco zoo. One of the teenagers is killed by the tiger, Tatiana, who is later shot and killed by police who arrive on scene. In an amazing display of callous judgment, I choose to root for the tiger, much like with the Montecore/Horn bout of 2003.

12/27/2007: "29th Birthday for Older Sister."
In an amazing event, my older sister celebrates her 29th birthday... at least, that's how old I will claim she is. I'm 36. She's my older sister, and she turns 29. Don't think about it, Sagan.

12/31/2007: "'...5, 4, 3, 2, 1' in New York City."
Damn, that new ball that drops in Times Square looks awesome. What are those; LEDs?

1/2/2008: "1st Car Accident of 2008."
Let's hope that's "Only Car Accident in 2008." Some lady decided she doesn't want to be in the left turn lane, and bumps into the back of Meg as we drive to work. Lucie almost gets 5 minutes for roughing. Luckily, no major damage is visible, but we memorize her face in case we see her crossing the street in front of us at some point in the future.

1/3/2008: "1st Presidential Caucus, in Iowa."
McCain finishes 4th behind Huckabee, Romney, and Fred Thompson. Poor dude doesn't stand a chance.

1/7/2008: "3 Irritating Rodents in San Jose."
I don't remember how -- my mind manages to block all memories of what I can only assume is a demeaning and humiliating test of wills -- but Lucie talks me into going to see The Chipmunks at the Century Theaters across the street from us. The fact that I didn't vomit on the unkempt head of the moppet sitting in front of us signifies that it's not quite as bad as I thought it would be. The fact that the only reason I don't gouge my eyes out with my nachos is because the chips are too soggy with melted cheese signifies that it's also not as good as I would like it to be.

1/15/2008: "0.76 Inches Thick of Pure Cool in Cupertino."
Steve Jobs introduces the MacBook Air at the MacWorld Expo (which technically is in San Francisco, but I live closer to Cupertino, and that's where the Apple headquarters are.) The ridiculous thinness is beyond incredible, but the lack of multiple USB ports or a CDR/DVD drive, and its painfully high price, keep me away. For now. However, once I get Wi-Fi hooked up in our apartment, all bets are off...

1/15/2008: "6'6" of Attitude, Back on the Air."
While it's not as groovy as his short-lived FreeFM radio show, Penn Jillette triumphantly makes his return to social commentary with his video blog at Crackle.com (though I opt for the podcast feed through iTunes.) If you enjoy listening to the no-holds-barred ramblings of a self-professed nut atheist Libertarian juggler comedian magician actor, this vlog is for you. You also might want to widen that niche a little.

1/16/2008: "9 Minutes of Wackiness Online."
Tom Cruise's latest science fiction horror movie premieres -- based on a story by L. Ron Hubbard, it's a dark and twisted look at the world as seen through the eyes of a deluded psychopath. The movie is seen by several million people within days of the premiere, but for some reason doesn't earn anything at the box office. Weird. Also, creepy.

1/25/2008: "365 Days Ago Today in San Jose..."
...we'd made the hotel reservations for our trip to Hawaii.

I miss Hawaii.

1/28/2008: "8th State of the Union Address from D.C."
Oddly enough, Dubya seems to just phone this one in.

1/31/2008: "4th Season of Lost on ABC."
Finally. Good thing there's not a writers' strike going on or anything, because this way all episodes of this season will be shows on consecutive weeks, just like they said.

2/1/2008: "$44.6 Billion from Redmond, WA."
Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for a big chunk of money.
Yahoo says "no thanks."
Microsoft makes a threatening gesture, and says "no, seriously, take the money."
Yahoo says "yeah? Make us."
Microsoft shrugs and says "'kay."
More news to follow.

2/6/2008: "32BG of Touch in Cupertino."
Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn!
My 16GB iPod Touch is still too recent a purchase to abandon, so I look on with envy as Apple doubles the storage capacity of the iPod Touch and iPhone. I also get a chuckle as thousands of outraged Apple fanatics take to the streets and riot, claiming that Apple has NO RIGHT to upgrade its product line when new technology becomes available.

2/9/2008: "1GB of Tax Return Forms at Office Max."
I go out and buy tax return software, since I don't trust myself to do it correctly by myself, but we didn't do anything abnormal enough to warrant a trip to H&R Block. Being the technogeek I am, I opt to spring for $5 extra to buy my tax return software on a 1GB reusable USB flash drive. CDs be damned, I'm all about my flash drive collection!

2/10/2008: "4 Paintings in Zurich."
Unknown bandits break into the Zurich Museum and steal 4 paintings. Gone are works by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh, and Monet. Man, those art collectors are hardcore.

2/12/2008: "100 Days of Striking Ends in Hollywood."
The Writers Guild of America votes to end its strike after 100 days. Faithful TV viewers across America breathe a sign of relief, and then go back to watching Survivor: Wherever the Hell They Are This Time Around.

2/14/2008: "1 More Awful Sequel in Theaters."
Yet another urban dance movie, which for some unfathomable reason managed to actually turn a profit in theaters in its first incarnation, comes out with a sequel in hopes of making another quick buck on a cheesy trend. And as terrible as that is, Step Up 2: Electric Boogaloo actually comes in as the #1 movie in its opening weekend, which can only be a bad sign.

2/17/2008: "6'6" of Attitude... Waltzing?"
Penn Jillette is announced as one of the contestants on the upcoming 6th season of Dancing with the Stars. His comment, "When you look like Sasquatch, it's more comfortable watching the show", is bested only by fellow contestant Cristian de la Fuente's "I guess they needed one Latino per show."

2/18/2008: "2 Paintings in Zurich."
Of the 4 paintings stolen from the Zurich Museum on 2/10/2008, 2 are found unharmed in the back seat of an unlocked car (also in Zurich.) So... the Monet and van Gogh are returned, but the Degas and Cezanne are still missing; nothing against Degas and Cezanne, but apparently the hardcore art collector-thieves are also crappy art critics.

2/19/2008: "30 years of Sharper Image Gone."
Trendy electronics gizmo store The Sharper Image declares bankruptcy. I bought my first Swiss Army knife there. We also bought a barbecue fork with LED lights there for a Christmas present in 2006, but returned it because the LEDs weren't LUXEON® brand.

2/24/2008: "3rd Party Starts Campaigning."
Ralph Nader decides he doesn't get enough hate mail from Democrats, and joins in the fray.

2/26/2008: "#51 in San Jose."
Doug Wilson trades underperforming Steve Bernier to Buffalo for points-earning defenseman Brian Campbell. Sharks go on a 7-game winning streak... or they might, I mean, since I'm writing this on Feb. 26 and NOT in the beginning of March just pretending this is all archived on my hard drive...

2/29/2008: "29 Days in February?! AAAHHHH!"
What next, Daylight Savings time starting in March instead of the first Sunday in April?!

3/2/2008: "3x5 Geek Humor on Blogspot."
After many months of having completely forgotten about it, I rediscover the wonderful geeky math humor and social commentary of Jessica Hagy. I immediately spend the rest of the evening perusing the archived entries, saving the jpegs in a folder to toss on my iPod. Damn, I'm a geek.

3/4/2008: "+2 Moment of Silence in WI."
After nearly suffering a heart attack from incorrect medication for strokes suffered in 2001 and 2004, Gary Gygax dies in his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. While many a newspaper article tries to be clever by suggesting he "failed his final saving throw" or calling his death his "final quest", I decide to give him the moment of silence he deserves. I can remember many a night spent having fun with friends and family playing Dungeons & Dragons, and although I've since moved on I do have many a fond memory thanks to of the father of modern role playing games.

3/6/2008: "30 Bogus Entries on Blogspot."
Err, ignore that last one.