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Another Brick In The Wall Vortex Abstract

by on Sep.13, 2016, under Instructional, News, Photo Du Jour, Projects, Recent Projects

Another Brick In The Wall

This is one of the latest in my Vortex series of digital art / photo-manipulation.

What I don’t usually reveal is the source material for these digital abstracts. In many cases I have even forgotten the original image I used to create them. On occasion I have to find the master file and examine the metadata to figure it out if and when the topic comes up.

Since this one is fresh in my mind, I thought I would give y’all a little insight into my process.

The original image is from the inner basement area of the old Sears Building, now known as South Side on Lamar in the heart of Dallas. I explored this area back in December of 2008 with the idea of using it for some edgy modeling photography. There are several images from the research trip that I have used, one of which is in my first coffee table book, Texas As I See It.

This is the original unedited, un-retouched image:

Photoshop manipulation is next.

  • The original image is cropped to a square that contains the elements I think will achieve the desired effect.
  • The square is resized to a pixel count I feel will hold up to printing up to 42″ wide for my largest editions.
  • This image is enhanced to bring up detail, color and shadow / highlight detail.
  • Multiple layers are created to work from.
  • A master layer is twisted to a degree I think is effective for the elements in the image
  • A duplicate layer is created from the new master.
  • Both new master layers are edited for exposure, saturation and hue.
  • Layers are tweaked for blending effects and then a master file is saved with the layers intact.
Square version of Another Brick in the Wall

Square version of Another Brick in the Wall

 

In the case of square Vortex editions, this version may be further enhanced, tuned and may have adjustment layers created to produce the final image.

In today’s illustration, I have decided I want this one as a diamond-shaped image.

  • This version is then rotated 45 degrees
  • It is cropped and resized again
  • Brightness, exposure, saturation, dodging and burning are finalized at this point
  • This is the master used to print from
  • I save it as such and name it accordingly
  • A new layer is added below the master and filled with white
  • The master is rotated back 45 degrees for purposes of producing the preview you see below
  • The preview image has its resolution changed to something appropriate for websites and email
  • A drop shadow is added
  • In Photoshop the Save to Web and Devices option is employed to create the efficient file size needed for web / email use

 

The final result is this:

Another Brick in the Wall

The most time-consuming part of this was crafting the 3 dimensional brick and blending it to achieve the effect I was after.

There are right around 370 editions of Vortex images in the collection at this time. Most of them are online to be browsed, but the complete collection is not available in one place at this time. It takes a lot of routine maintenance to keep the website up to date and I just haven’t had the time.

If you want to see more of this series, you can find a fairly complete collection at www.vividpixelz.net

You can send me an email, text or just use the old-fashioned method of picking up the phone if you have questions about this or any of my other work.

The Vortexes are in two different styles. The diamond-shape like this one and square versions. Both are designed to be displayed in a grid. They come in 24, 36 and 48 inch sizes for the square style. The diamond shapes measure 34, 48 and 60 inches when hanging.

Vortex Diamond Grid

These are the 34″ diamond vortexes

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LED Replacements for Halogen GU10 Bulbs that ROCK!

by on Feb.07, 2016, under Instructional, Recommendations

We just recently blew in a nice thick layer of insulation in our attic to decrease our energy usage and even out the temperature across the house.  Prior to this we have been replacing all our lighting with LED for these reasons.

  1. They use less energy
  2. They last a lot longer
  3. They create almost no heat (which is very beneficial in the Texas Summer)
GU10 bulb

GU10 bulb

We have about a dozen or so of the miniature halogen GU10 fixtures throughout the house.  These are very similar to the ubiquitous MR-16 bulbs that have been popular for decades, but fitted with a bayonet mount.  Some are on dimmers and some are not.  We like the color and style of these lights, but they use a lot of juice and create a lot of heat.  But we really like the look.

All this changed after we blew in 14″ of insulation, though.  The problem with the halogen bulbs is they generate a lot of heat.  After you bury them with a thick layer of insulation, this heat really starts to build up – and they overheat and shut down to protect themselves.  This is at best a royal pain and at worst a potential fire hazard.

This is where the search for an acceptable LED replacement started.  I went through several products that were not acceptable.  They were either far too dim, or the wrong color (some were actually yellow) or just cheap and subject to failure.  One batch I received, though very reasonably priced, were a mix of white and yellow looking bulbs (mostly yellow) which is great if you want to look sallow and jaundiced, but not what we wanted in our kitchen.  If we do a zombie themed Halloween party, we may put those back in, just for the effect…

What it comes down to is that LEDs use a lot less wattage for the same number of lum

MR-16 bulb

MR-16 bulb

ens of light as halogen.  A 50 watt halogen bulb is pretty bright.  Some manufacturers state their 4 watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 50 watt halogen.  Not in my experience.  Some say their 5 watt bulb is the same.  Not what I found.  The 6.5 watt bulbs are touted as a replacement by some vendors.  Not in our application.  And then there is the color temperature.  Light temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin, with daylight falling somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 degrees Kelvin.  “Warm” lighting is somewhere in the 2,700 to 3,000 range, but this depends a lot on the design of the LED filtering employed in each manufacturer’s bulb.  This is still an emerging industry and it seems to me there is a significant lack of consistency at this time.

The bulbs we finally settled on are the ones below.  They are robustly constructed with excellent heat sinks and cooling, rated at 8 watts and 5,000 Kelvin for a daylight color and I really like them.  They are a very white daylight-looking light, as bright as a 50 watt halogen or better and dimmable.

The heat sink assembly and bezel are a medium gunmetal gray and the bezel is ventilated to allow for airflow and cooling.  It is a very nice look.  These are also a 60 degree wide beam, which is a floodlight rather than a spotlight.  This is perfect for our needs.  If you need something more narrow like a spot, these are the wrong ones.

We finally found the ones we like and I recommend them highly.  They are more expensive than halogen, but they use less energy and last a LOT longer.  Amortizing in the initial cost with the effective lifespan of roughly 20 years, you are spending roughly 65 cents per year while you save a bundle on energy.

  • First of all, energy is billed in Kilowatt Hours (KWH).  This is 1,000 watts in use for 1 hour.
  • (10) 100 watt bulbs or (20) 50 watt bulbs on for one hour would be 1 KWH
  • Lets say you are paying 9 cents per KWH and have 10 of these in your home.
  • That’s 500 watts you are using or 1/2 KWH.
  • Let’s say you have them on for 5 hours a day.
  • That amounts to 2,500 watts or 2.5KW.
  • Multiply that by .09 and you get .225 or roughly 22 cents per day.
  • Multiply that by 365 days and you have $82.13 in energy annually for just these 10 bulbs for 5 hours a day

Let’s do the same math for LEDs.

  • At 8 watts time 10 bulbs that’s only 80 watts.
  • Multiply that by 5 hours and you get 400 watts, not even half a kilowatt.
  • Multiply that by 365 and you get 146  kilowatts
  • Multiply that by .09 and you have $13.14 per year.

It’s a pretty significant savings, especially when you factor it in over the 20 year lifespan.

Let’s just say you’re saving $60 per year
Over 20 years, that’s a $1,200 savings.

I don’t know if this is worth it to you, but it sure is to us.

Single bulbs are $12.99 each (sounds expensive, but they last about 20 years)

 

 

Six packs are $59.99

You can also get these same bulbs in 2700 Kelvin (warm white)

Six Pack:

 

Single bulbs:

 

But what about your conventional ceiling cans?

For retrofitting conventional downlight floods (or uplights) these are excellent.  We use them for our exterior architectural lighting.

You can order these in both 5000 K (daylight) and 2700 K (soft white) depending on your requirements.  These are dimmable just like a conventional incandescent bulb.  We use the 5000 K bulbs for our architectural lighting because we WANT it to look like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Bright white light is exactly what we want for our purposes.  In addition to architectural lighting this also makes for a nice deterrent for the criminal element, as it’s like freakin’ daylight out there 24 hours a day – and the cost is ridiculously low with LED bulbs.  We have our entire exterior lighting system controlled by a photocell and it works flawlessly.

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Architectural Prints of Your Property

by on Aug.25, 2015, under gallery updates, Instructional, Projects, Recommendations

A growing trend in commercial interior decorating is to have very large prints of your own building / property in a highly stylized format.

I recently assembled this gallery from one of my commercial shoots as an example of what I can do for you.  This little gallery contains variations on two images of the same lobby.  This will give you  some ideas while illustrating the kind of work I do.  Please contact me with any questions.

 

Lobby and Stairs Normal

Lobby and Stairs Normal

Lobby and Stairs Normal Burn

Lobby and Stairs Normal Burn

Lobby and Stairs Dodge

Lobby and Stairs Dodge

Lobby and Stairs Sol Hard

Lobby and Stairs Sol Hard

Lobby and Stairs Sol 1

Lobby and Stairs Sol 1

Lobby and Stairs Sol 3

Lobby and Stairs Sol 3

Lobby and Stairs BW 2

Lobby and Stairs BW 2

Lobby and Stairs BW 1

Lobby and Stairs BW 1

Stairs-Lobby Normal Enhanced

Stairs-Lobby Normal Enhanced

Stairs-Lobby Sol Hard

Stairs-Lobby Sol Hard

Stairs-Lobby Sol 6

Stairs-Lobby Sol 6

Stairs-Lobby BW 2

Stairs-Lobby BW 2

Stairs-Lobby BW 1

Stairs-Lobby BW 1

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Bitcasa Review

by on Aug.19, 2013, under Instructional, News, Recommendations

I am running a 12 core Mac Pro with 16 gigs of ram, 13TB of internal storage, 4 monitors and the newest updates to OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4.

Recently I have been searching for cloud-based backup for my massive image library.  Bitcasa has been making news with their incredible offer of infinite storage for only $100 per year.  I had read the reviews and a lot of forum posts regarding problems with the app, but results seemed to have been improving over the last year, so I decided to give it a try.

In late July of 2013 I downloaded and installed the Bitcasa app (version 1207).  The installation went smoothly and it immediately identified the primary data folders on my boot drive and began backing them up.  This is a small portion of the data I need mirrored, as I have several Terabytes of data stored on my system.  I added a few more folders that I wanted mirrored and let it run.  I immediately noticed a massive degradation in performance.  I let the computer run around the clock for 3 days to get the queued material synced.

On August first, when I was finished with the computer for the night, I closed all running apps as I normally do before shut-down and tried to close Bitcasa.  It would not shut down on it’s own and I had to initiate a Force Quit command to unload it from memory.

The next day when I booted the computer, Bitcasa was crashing on load and generating error messages to accompany this activity.  This happened repeatedly.

Bitcasa Crash Dialog

Bitcasa Crash Dialog

I noticed the temperature monitor on my display showed my computer running at 61 degrees C.  Normally it ranges between 39 and 41.  I immediately loaded Activity Monitor and found Bitcasa’s CPU usage was at 1,420 %over One Thousand Percent ?!?!?!?!?!  I immediately executed a Force Quit of Bitcasa, as it would not close on it’s own.

I then contacted Bitcasa support via online chat and began the laborious process of clearing the Bitcasa cache (this can take hours) and downloading the newest build with instructions for removing the current version and replacing it.  Chris was very helpful and my assessment of their support based on this single sampling is excellent.

Since replacing Bitcasa 1207 with build 1.3 1217, it no longer crashes on load.  However, it still does not handle threads or process priorities correctly.  Both Aperture and Photoshop, which I use constantly, become unresponsive on launch or import / File Open when Bitcasa is loaded.

I routinely have to pause the sync process, then Force Quit Bitcasa in order to free up other running applications.  It will NOT close on command either from it’s own menu or via Activity Monitor.

When it is actually syncing, it uses all the bandwidth of my fairly fast UVerse pipe and I have to pause Bitcasa Sync in order to stream video or watch something on YouTube on any computer or TV on the network.

To qualify what I am about to say:

I have spent most of my life in technology.  I was a Recording Engineer for Motown Records and worked in almost every studio on the West Coast.  I designed and built numerous Recording Studios in Northern California, including MC Hammer’s in the early 90s – and Metallica’s favorite rehearsal studio in the early 80s.

I owned and operated several technology companies over nearly 40 years, including AudioCraft Engineering in Marin County, which serviced the Pro Audio gear for studios and musicians up and down the West Coast.  I was on the team that built the very first computerized house in Tiburon, California in 1983.  My tasks were to build the circuits we needed and interface the entire system.

In 2010 I sold a very profitable computer consulting company I started in 1994 upon leaving the employ of Symantec (where I was Beta Administrator for Time Line 6).  This little consulting company made me a lot of money solving other people’s PC, network and software issues until I decided I needed a change of pace. For many years I was a computer Forensic Analyst and Licensed Private Investigator.  I’ve recovered a lot of data in my career and continue to do so today.

In the early days of computers I learned to code first in Basic, then in Turbo Pascal and finally in C before I lost interest in writing and debugging code.  I’ve been coding my own websites since 1995, first in text on a Unix platform and now with Dreamweaver.

 

What I really think about Bitcasa:

In all my years in technology I cannot remember a less well-crafted application  being unleashed on an unsuspecting buying public.  It’s been causing nothing but trouble for their users since the day it was introduced and I knew this going into it, but figured I’d give it a try.

My assessment of Bitcasa so far is that it is one of the worst pieces of code I have seen in my entire career.  Whoever is compiling this app should be fired and they should hire someone from Silicon Valley that has half a clue.

Bitcasa is not even Release Candidate quality.  It is Beta – plain and simple.  Charging money for this app is somewhere between unconscionable and criminal fraud.

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Before and After Example: Point Bolivar Lighthouse

by on Aug.07, 2013, under Instructional, News, Projects

As anyone familiar with my work has observed, all of my images are enhanced – sometimes to the extreme – to achieve the effect I envisioned when I took the original photo.  Many factors influence my decisions.  Sometimes I want to “push” a certain element in the composition, other times I prefer to downplay a certain element or eliminate it / them entirely.  The majority of my work is cropped to focus on certain components and add drama to the final image.  As a result, my work tends to be very wide or tall compared to the alternate dimension.

Today’s example is the Point Bolivar Lighthouse, an historic site on the Bolivar peninsula across from Galveston Island.

 

Point Bolivar Lighthouse Original

Point Bolivar Lighthouse Original

The original image was taken on a blustery day with dramatic storm clouds.  I wanted the “atmosphere” to be prominent, so I processed the image accordingly, making it darker and more ominous than the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Point Bolivar Lighthouse Enhanced

Point Bolivar Lighthouse Enhanced

After processing to produce a more intense and ominous effect.

 

 

 

 

 

Point Bolivar Lighthouse Final

Point Bolivar Lighthouse Final

Due to the (frequently annoying) nature of wide-angle lenses, vertical elements undergo some lens distortion, making them tilt toward the center of the image. This can be corrected with certain architectural lenses, which I did not have with me on this trip. As a result, some manual straightening was required.

I meticulously masked out the original lighthouse, pasted it onto a new layer and then rotated it into position. When that looked right, I erased the portions of the tilted lighthouse by hand and then replaced the sky around the straightened element.

Next, the reflection of the lighthouse needed similar straightening, so I carefully selected only the reflection, copied it and pasted it onto a new layer, then rotated it into position.

 

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Living (Dealing) With Scoliosis

by on Jun.25, 2012, under Instructional, Medical, News, Recommendations, social commentary

To set appropriate expectations…  This is L.O.N.G.  So acquire your favorite beverage / snack / lounging attire, get comfortable and cover the kiddies’ eyes and ears, as it is also NOT G-Rated.

OK?

OK.

The reason this blog exists is to help others suffering with similar debilitating and painful spinal conditions.  Aside from Scoliosis, there are numerous other congenital or injury-related problems that can be so painful that the very idea of living one more day under these conditions is unthinkable.  I know.  I was there more than once.  If I can help one person make sense out of what’s happening to them, provide some support, useful suggestions, or just make them laugh – and realize they’re not alone in this – I’ve achieved my goal.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you think might benefit from it.

Index:

First Sign of Trouble
Osteoarthritis
Bad Habits
Physical Conditioning
First Sign of Real Trouble
Pain Management
Oxycontin
Constipation
Psychological Impact of Chronic Pain / Painkillers
A Partial List of painkillers
User, Abuser or Addict
Magic – Some Things That Actually Work
The Waiting Game
Running Out of Time
A Little Prep Work
What Else Can They Do to You?
Pain, Painkillers, Erectile Dysfunction and You

 

Warren's Twisted Spine

Aren’t you glad this isn’t you?

When I tell people I’m going in for surgery to correct a major scoliosis deformity the response is invariably “But you look so good!”

Well… Thanks for the compliment… (I guess) But that right there is part of the problem. For me. Diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 12 or 13 by a Chiropractor in Crescent City, California, I really had no appreciation for the long-term issues that go along with this deformity. And as a result, I lived my life like there was no tomorrow and did pretty much anything and everything I wanted without regard to the effect on my twisted spine.  There is a definite up-side to this, such as: the one thing my tombstone will Not have on it is… A Bucket List.

First Sign of Trouble

As a roadie for The Grateful Dead at the age of 18, a shot of pain like I had never imagined,  sliced through the middle of my back.  Searing, blinding white-hot pain that showed no sign of abating any time soon.

WTF?

The first of many nexus points, that’s WTF…

Damn!  This was a whole new experience for me. You know how teenagers think they’re bullet-proof?  Well, I found out I wasn’t in a very educational collision with the side of an Econoline van at the age of 16. Perhaps this sounds familiar:

  • 16-year-old on a motorcycle.
  • No helmet.
  • No boots.
  • No gloves.
  • No sense.

Street-racing on a Honda 150 (really?  Yep).  Coming to an abrupt halt at 50mph is nothing if not educational. And painful. And 6 months on crutches is pretty informative as well…

But I digress…

A little glitch…  If you don’t see a numeric listing of the rest of the pages in this blog, a “More” button shows up at the end, after the Tags and the Comments.  Press this so you can see all the pages in this post.  Still working on figuring this weirdness out.

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The Big Day

by on Jun.25, 2012, under Instructional, News, Recommendations, social commentary

Segment 2 of this 3-stage blog picks up where Living (Dealing) With Scoliosis leaves off (read it for the history of my scoliosis) and is written to assist those living with scoliosis and similar spinal disorders only correctable via surgery.  It’s LONG.  Very L.O.N.G. and you should take this into account.  It covers my spine from the time I elected for surgery and the ensuing recovery that will take the next year or so.  I’m trying to be as complete as possible, while employing as much of my characteristic levity as seems prudent along the way.  I will use personal examples, solutions I’ve sound successful – and not so much – and recommendations I believe are worth trying.

Just to set reasonable expectations, I’ve had quite a few surgeries (7 to be precise) and possibly associated with this (or maybe from having been a Black Belt instructor for 10 years) I have a fairly high tolerance for pain.  Therefore you will see the following statement from time-to-time throughout the balance of this post “Your Mileage May Vary

I am NOT a medical professional.  Do NOT try anything based on what I’ve posted in here without assuming all risk yourself – and consulting your physician.

Got it?  Let’s get started…

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Scoliosis Surgery Recovery at Home

by on Jun.25, 2012, under Instructional, News, Projects, Recommendations, social commentary

Segment 3 of this blog picks up where The Big Day left off
And to reinforce what I’ve said before, I am NOT a medical professional of any kind.  Consult a doctor or at least a physical therapist before undertaking any suggestions found on this blog.  You take full responsibility for using any of this information.

We were originally led to expect a total of 14 to 18 days away from home, split up pretty evenly between Baylor Plano and the Baylor Rehab facility in Frisco.  So like the smart little squirrels we are, we plugged that information into our calendar, I produced little plastic bags of daily supplements to last that long and off we scurried to Baylor.

As early as ICU, we started hearing that Rehab was unlikely due to my rapid  recovery – which sounded pretty good.  On Friday, they were saying we’d be going home either Sunday or Monday and that would be our call.

So when Sunday came around and I was feeling pretty good, that seemed like a good time to say “Adios” to all our friends, nurses and doctors on the PCU and head for the Old Homestead.  And we did.  (insert “I’m an old cowhand… from the Rio Grande…” chorus here) We arrived home around 1400 hours  And then it was time to work on Logistics and get our Love Nest converted  (temporarily) into an Invalid Nest.

Fortunately we have near-Zero clutter, a single-story home (built that way on purpose) and   the right flow of energy to make it a really good place to recuperate.  Lots of open spaces define our living areas, and my wife has transformed both front and back yards into an Oasis.  I cannot think of a better place to Rehab.  And No.  We do not rent out rooms, ain’t gonna happen.  Don’t even think about it.

Index

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What Else Can They Do To You?

by on Jun.25, 2012, under Instructional, Medical, Recommendations, social commentary

Here’s a little piece of advice from someone who’s been there.

At one point in my life, back in the 80s, things were going wrong so fast and is such abundance, I made the egregious error of asking out loud “What else could possibly go wrong?”

Don’t ever do that.

My answer came so fast it made me dizzy – and my family and I wound up living in a house that had been uninhabited for several years, 45 minutes from civilization, with the only source of heat being a Franklin wood-burning stove – upstairs.  Ever try to push heat DOWNstairs?  And a good part of every week was spent foraging for wood to keep my family warm.

So just don’t ask, OK?

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Pain, Painkillers, Erectile Dysfunction and You

by on Jun.25, 2012, under Instructional, Medical, Recommendations, social commentary

In the Big Blog that started all this blather, there’s a section on pain medications and their side-effects.  This page is the logical progression from that section.  Once again I am not a medical professional.  What I write is from personal experience, conversations with my peers and over 60 years on this planet observing the Human Condition.

When it comes to Erectile Dysfunction, popularly called ED so you won’t feel so bad when you have it  [Right…] most men never thought this would happen to them.  The ability to  achieve and keep a big fat erection is considered part of being a MAN.  If you can’t, somehow you’re not as much a Man as you should be.  Call it what you want, that’s the way we’re wired.  No man want’s to hear from his mate: “That’s OK baby, it happens to everybody sometimes.”

Seriously.

While some women seem to think men are just sex machines that will start snorting and pawing the earth like a bull in heat at the slightest come-on from a semi-attractive woman – and bang ’em like a cheap drum all night long at the drop of a hat – they are a little off the mark.
Most men would also like to think this is true.
And in our younger days, for some of us it was true.
However…  Even under the best of conditions, sex for men is as much psychological as it is physical – perhaps even more-so.

It’s not as much fun for either partner if it’s over almost as soon as it started.  And most men will freely (though not happily) admit they are not up to the “ideal” 10-15 minutes of rutting like pigs in heat before both partners lie panting, glowing and sticking to the sheets.  If most men can make it to 3 minutes it’s a real accomplishment, requiring mentally ticking off baseball scores from the 50s in reverse order, designing a spreadsheet or building a honey-do list in their heads – all while trying to appear lusty, virile and focussed – and saying just the right thing at the right time.

This is a lot of pressure.  Both mental and physical.  And when your plumbing starts to not do it’s job like it used to, you can’t have any part of the equation stop operating at peak efficiency or there’s going to be a failure somewhere.

And then somebody’s left unfulfilled.

Sexpectations

Sexpectations – Copyright 2012 VividPixelz.net

Now let’s just complicate all this with P.A.I.N. shall we?

When you’re in chronic pain, especially low back or leg pain, think about the impact on good old-fashioned sex.  Even more-so with some kinky sex that requires better balance…  Now how easy is it to achieve and keep that Manly erection do you suppose?  I’ll tell you one thing.  I sure didn’t get any better.  Now you’re in Pain while trying to maintain an erection and do all those other things that make for a happy, satisfied mate – and self.  And the pressure mounts.

For many of us, the only solution to our Pain problem is Painkillers.  And like with any other medication, most high-powered prescription painkillers come bundled with side-effects.  And several of these side-effects have both direct and subtle effects on the ability to have and enjoy sex.  The big list of side-effects is right here in the Big Blog, but let’s enumerate some specific physiological side-effects of painkillers here:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Swollen prostate
  • Incomplete urination

Let’s start at the top:  Sexual Dysfunction:  The more painkillers you have coursing through your bloodstream, the more it depresses not only your libido, but your respiration, blood flow and a lot of other fairly critical components.  If you’re heavily medicated enough, even if you wanted to actually have sex, getting it to happen is not only complicated, but at some point, just not worth the planning, timing and effort.  Especially if there’s a better-than-average chance at it not being”successful”.

There are plenty of medications for ED on the market.  None of them are covered by your medical insurance and they’re all pretty expensive.  Do they work?  Depends on the exact nature of your problem.  Viagra, Cialis and their kin, work by increasing the blood flow to your genital area.  In addition, it increases the blood flow in most other places as well, making you look / feel flushed and sometimes resulting in headaches.  All of these have the potential to solve the “plumbing” issue by just dramatically increasing the blood flow – and voila!  An Erection.  A BIG Manly erection!
Swell <rimshot>
Now what do we do with this thing?  Well hopefully you know the answer to that question or you shouldn’t have taken the little blue (or orange) pill in the first place.  The result lasts for a few hours and then things return to normal.

However…  If your receptors are soaked in narcotics to the point that you’re falling asleep at dinner, you may still have problems even ED medications can’t solve.  Like now you have this big fat erection and it just won’t last.  Or it does last but again – there’s no Big Finish.  Dammit!  All that planning, work (healthy complexion) and no Big Finish.  Now if you just want some cardio exercise and a mighty sweaty and (hopefully) satisfied mate, go for it!  But you could just buy her some chocolate and get on the exercise bike too…

Constipation:   Just consider that when it feels like you have a cinderblock in your belly, you’re not likely to feel all that sexy.  If you’re physically uncomfortable, sex isn’t going to be very high on your priority list.  It can be downright painful and a complicated juggling act to remain regular while adjusting your pain meds as your symptoms change.  This is something you really want to get under control for every possible good reason and keep it that way.  Start with lots of water and start adding stool softeners, fiber capsules, Magnesium, etc., until you have a balance.  It’s well worth it.

Swollen Prostate:  The Prostate is a very important little organ.  Several medications can cause it to become swollen (just like prostate cancer can).  When this happens, urination and sexual function are both adversely affected.  There are 3 components that make up semen and the prostate contributes one of them.  The prostate is also partially responsible for the pressure with which that sticky white stuff comes squirting out.  More pressure = more fun for everyone, especially if you’re in a contest for distance…  In addition, the urethra passes right through the prostate.  So when it’s swollen, none of these functions work at full potential.  Some, if not all, can barely function at all.

Incomplete and frequent urination, dribbling and general unsatisfactory emptying of the bladder all go along with an enlarged prostate.
(It used to sound like someone was running a garden hose into the toilet when you were in there and now it’s a lot of dribbling and splattering and you need a paperback to amuse yourself while waiting to finish…)

But wait – there’s more!
Difficulty in achieving / maintaining an erection
Pain in the back, thighs, hips…

So if / when you have an enlarged / swollen prostate, you’re going to want to fix this pronto, aren’t you?  Well…  Not so fast there, buddy.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the original problem.  There are some products on the market, including Flomax to reduce an enlarged prostate and solve these problems.  And some of them work for some people.  And then there are the side effects
Like you’re able to get and keep an erection (at least better than before) but now you put in “a full day’s work” and no Big Finish if you get my drift.  Now wait just a darned minit here!  All this work for no Big Finish?  WTF?  So now at least One of you is (potentially) happy and the other one is just exhausted.
Not exactly the desired effect, but not an uncommon outcome <rimshot> in many cases.
It’s just frequently the other way around…

Something to consider.  And this doesn’t happen to everyone so once again, Your Mileage May Vary.

Telling both men and women that this is “normal” under these conditions does not always do a lot to fix the self-esteem issues that go along with what is popularly called “ED” for Erectile Dysfunction.  Something that, in this case, is frequently caused by the very painkillers needed just to get through the day – and complicated further by the medications meant to fix the side-effects of these painkillers.

So what’s the answer?

First and foremost, as a couple you both need to understand both sides of the equation.  You need to sit down and discuss your needs, expectations and concerns.  Men can have a particularly difficult time of this.  When you’re so busy worrying about the outcome of trying to successfully have sex, that you cannot get it up, keep it up, and / or finish up, you need to convey this to your mate.

Secondly you need to talk with your doctor and rule out any other physical problems that could be causing your particular case of ED.  Prostate cancer is something most men will face if they live long enough, I’m told.  Certainly a consideration, it’s not part of this article, so get yourself checked out by your doctor to find out what’s going on before you start trying ED medications.

Third and most importantly, you need to work on this together.  And can you think of a any project that is more fun to pursue?  If I had to pick any one thing I was going to practice until I mastered it, it wouldn’t be my guitar.  Knowwhattamean?

Just because you now have a problem doesn’t mean all the fun is gone from your relationship – and it certainly doesn’t mean this is permanent.  Maybe you need to get creative.  Perhaps it’s time to sit down and figure out some options, boundaries and things to experiment with.  Sometimes a change of pace makes a big difference.   There are some things that get better with practice and sex is definitely one of them.  It’s easy to fall into  a rut in your sex life and it’s always the same old thing.  Not bad, but not fireworks either.  So what happened?  Talk it out and make it a couples project.  Sounds like fun to me.

 

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