a brief carpal tunnel interlude
written 2000-01-23 02:23:34

I was going to write today about my medical benefits agent, as there's a
lot of comedy in that, and I did. It's sitting in a text file on my
laptop. I'll send it out tommorow. Today I want to talk about, hopefully
for the last time, my wrists. They hurt. Still.

I know of at least one person on this mailing list that is having wrist
pain...I dunno if his is carpal tunnel syndrome or not. The fact is that
like 70% and higher of the wrist pain cases in the computer industry just
simply are not carpal tunnel syndrome. That's not denial on my part,
btw. Frequently it's tendonitis or something else.

I started typing this email on a Kinesis brand keyboard. It was a
brilliant design that is completely useless to me. There's a picture of
it at http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/contspec.html ...this thing costs more
than 250 dollars. Unbelievable.

Again, this keyboard can help a lot of people, I'm fairly certain. A lot
of people also learned at some point to touch-type. I never did. After
spending about 15 minutes trying to write a small paragraph to Kara, I
gave up on this thing. Which is a shame, because not only does it rest
your hands in a really good "natural" position, but it really alleviates
the need almost entirely for any kind of hand movement (the space key is
hit by your right thumb and the backspace is your left...it's
wild.)...largely I've discovered that my modified hunt-and-peck typing
style (which is completely undistinguishable from real typing after all
these years) fails miserably on this thing.

First, my hands come to rest at an offset of one from the "home
row"...that is, my left hand hits capslock (or whatever), A, S, and D
instead of A,S,D, and F, whereas my right lands on K, L, ";", and
"'" instead of J, K, L, ";" ...it's completely subconscious.

Furthermore, I hit the T key with my right hand half the time, and the
"Y" key with my left more often than not...since these keys are in the
wrong "bowl" for those hands to hit them, I find myself trying really
hard not to reach across the keyboard for them. This makes this keyboard
instinctually impossible for me to use.

Ironically, I find my posture getting worse as I lean forward to try and
see into the curves and see where the key I want to hit is located.

At any rate, I really wanted that keyboard to solve all my problems, but
alas, it will not.

But a word about my posture; it is absolute horrible. Any one that's seen
me in person already knows me to be completely slouched over anyhow, but
that only worsens at the computer. I hunch over the keys, rest my wrists
on the table (which bends them at a decidedly awkward and unhealthy
angle), and type by twisting my wrists from a bad angle to a distinctly
worse one, depending on what I'm trying to do.

My quick fix (which I had never thought of before I just typed that last
paragraph) is to move the keyboard to the edge of the table. This
prevents me from resting my wrists down, which in itself makes me adopt
the more ergonomic stance of typing above the keyboard, much like a
piano player...uh, plays. It also forces me to lean back a little more,
improving my posture. Knowing me, the chair will just slide back
subconsciously and I'll slump forward to type like the Hunchback of Notre
Dame again.

Also, prime suspect #1 (er...besides the last 7 months of 12-hour
development days) is my laptop. Sony VAIO N505VE...it's a tiny little
grasshopper, for those that haven't seen it, but it is MURDER on my
wrists, usually because of where I use it as much as the miniscule
keyboard and mousepad positioning.

Oops, there goes Xwrits. More in a second.

Anyhow, other stuff. Today I checked my balance with 1-800-WACHOVIA, and
I'm down to 98 bucks in checking. This means they received my
check. Good. So I verify who cashed what, and find that one of the bills
was paid. That means the checks have also hit town. Good.

Of course, if the 40 dollar bill is the only one paid out of 386 bucks
worth of paycheck, where's the rest? Apparently Wachovia changed my
account (since I'm no longer a student) to no longer have overdraft
protection. Which is fine, if you ask me. The assumption is that if I
don't have the money in my account, my Visa check card should then just
decline to process a purchase. Cool. Before, it would process it, the
overdraft protection would dump 200 bucks in the account, and I'd have X
days to pay that 200 off and I'd be fine.

But my assumption is incorrect. Here is what ACTUALLY happens:

I make a 5 dollar purchase on my card (for example), and my checking
account can't cover it. Wachovia pays that five bucks, and charges me 28
bucks in fees. Seeing as all my gas and hotel rooms were on this card to
get here, I have at least 5 (and maybe more) overdrafts on my account.

So, unbeknowest to me, I spent about 140 or so bucks of my first paycheck
here at Loki on overdraft fees. Thanks a million, Wachovia.

By the way, no one directly told me they had changed my account...some
telephone operator at one point several months ago, said she was
"updating my record," which I assumed meant updating the telephone number
and address, since I had moved. Can I sue for this?  :)

So the short of it is that either the phone bill or the cable bill will
clear, but not both. Unless the overdraft thing "works" and I just pay an
extra 28 bucks at my leisure to keep the power running.

This is also assuming that the mail got in before the due date. Ugh.

I'm done bitching, now. Tommorow's update will actually be funny, I
promise.  :)


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