Monday, December 15, 2008

Amusing Thought of the Day

I got this from my Dad, but I am not sure of the original source.

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.
If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given her.
So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of sh..t.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Dang, That Was Close

Check out what happened 2 miles from my office. An FA-18 Hornet crashed into a house. This is the down side to working really close to a military base. Fortunately, there don't appear to be any casualties.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Ode to the Boy in Maya's Class

One of Maya's fellow students was a McCain supporter. He's disappointed in the way the election turned out. His solution? Write limericks rhyming Obama with Osama, of course. So, I helped Maya with a rebuttal:

There once was a boy in my class
Whose rhymes were really quite crass
He thought he was clever
But all he was ever
Was a really big pain in the butt

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I Know, I'm Supposed To Tell Vacation Stories

But I am still catching up on everything I didn't do while I wasn't here. And this hilarious video crossed my monitor this morning. I had to share. I realize this does not portray my Yes on 8 friends accurately, but it does contain some good points. Plus it has some of my favorite celebs and, as I mentioned, is funny!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Back From Vacation, But Still Digging Out


View Larger Map

In the meantime, check out the route we took from Friday to Friday. I'm going to try to start writing up our adventures. There were many and they were exciting. The map above shows our stops along the way. The link from B to C was by train, not car. Otherwise, we drove all of that. Oh, and the start and Finish are at H. As an added bonus, I now know where Cornville, AZ is. Fun!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

More California Earth Shaky Goodness

I'm officially a Californian. I was awakened by an earthquake at 4:30 this morning. I rolled over, noted the time, thought "Hm. I wonder how big that one was." and went back to sleep. Of course, once I was awake, I needed to get the details. So, I looked it up here. It was a 4.1 and was about 30 miles from us. Nothing was damaged and the kids didn't even wake up.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Quantum of 'Splosions

The question is, which definition of Quantum am I using? Do I just mean "a particular amount" or "a large quantity"? You'll have to see the movie to find out. Mostly, I was looking for a play on words and that was the best I could come up with. I guess I'm not feeling too clever this morning. But I am feeling like writing a movie review, so read on if you want to know what I thought of the movie...

Overall, I found the movie to be an excellent addition to the Bond Franchise. It continues the shift away from the campier Bond that was begun in "Casino Royale", but it still had a decent amount of depth to it. It's not as good as "Casino", but Daniel Craig continues to move Bond along the road to the detached playboy that other actors have made him out to be. He's also a more mortal Bond. He gets cuts and bruises and doesn't bounce into the next scene fresh as a daisy. He's also a good deal more brutal than previous portrayals. He's not glib immediately after a life and death struggle. He is brooding and intense for a bit before he relaxes. In short, Craig reminds us that double-0s are not spies but spies with a mandate to murder. Additionally, Judi Dench is superb as M.

The plot was not overly complex, but flowed well and was tight and smooth. I didn't feel it dragging at any time. And none of my vociferous coworkers were bored enough to shout at the screen. There weren't many twists, but the ones that were present were satisfying.

My list of negatives is going to seem long, but that is only because I didn't want to give any of the good bits away. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but had a few issues with the direction.

The biggest complaint is the jump-cuts in some of the action sequences. It was as though they were trying to cover up bad fight choreography by making it hard to focus on the action. I'm sure it was a stylistic choice, but I didn't care for it.

I also don't think they used a couple of the supporting characters enough. They were there for a brief moment and then suddenly gone for a long stretch. They could have been woven in better.

My last complaint is going to sound silly, but hear me out. I thought one of the action sequences stretched the bounds of the reality they had created for themselves. That's right. I'm dinging a James Bond movie for lack of realism. The problem is that they moved back toward realism with much of the action. Sure, the stuff is fantastical and in some cases probably impossible, bet it was believable in the world they created. If you see it, and I encourage you to, let me know if you can guess which stunt was too much for me.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blog Bling Goodness!



I got an award! I am officially a "Superior Scribbler". I'd like to say I earned it due to my journalistic integrity and excellence. But that's not really what this blog is about. In this particular case, I got it because I entertain and amuse my friends. And really, that is better than journalistic excellence in my book.

So, what is it? Read on...

The "Superior Scribbler Award" was created by a high school journalism teacher for exponential love sharing and recognition for our fellow bloggers. It came to me from one of my oldest, dearest, and coolest friends: Stickthulhu over at Cthulhu's Family Restaurant. He received it for his observations, both humorous and serious on the state of our society.

The awards creator also laid down some rules for recipients:

- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

- Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

- Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

- Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

As you can see, I've met all the conditions except the passing them on part. I even used Mr. Linky to add myself. I'm recipient #274, by the way. So, upon whom shall I bestow this honor? This is not easy, because many of the blogs I read have already received the award. I feel like the last guy to get in on Amway.

That said, the people I am awarding should not feel like they are just leftovers. I would actually break the rules and only give two or three before I gave the award to someone who was not worthy.

1) My BIL Daniel has an interesting blog about city planning called Beyond D.C.. It's primarily about the greater Washington D.C. area, but not entirely.

2) A good friend aliased Kitten Herder posts over at Hearding Kittens. We helped each other survive a challenging workplace together a few years back. Give her a read for insightful perspectives on politics, religion, and society, with the occasional family rant thrown in.

3) Barbie2be is a net friend I have never met in real life. We 'met' during my crazy stunts for breast cancer fund raising a couple years back. She lent me the now famous Pink Tutu. Her blog is an interesting blend of politics, causes, food, and personal struggles. I don't comment often, but I always read.

4) Another worthy blog is Staring at Empty Pages. Barry Leiba is well-read, insightful, and diverse. He talks about Mathematics, Logic, and Politics, but he does it in such a clear and articulate way. I don't always agree with him, but I often do. And even when I have disagreed, I've never felt he was misleading or dishonest.

5) My last nod goes to Obsidian Wings. I first found this blog through writer "publius" who had his own law and politics blog. He has since joined forces with a few other bloggers. Obsidian Wings is a great place to go for moderate oriented essays on law, politics, and society.

So, there you go! Congrats to all you scribblers out there. Spread the love!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WTF and WTF II

The kids pointed me to these weird cartoons. Clearly, Charlie needs some better ways to cope with his unicorn tormentors. It's hard to pick the weirdest thing, but I'm going to go with "Magical Leopleurodon".

Charlie I


Charlie II

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

My friend James pointed me to President-elect Obama's transition web site. On there, you have an opportunity to share your story, your ideas, and your vision for America. This is what I submitted:

This campaign, for me, has been about Hope. Not little 'h' hope, but big 'H' Hope. The kind of Hope that we rarely see. The kind that motivates people to believe. President Obama made me believe that anything was possible. Now I look forward to helping make that change real.

I honestly think that the biggest issue facing our country, the one that could stop us from overcoming any of the others, is the hate and fear that we have been experiencing over the last eight years. President Bush claimed he was going to be a uniter, not a divider. But there was no true reaching across the aisle. He reached across to invite his opponents to come to his side, not to meet him in the middle.

We have become so polarized as a nation that the speaker of an idea has become more important than the idea itself. We need to heal those divisions and build trust if we are to end the war, protect the country, or restore the economy.

I don't have all the answers for how to do that. I'm just going to try to listen to people I know who have a different view and understand what their concerns and beliefs are. When I respond, it will be to address their concerns, not to express my fears. What is it that Covey says? "Seek first to understand, then be understood."

I look forward to the next four years and hopefully four more after that.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Les Misbarack!

This one goes out to my theater homies.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Morning Silliness

I'm not sure where this came from, but it brightened my Monday.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sometimes They Do, Josh

Sometimes, I wonder where they get this stuff. We had a very weird conversational exchange at my house the other night. Here is the scene: Maya was trying on jeans and commenting on the size of her butt. She-who-is-no-help-at-all decided to have some fun with our Middle Schooler.
Mom: You do have a big butt, honey. I can't lie.
Me: No she doesn't. You're fine, Maya.
Mom: She does, but not in a bad way.
Me: *sigh*
Mom: It's a cute butt. Someimes, boys like a girl with a cute butt.

She was clearly trying to embarrass Maya. But Maya was playing along and having fun. Then, out of left field:

Josh: Sometimes they like hot, sexy girls.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Kid Stories

Maya and Josh do many things that amuse me. I just thought I'd share a couple from this week.

Tuesday was "clan dance" day for the 6th graders at Maya's school. They were studying ancient tribal societies and learned about tribal dances. They were required to come in some sort of tribal costume for their class presentations. Students who did not have a costume had to 'buy' one for $200 in class cash. They also would only be able to get 90% credit. As she packed for school, I noticed her putting some extra stuff in her bag. "What's all that for?" I asked her. "I'm bringing an extra costume. If someone forgets theirs, I'll rent them my extra for $150 class cash. And they won't get docked on their grade." Is this how Donald Trump got started?

On Wednesday, She-who-is-pretty-overwhelmed needed to keep Josh occupied while Maya did her homework and she did her work work. So, she told him to give Maya a practice spelling test to prep her for Friday. He was doing a pretty good job of it, with a few exceptions. After all, he is in second grade and she is in sixth. She may have the occasional word he does not know. "Maya, what does R-E-S-C-U-E spell?" he asked. "It spells 'rescue' Josh." "Ok. Your next word is rescue. Spell rescue."

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hey, Look, A Blog!

I think I have one of those. I should post to it. Here's an Australian comedian I've recently discovered and am enjoying making fun of an insipid song that I think should be featured on my friend James' "This Song Must Die" meme.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vacation: Day 1

Day 1 shouldn't even really count. It was only a vacation in the sense of the root word vacate, as in "we vacated California". Our flight was at 1, but we were up at 7 to finish packing and prepping the house for our departure. We were to the airport by 11 and the plane left on time. We connected in Salt Lake City and went on to Boston. The flight was more than a bit bumpy and the movie was "Drillbit Taylor", but there was no real suffering beyond that. I think we only encountered one inconsiderate person all day! We landed at Logan at 11:30 but didn't leave the airport until 12:30. Checkin at the hotel was slow because "the computer slows down when it isn't being used". We finally crashed at 2. So, why the crap have I been awake for 3 hours already?!?

FYI - The inconsiderate person was encountered when we were on the shuttle from the rental car place to the airport. We rent cars one way instead of driving and parking or taking one of the airport shuttles. Contrast: One way rental - $37 including gas. Shuttle for 4: $125+. At any rate, we were on the shuttle waiting to get dropped off at our gate, but the driver had to pick up arrivals, too. After a couple pick ups, we were pretty full and there was no room on the luggage rack. The driver was ready to leave when this woman ran up and tried to get on. He pointed to another shuttle from the same company two cars back and just waiting to pull into the spot he was vacating. He explained that we were pretty full. She insisted on getting on THIS shuttle and piled her luggage in front of the rack, making it difficult for others to get their stuff. I suppressed the urge to say something to her.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Wish I'd Said That

But I suppose it is funnier coming from a 7 year old. No, this one is not from Josh, though I may teach him to say it for entertainment purposes. This one comes from a theater friend. She has a 7 year old daughter that Josh sometimes plays with. We'll call her Sage. Sage was talking to their new pastor one Sunday after church while her mom was talking to another friend nearby. What could go wrong? I don't know what the pastor said to her, but the best guess is that he asked "Why do you do X?" Her response? "Oh, I just do it for the laughs, the money, and the beer." What more could a seven year old possibly need?

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Sleep Attire

Josh cracks me up. Maya does too, but in a more deliberate way. Josh is still a source of unintentional amusement. We had a pretty nasty heat wave here a week ago. To give you a sense of it, the temperature dropped to 100 degrees at 6:30 p.m. Josh had his shower and was getting ready for bed. We told him that it was summer, so he got to sleep in his underwear. His response? "Sweet! (pause) What's the bad news?"

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Evil

Three days in a row. Nothing really to say. But a friend sent me this link and it amused the heck out of me. So, I had to share. It's from a cell phone company. I'm not sure how their service is, but their ads have tempted me to at least look. After you watch the initial, check out all the links in the League of Evil. It's so "Justice League vs Legion of Doom" from the 80's! The company is called "Net 10", but their website is ne-evil.net

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Homeward Bound

I wish I was. And I am. Hey! I fished my wish. The long awaited return of Clan Briwei to Massachusetts is approaching. We are going to fly out of here on 7/11 and fly back on 7/20. Of course the first and last days are travel days. Everything else is open thus far. We will probably have a pool party on 7/13 for Maya's birthday. But even that is up in the air. So, who is up for a game day? Pool party? Barbeque? Trip to the USS Constitution. Speak up!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Overwhelmed

It's no surprise to any of you that this blog is badly neglected. It has been for a long time. It's been worse lately because of how overwhelmed I am feeling. Not sure if it is the length of my commute, which is about an hour each way, the cost of gas, the state of the world, or something I haven't identified yet. Part of the problem is that I am not a list maker. Another part of the problem is that the "must dos" in my head are so numerous, there seems to be no time for the "want to dos". So, every time I try to decide what to do next, I just see a wall. My mind can't settle on any one thing. The end result? A lot of time goes by and I can't explain what happened to it. And I just switched to a new project at work, which means big learning curve. Sounds so melodramatic, doesn't it? I think it is a side effect to my routine being so badly disrupted from my leg injury. I haven't really recovered from that in many ways.

Well, enough whining. Or whinging. Is there a difference between whining and whinging? No matter. I think I need to reconnect with my community. I'm going to try to do mini-updates here and comment more out there. I think contact helps.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

DnD 4th Edition

Not that we play any more, but I love their take on what the 4E rules will mean to all the panicked gamers out there.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones

Last night, I took the family to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was a social event for my company. We had two screens just for us and we were allowed to bring guests. There's something extra cool about a private screening. Not sure why, but there is. Here are my impressions of the movie. Worry not, I have not included any spoilers.

First, a six word review: Predictable and formulaic, but fun anyway.

Now the longer version: Dang. Harrison Ford got old. It took me a few minutes to get used to his voice. I had watched the original Raiders with the kids last weekend to prep them for last night. It's amazing how much his voice had changed. He looks older, too, and they haven't tried to hide that. This one takes place in 1957, so he is expected to be a bit older and slower.

There are no real surprises in the plot. It starts pretty much in the middle of things as Indy adventures usually do. We learn something about the crystal skull early on. From there it follows a pretty linear and unsurprising run through the elements of the last few movies. If you go in expecting shocking plot twists, you will be sorely disappointed. Nothing in the movie is outside the expectations of the reality, though. After all, in Temple of Doom, they jumped out of a plane in an inflatable raft. As I recall, they and the raft survived the fall and several terrain changes. Expect a similar level of the incredible here.

Acting wise, it is a little below average for the series. Shia Labouef is good, as is Karen Allen. I thought Harrison Ford looked a little tired and the Indy charm came off a little more smug than cocky. My main complaint was Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko. Her Russian accent drifted a bit and she had as much depth and character as Natasha Fatale.

Flow wise it started a little bit slowly. I'm honestly not sure what they were trying to accomplish with the opening sequence. It felt a bit long to me. Once Indy gets on the trail of the Crystal Skull, though, it moves quite nicely. There is a good blend of action and silliness and only a slight amount of creepy. There was only one occasion when I actually said "Ewwwww!"

Overall, I'd say it would be fun if you had passes. Otherwise, wait for the rental.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who Is This For?

Last weekend, to escape the heat, we went to the movies. We were finally able to use the Fandango bucks that Uncle David got us for Christmas. We were torn between Iron Man and Narnia. I wanted to see Iron Man and everyone else wanted to see Narnia. We saw Narnia. A good time was had by all. As it was the premiere night, they did a Narnia trivia contest for prizes. Maya won a Narnia t-shirt. We even enjoyed the trailers. Well. All except one. Watch this and tell me if your reaction is the same as mine.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't Waste It

Some very profound events have happened here recently and they got me to thinking. What if someone saved your life? Would you live it any differently than you had up to that point? You've been given a second chance by a benevolent person. Do you have any responsibility to make the most of that?

The profound event happened about three weeks ago. She-who-is-pretty-darn-impressive was in her classroom. It was the end of the period and her students began filing out. One of her students came up, complaining that she didn't feel well. "Do I feel warm to you?" She asked. She was wearing a turtleneck and a sweater. It was 75 degrees outside. She-who-is looked up at her student and suggested she take off the sweater. "I can't. I'm cold." That was enough to earn this seventh grader a pass to the nurse. As she-who-is began filling out the slip, she told the girl. "You need to go to the nurse." That's when the girl fell to the floor and things got crazy.

She popped open her cell and dialed 911. As she was doing this, she also sent the only other remaining student in the room to another classroom to get help. She-who-is began relaying the details as she started assessing her fallen student. The 911 operator dispatched an ambulance and asked she-who-is to stay on the line. "I can't! She's not breathing!!!"

She-who-was-freaked-out dropped the phone at the same time the other teacher arrived. She hadn't rushed to get there because the student had told her "Mrs. She-who-is needs you." No explanation was given. So, the other teacher had assumed that she-who-is needed some help with the grading system. Good thing it wasn't an emergency.

The two teachers performed a coordinated CPR on the girl. They probably breathed for her for a good 30 seconds. Amazingly, with a gasp, she started breathing again. She was a little shocky when the paramedics arrived, but she was alive.

She has undergone a number of tests and they have not found anything, though she has collapsed one other time since this incident. She is not allowed to come back to school until this is sorted out. But her mother is a single parent who works two jobs. That means that she is spending any time when she is not receiving medical care home alone. What if it happens while she is alone? She certainly can't call for help.

I'm not sure what can be done differently, but she-who-is and her colleague saved this girl's life. It seems like someone, somehow should be doing more to make the most of this opportunity.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Strange Church Near My House

I drive past many churches on my way to work. In fact, I drive by at least three in the first five or so miles. Each of them has one of those billboards where they can put up their own messages. (No, this is not going to be a post where I show faked billboards.) One of them goes for the cutesy, pithy sayings like "Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it!". The second just posts information like "Spanish Services: Sunday at 10 am". The third one is the one that is weird to me...

I'm not sure if my perception of weirdness is because of the other stuff I know about the place or if it is just the signs. But to me, their signs just don't make sense.

Here is the most recent:
Religion without truth isn't "authentic". It's just false.
Let me wrap my mind around that. Is there anything out there that, absent truth, is not false? I'm sure what they are saying is that their religion is the truth and other variants, no matter how close, are still not the way to salvation. But what a bizarre way to say it.

Here is another:
Christ died for our sins and rose for our justification.
Huh? The only reason Jesus came back from the dead was to justify your existence? That's some pretty good planning ahead by JC.

And of course:
Where the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God.
Just so we know where to go if we think the world is only 6000 years old.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Why I Love Nonsequitur


This is one of my daily reads. Check it out here!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

M-R-Ai-yi-yiiii

I got my MRI a couple Friday nights ago. You read that right. It was not a typo. The MRI was at night. It was at 9:30 to be exact. I outsmarted myself once again. I asked that the MRI be done in La Jolla, so it would be close to my office. The reason, I explained, was so I could use my appointment as my lunch break. I could just zip over and zip back to work. Glad they were listening...

The first problem was in scheduling the darn thing. I was hoping to get it done before going on my mini-vacation. I got the approval three or four days before we were supposed to leave. However, having the approval and getting an appointment are two different things. I was entered into the computer system. When I called, they verified that I was approved. But I couldn't schedule. Why not? My paper work had not been sent over yet. That's right. The authorization was there in the system from the managed care office and the insurance. But they didn't have the signed piece of paper in their hands that proved their system was not, in fact, wrong from two different sources. So, I had to wait for them to call me to tell me to call them and make an appointment. They weren't calling me to schedule. They were calling me to tell me to call them to schedule. Fine. Great. Love a bureaucracy.

The second problem was the aforementioned hour. My office is about 30 miles from my house. It's a 40 minute drive with no traffic and an hour plus with. There was no way I was going home after work and then coming back at 9:30. The solution? Go in late and work until the MRI. Fine. Great. I can find ways to waste a morning.

After that, there weren't really problems so much as annoyances. The hospital where the MRI center is located is built into a hill side. The main lobby is on the third floor, which is ground level from the front. The MRI is in the basement and on the far end from the parking lot they sent me to. I'm not exaggerating by saying that it was a ten minute walk and elevator ride from my car to the check-in desk. And bear in mind that my leg was still hurting at this point. And what was worse? The MRI center was a stand alone, one story unit. That's right! The basement is ground level in the back. And what can you have at ground level? Parking! Grrrrr.

The MRI itself was long and uncomfortable. Fortunately, I was able to go in feet first, so my head was not in the chamber of claustrophobia. But, it took an hour for them to get all the angles of my leg that they wanted. I had to lie as still as I could for an hour. In the same position. I think my leg was more sore after the MRI than when I went in. By the time I got home, it was almost midnight.

The next step was to see the ortho to interpret the MRI. But I couldn't do that until the MRI center called me and told me that it had been read and annotated by the radiologist. That was going to take another week. I decided to make the appointment anyway and just tell them when the MRI was supposed to be ready. I managed to get the appointment for the next Friday, but even that wasn't easy. Care to guess how many people I had to talk to in order to get the appointment? Six. It went something like this.

"Hello? Scripps Ortho, Carmel Mountain" Yes. I'm trying to get an appointment with Dr. Ortho in the La Jolla office. "Oh. Let me transfer you." Thanks! "Hello. Scripps La Jolla. How may I direct your call?" I'm trying to make an appointment with Dr. Ortho. "Thank you. I'll transfer you." Thanks. "Hello? Chemotherapy and Oncology department." What?!? "Chemotherapy and Oncology." I was trying to make an appointment with Dr. Ortho. "Oh. I'll transfer you." Great. "Hello. Scripps Orthopedics." Really? "Yes. How can I help you?" I need to schedule an ortho consult to read my MRI. "Ok. Is this for your torso, head, or arms?" Ummmmm...none of those. It's a calf injury. "Oh. You want lower extremities. Hang on, I'll transfer you." (I'm not kidding. There is a department called lower extremities.) "Hello. Lower extremities. How can I help you?" *exasperated sigh* I don't know. I just want to schedule an appointment to have my MRI read. It's a torn calf muscle. "Ok, great. I just need to ask a few questions." Well of course you do. "When did the injury occur?" February 19th. "And when was the MRI?" Last Friday. "And how did the inujury occur. " I tore the muscle while playing basketball. "Oh! You wants sports medicine. I'll transfer you." Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Fortunately, sports medicine was able to help me. And schedule me for Friday. Woot. I talked to Dr. Ortho and she was very nice. She was knowledgeable, patient, and informative. After hearing my story, the first thing she said was, "You don't need an MRI. You need physical therapy." Now you tell me. "Unless it is a complete tear, you don't need one." Well. I already got it because they said to do that before I saw you. "Well, we may as well take a look, then. But you should have just come to see me." Note to self: next time I get a sports injury, demand a referral to a sports medicine doctor immediately.

We reviewed the MRI and it was pretty cool, even if I had no clue what I was really seeing. But she walked me through it and showed me where there were still intra-muscular pockets of blood. She was not surprised that there was still swelling and told me I'd messed myself up good. She expected the blood to take at least three more months to be reabsorbed fully. In the meantime, I should get to PT and work it back to where it is supposed to be. To that end, she sent in her assistant to help with the details.

He asked me which insurance I had and, presumably, used this information to produce a list of PT centers. I didn't recognize any of the names or locations and he couldn't tell me, beyond the address, where any of them were. So, I chose one that had "sports therapy" in its name and that had a street address that sounded like it was near the bagel shop I sometimes visit. Then I was given the familiar refrain. "We need to submit this to our managed care office. They will get it approved by the insurance and forward the approval on to the PT office. The PT will call you to schedule an appointment."

One week. No call. I'm not waiting. I call them back. They tell me it has been approved and give me the name of the PT office. I call them. It's a different name than what I asked for. And it is a 20 minute drive from my office. In the opposite direction from my normal commute. WTF? Call the doctor's office to ask where the switch happened. "Oh. The one you chose wasn't covered by your insurance. So, we chose this one. We thought it might be near your office." Did you LOOK at a map? And why did you offer me the first one in the first place. *sigh* Can we change it to something closer? A friend told me there was a PT center located in the clinic building. What about that? "Oh. You mean Shiley? We can do that." It turns out Shiley is right NEXT TO the doctor's office. Literally. They couldn't propose that when I asked for something close by last time?!? Well. At least they can do that. "We just have to submit the paperwork to change the location."

That was almost 2 WEEKS ago. The paper was filed, but nobody reviewed it. I don't know why changing PT locations is so complicated. But it is. I am calling them back after lunch today to find out what is going on. Stay tuned for more developments.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mistake or Subliminal?

Take a look at the proposed new logo for the UK Office of Government Commerce.

Notice anything odd about it? I'll let people comment on it before I say why it made me laugh.

Hat tip to Rich for this link. I can't find a link to your blog, so I'll link to your company instead. :)

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Friday, April 18, 2008

De-Toothified

I survived my three-dentists-in-three-days event in Escondido. Doesn't that sound like a masochist's vacation package? Sadly, it was no vacation. The first dentist told me something was wrong. The second dentist gave me the specifics of what was wrong. The third dentist solved the problem. He had to pull the tooth, which proved more difficult than anticipated.

In spite of the struggle in getting the evil tooth out, the office was very warm and inviting. I was helped by at least five different people and each one told me who they were and what their role was. I was also told what to expect next and assured that the next person was excellent and would take good care of me. It kept me from stressing out too badly, except when the actual pulling was occurring.

The tooth pulling was not stressful because it was painful. It was stressful because the tooth wouldn't come out. The oral surgeon was a tall, fit, muscular man. And he was struggling to get it to come out. It ended up coming out in about five pieces. It was quite obstinate.

After the extraction, I had to bite down on a piece of gauze for an hour. Then I had to change the gauze every 45 minutes until the bleeding stopped. That took about 4 hours. I didn't really eat all that much that night, as I am sure you can imagine. What surprised me was that I wasn't allowed to rinse vigorously or use a straw. Either of these could dislodge the clot.

My recovery followed the after care instructions almost exactly. I lost a day and a half to the Vicodin and have been coping a little better each day. The pain is mild now, but still present. And the socket is still noticeable to me. My voice sounds weird to me, but nobody else seems to notice.

I now have to wait three months for this to heal. After that, they will put a screw into my jaw and put a cap on that. Then that will heal for three months. Then my regular dentist will put a screw on the cap and a fake tooth on the post. The good news is that my dental insurance looks like it is going to partially cover the implant. Woot!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When Is It Time To See The Dentist

That's right. My life has become a bad joke:

Q: When is it time to see the dentist?
A: At 2:30. (Tooth-hurty)

That's really what time my appointment is, too.

Warning: The rest of this post talks about pain and teeth.

I have a dentist appointment today. It's my third in three business days. The first one was with my regular dentist. He determined that there was likely and absess or infection and sent me to the endodontist to determine the specifics. The endodontist has determined that a root canal I had done 22 years ago was not done well. He made a crack in the tooth that ran deep into its root. Well, at some point recently, an infection managed to creep under the crown. It may have happened when I had the crown replaced 6 months ago. Who can say for certain. At any rate, the infection is causing swelling inside the dead tooth. The pain that woke me up last Thursday night is from the swelling trying to push through both the inner and outer walls of my jaw. Yuck.

The endo told me that the tooth really had to come out. I'm risking bone loss in healthy teeth and in my jaw if I leave it in. I could save the tooth if I wanted to have the crown removed, the posts taken out, the infection treated, the root canal redone, and the crown replaced. My mouth aches just thinking about it. Well, that, and from the infection.

So, today, I am going to my third different dentist. I'll be seeing an oral surgeon today. He'll yank the tooth under local anesthetic and tell me exactly how much it is going to cost me to get an implant. The other option is a bridge, but that is less appealing even though it is less expensive. To put a bridge in, they would have to cut down the two healthy adjacent teeth so that the bridge has someplace to attach.

In the immortal words of Clubber Lang: "Prediction? Pain."

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Now THIS is cool



I need to find out how to hook up with Improv Everywhere and get involved.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Qualcomm's April Fool's Prank



They have a whole website that talks about features.

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But I Don't Drink Coffee

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back From Vacation

We had a mini-vacation to replace the canceled one. I thought I'd be able to blog about it while I was there and it was fresh, but there was no internet or cell phone access. So, I am back and trying to reconnect to the world. If you tried to reach me, I have not been ignoring you. Unless I've been ignoring you. Then, I've been ignoring you.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Why MRI?

A few of you have asked why I am having an MRI. Just because something isn't healing quickly is no reason to jump in the scanner and spend all that time, right? Ordinarily, I would agree with you. But there are a couple factors in this case that are pushing me the other way...

The main one comes from a physical therapist friend. He said something that is now stuck in my head and can only be proved or disproved with an MRI. And when I shared the theory with the doctor, he agreed that MRI was the best call. Or just caved easily so as to not deal with a difficult patient. I'm not sure which, but I wasn;t all that difficult. Just explaining why I wanted the MRI. Apparently, the gastrocnemius is connected to the bone in five places. Sometimes, when you hear a popping sound during the tear, it is become this has become detached from the bone. If that happened, it is not likely to reattach itself to the leg no matter how long you wait. My friend said that typically, people rehab it for a year, then they give up and get surgery.

Reinforcing this theory psychologically is the sensation when I try to stretch the calf by planting my foot and slowly bending my knee. The muscle goes to a certain point and then gets tight and painful. It feels like if it goes further it will pop again. And the thought was planted that the topmost connection could have let go and that sensation is the next one down getting ready to pop.

Now, if the doctor dismissed this as quackery and offered me some proof otherwise, I might be inclined to push it and try to stretch. But I have no desire to recreate that bruising, swelling, or pain.

So, the doctor recommended an MRI and a consult with a sports medicine ortho. If everything looks to be healing normally in there, we will do physical therapy. If not, we will explore other options.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Losing Streak

I know. I'm supposed to focus on the positives. And there are positives. I have plenty to be thankful for. Especially with the way the economy is going. But I also have plenty I am not thankful for. I feel like I am on a bit of a losing streak right now. And sometimes you just have to get it out there so it can move on. Or you can move on. Maybe you and it move on, just in different directions. I'd sure hate to let it out and have it follow me...

It's hard to say what started the losing streak ,but it was definitely early in 2008. I guess we can blame the leg injury for lack of a better starting point. I gimped the leg in mid-February. And that was painful and annoying. She-who-normally-thinks-I-am-not-as-sick-as-I-am was incredibly supportive, helpful, and sympathetic. Which should serve to tell you how hosed I was.

I went to the urgent care for my doctor's medical group. It's like an ER, but staffed and funded by the office, so that it is still "in network". I don't feel like I got great care. I got poked and examined and then told "You have a gastrocnemius tear." I wasn't even given a follow-up appointment. I should have pushed it, but I didn't. I set my own follow up a week or so later and my primary doctor said, "The reason you are still having trouble is that this is a worse tear than they originally thought." Still no recommendation for anything other than what I was doing. Well, he wanted me to work on stretching it some. But I could only stretch it to a point. He assured me that I would be fine for my trip to Mexico.

Concurrent with all of this, news of the state budget crisis started coming out. Somehow, California is going to be short fifteen BILLION dollars next fiscal year. I'm sure that the housing crisis is part of it. Foreclosed properties don't generate much in the way of tax revenues. There are other things that were pushed for during Arnold's tenure that contributed, though. We're taking a page from the President's book and cutting taxes even though we need the money. In order to make up for it, because states generally don't run trillion dollar deficits, the Governator has decided to enact a 10% across the board cut in all departments on the state budget.

The upshot of this is that schools are sending out layoff notices to teachers. She-who-really-loves-her-job is not yet tenured. Even if she was, it wouldn't help as some tenured teachers are losing their jobs. So, we are going to have 10% fewer teachers and the same number of students. Apparently, being 49th in per student expenditures is not good enough for us. We are going for dead last! All the teachers with temporary contracts (of which she is one) were told that they won't be back next year, though they can sub if they want. Teachers will likely be hired back in order of seniority unless they have a special skill that is in demand. That means we have to wait for the California revenues to increase WITHOUT increasing taxes before she has a shot at getting her own classroom, a steady income, and teaching benefits. And since the problem is affecting all of California, she can't just move to another district. The explanation of the education hiring process is too complicated to cover as part of this post, but trust me. It's a ridiculous series of hoop jumping.

But really, do two complaints constitute a losing streak? Probably not. But I'm not stopping at 2. Let's add turmoil at Brian's work. The turmoil is not internal. I'm getting along with everyone. We have cool products and are hitting deadlines. The company is reasonably healthy. The problem is that we made an unpopular decision recently and took some PR hits for it. Then some insiders and former insiders with axes to grind started a smear campaign. The chairman of the board resigned in a huff which triggered some payout clauses. Then we missed expectations from "the street". End result. We are still profitable and growing. We are only going to grow 10-15% this year instead of 30-40%. We have a boatload of cash in the bank and are focusing on infrastructure and development. But the stock has tanked. And when I say the stock has tanked, I mean tanked. We went from $15 in February to $6 in March. Nobody's options are worth anything. This has created fears of layoffs, hostile takeovers, and the like. Morale is low and uncertainty is high.

Complaint 4: our house is now worth 30k less than we paid for it. That means leaving CA is likely not a solution to our economic woes. We're fine financially and we have our safety net, but the uncertainties have added stress to our lives. And I'd rather be fine and moving forward than holding my own and treading water.

Does that constitute a losing streak yet? How about the cherry on the cake? I had one more follow up appointment after shedding my crutches had caused me so much discomfort on Saturday. I wanted to make sure things were still on track and that I hadn't screwed anything up. I was also concerned with long flights and blood clots. My doctor wasn't available, so I got the on-call doctor. He examined the leg, told me that a gastroc tear was pretty painful and that I wasn't being a wimp. Cool. That's all good. What about the blood clots? No worries there. He said that even though there was still a decent amount of fluid, the chance of blood clot was pretty remote. Well. That was a relief. "So, I can still go to Mexico?" I asked. "Oh, goodness, no. You still need to cancel."

Apparently, the fluid in the leg will swell up on the long flight and I will spend my time on the plane in agony. That will make it difficult to do anything we had planned to do like the Maya ruins or the eco-park. So, instead of the special family trip for my birthday, I am spending my time trying to get the trip insurance to pay us back and get an MRI scheduled to find out why this is still behind schedule healing. Apparently, according to the on-call doctor, this tear is worse than the doctor who thought it was worse than they thought, thought it was.

Is that enough to qualify for a losing streak yet?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Less Amazing Three Legged Man

Well. Going crutchless was a bad call.I had a really hard time walking on Saturday and was in a lot of pain. It was more than just fatigue from lack of use, too. When I tried to stretch it, it felt like it was going to snap again. So, I stopped. I'm going to see the doctor again and push for an MRI so we can find out what is really going on in there. In the meantime, I have procured a cane. It's not rhinestone studded and it doesn't have a laser. It's made of wood and has a curved handle. If not for the painted, carved parrot head at the end of the curve, it would look like an old man cane. Let's all take a moment and be thankful for the parrot.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Amazing Two Legged Man!

I am now fully off the crutches. I'm not jogging around or anything, but I am walking under my own power. I've got a slight limp, but I'm not shuffling or dragging a dead leg behind me. Some friends have suggested a cane. They would prefer one with LEDs or rhinestones or maybe something concealed in the handle. I think they are just enjoying how silly I look. There is one oddity about the whole thing, other than the fact that, a month later, there is still bruising. When I walk, my left arm still keeps in synch with my left leg, instead of alternating. It is used to reaching out in support with a crutch when that leg steps. The overall effect is that I look like a white guy trying badly to be hip.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jump For Joy

Yesterday, Josh was working on his homework. He usually gets a multi-page packet on Monday that is due on Friday. This week, a few of his pages dealt with the concept of estimating. For example, one page asks him to circle the activity that will take longer. The picture on the left is of a girl drawing a flower. The picture on the right is of a girl drawing a full mural. You get the idea. The other class of problem gives an activity and asks the student to circle the correct estimate. Here's one for you:

How long you would jump rope:

1 minute?
1 hour?
1 week?

What do you suppose Josh answered? Therein lies the story...
Josh circled "1 hour". She-who-was-checking-the-homework told him that his answer was wrong. "Think about it, Josh. Would the amount of time you jumped rope be closer to a minute or closer to an hour?" Josh was firm in his beliefs. "An hour!" They went back and forth a few times with Josh stubbornly refusing to admit he was wrong and Mom trying to get him to fix his work. (His Mom and I are such reasonable people. Whereby did he acquire this stubbornness?) Then, inspiration struck! "All right, Josh. If you want to keep that answer, prove it. Show me that you can jump rope for an hour." I think she expected him to back down. Things do not always go as planned. "You watch. I'll prove you, Mom!"

There were some minor modifications made to the challenge. He's not coordinated enough to jump rope for a minute, let alone an hour. So, we decided that just jumping up and down would be close enough for the scale of the experiment. He immediately proceeded to jump up and down. We figured he'd last five minutes. At five minutes, he asked how long he'd been going. Maya told him that it had been five minutes. "I only have five minutes left?" Ummmmm. No. You have fifty-five. "But I have to pee." Excellent. An opening. "Just admit you were wrong and then you can stop and go to the bathroom," said Mom. "I'm not wrong!" Seeing he'd not be allowed a break, he dropped his pants to his ankles while continuing to jump and proceeded to water the lawn. Picture a hose that has been turned on while nobody is holding the end. When he was done, he pulled them back up, still jumping all the while. He made it to fifteen minutes and announce, "I'm hungry." Another opening. "If you give up, you can stop and have a snack." Do you think Josh gave up? Of course not. He hopped into the house and grabbed the box of Rice Krispies. He tried to eat handfuls of cereal while continuing on his task. He did the same with a drink of water. Still he jumped on.

Finally, the hour ended and Josh was triumphant. He was red-faced, hungry, and tired, but he was successful. And we had to write a note on his homework. We didn't want the teacher to say, "The answer is a minute. Not an hour. You don't jump rope for an hour..." We all know where that would lead...

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Who Wants to See Gross Foot Pics?

I have a few pictures of the bruising on my leg from the calf muscle tear. They look pretty nasty. These were taken 2 weeks after the injury. Any bets on how long it will take for the bruises to clear? Click on if you want to see.


This one is a wider shot to try to get the full effect.


Zoomed in here for increased blotchiness resolution


The foot bruise is pretty sizable


An uninjured leg, which doesn't look all that appealing either.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Regime Turnover

Just a brief heads up that I am contributing to a new blog. It was started by James over at Aces Full. It's a time limited blog that will run up to the last day of Dubya's Presidency. All of the authors are left of the political spectrum and most of us seem to favor Obama. Hopefully, it will have interesting observations on the environment between now and next January. Or maybe it will just be a bunch of "crazy libruls" ranting. Check it out and see for yourself. It's called Regime Turnover. I personally think our logo should be Dubya wrapped in a flaky pastry and drizzled with a fruit sauce, but I'm not in charge.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Diebold Lets the Cat Out of the Bag

Sometimes the timing is too perfect. Check out this news report on Diebold.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The San Diego Primaries

Well. I did my civic duty a few weeks back. It may even have counted. But with the electoral system out here in California, I have no great confidence. Time for a briwei rant on primary day in San Diego...

Last time I voted, we had those Diebold machines. You know, the ones that tell you that you voted, but offer no evidence that the votes you cast are what was recorded? Well, those machines were decertified for a wide number of reasons. Apparently, when an independent team was allowed to attack the system, they were able to corrupt the election database without needing access to the voting machines at all. Oh, and Diebold changed the software weeks before the election without informing the Secretary of State. So, we were back to paper ballots, which was fine with me. I feel qualified to color in an oval fully. I didn't know how it was going to play out until I got to my polling place. There's the background and now the rant.

The first thing that is ridiculous out here is how our polling places work. A cynical man might think it was designed to suppress voter turnout. Oh, wait. I AM a cynical man. My polling place was in someone's garage. Not a mechanic type garage either. This was a single-family residence two-car garage cleaned up for the purpose of hosting voters. There is no easy way to know where your polling place is and it isn't always the same place. The signage pointing out my polling place was poor, especially at night, but I found it anyway.

I walked in and got my ballot. As a voter unenrolled in an party, I was given the choice of American Independent or Democratic primary ballots. I could also have skipped the primary altogether and just voted on the ballot questions, but that is a whole other rant. I took a Democratic ballot while commenting that the Republicans didn't want my vote in the primary. They only wanted it in the general election. So, they don't want my opinion. Only my vote. This rankled the poll worker. "The Republicans aren't the only primary you can't vote in. You can't vote in the Green, Libertarian, or Peace and Freedom either." Excellent. So, we are putting the Republicans on par with those? If only. "That may be true. But of those, only the Republican candidate has a shot at being President." She grumbled a bit, but left me alone while I filled in my ovals.

While I was doing that, someone else asked about the electronic voting machines. She gave them a form they could fill out to submit to the registrar of voters requesting they bring the machines back. There was no form to request they be kept out. I chimed in. "I'm glad they're gone. I'd rather have a more secure and accurate way to vote." I think I pushed another of her buttons. She proceeded to proclaim loudly how insecure our votes actually were currently and how much more accurate the Diebold system was. It was on.

"Accurate? How accurate is a system that had precincts with well over 100% turnout during the last election?"
"That's because of provisional votes. Those have to be counted somewhere. This way they are securely recorded."
"Ah, yes. Our votes would be much more secure in a hackable, proprietary voting machine."
"It's not hackable!"
"Sure it is. There are plenty of examples of people who were able to pop open the back and hack them."
"Ah, but you need ACCESS to do that."
"Psh. Access is easy..."
"People don't have access!"
"They do if they have the machine before the morning of the elections, which is standard practice around here."

At that point she decided she was not going to convince me and I might sway others, so she shut up. When last we had paper ballots, I remember feeding mine into a machine that scanned and counted it. The people present had no way of opening the box. That was not the case this time. She took my paper ballot. She could have looked at it if she had wanted. Then it was stuffed into a slot in a cardboard box. Diebold may have been more secure than THAT, but that is not how we did it previously. I wonder if the system was intentionally made insecure to make us want to go back to the corrupt machines.

By the way, I don't buy that whole 'provisional vote' crap. For that to be true, the precinct would have to have close to 100% turnout AND have a large number of provisional ballots turned in there. That is beyond statistically improbable. As to the access question, I think I covered that two years ago with an article about No Sleepovers. In short, she's a partisan hack trying to influence electoral policy from her post as a neutral poll worker.

But don't worry. That wasn't the only questionable thing we encountered on election day. She-who-got-pretty-darn-frustrated didn't know where our polling place was. She saw some signs not too far from our house pointing to a polling place, so she naturally assumed that this must be ours. It was the polling place that was the shortest drive from our house, but the neighbor's garage may have been closer as the crow flies. There were three problems with this place. The first was that it was not her polling place. The second was that nobody there could help her find her actual polling place. And the third was that it was a church! So much for separation of church and state, eh? WWJVF?

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Monday, February 25, 2008

I Accidentally Pooped on My Toe

Sometimes, it is good to be on crutches. Of course, it is even better not to be home. That was the case last night. I was at a theater meeting leaving she-who-says-I'm-no-help-on-crutches-anyway to get the kids through the tub and into bed. As such, this is a retelling of the tale I was told when I got home...

Josh has been battling a cold all week, but looked to be on the upswing. He was having his bath when he realized that he needed to use the potty. He made his move for the seat of honor. Did he make it? Well, Josh made a very matter of fact pronouncement from the bathroom. "Mom? There's an emergency." She-who-was-trying-for-a-moment's-peace called back. "What kind of emergency?" After all, when you are 7, there are emergencies of different scales. For example, "I can't find my special face cloth" might constitute an emergency for him, but not for us. "I accidentally pooped on my toe," was what he actually responded with. I don't know what visual this conjures for you, but I imagine him making it to the throne and having a minor mishap while wiping or something equally minor. Still, this was enough to get Mom to come investigate.

If there was an award for understatement, Josh would win it in a landslide. It was true that he had, indeed, pooped on his toe. However, he neglected to mention that in order to do that he had hit everything between his butt and his toe. He also got the rug, the floor, and the tub. I, too, can understate things by saying that his stomach was a little upset.

It was all cleaned up by the time I got home, so I was spared most of the experience. The only part I got was the good part. The story.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oops, I Did It Again

This is NOT a post on Britney. This is a post on where you can find your gastrocnemius. It's also a post about my skills at basketball. Mostly, it's an opportunity for you all to mock me again...

I have a bad history with basketball. I seem to get hurt playing more often than I ought to. On one occasion, I broke my hand without any contact from anyone. I was running, stumbled, and fell. I tried to catch myself with my hand, but didn't place it well. I rolled forward over it and *snap!*.

She-who-is-not-to-be-trifled-with wouldn't let me go to the ER and get X-Rays until I had helped my sister with her resume. After all, I had invited her and she had driven and hour. In fairness, I think she was more angry about the fact that we were moving in less than a week and it meant she had to drive the U-Haul. And lift the boxes. And do the unpacking.

So, what does that have to do with today? Well, we are going to Playa Del Carmen in a month. And I played basketball on Tuesday. And the wait at the ER was 3.5 hours. The middle part? I missed a rebound and the action was heading the other way. I landed, turned, pushed off, and tried to run. I heard a popping sound and it felt like someone pelted the back of my calf with a tennis ball. Then it became really hard to put pressure on it.

My friends all weighed in with their opinions and it was decided that we had no clue what it was. Since I could move my toes, we ruled out broken bones. I could squeeze the Achilles with no pain, so we ruled that out. I iced it for 20 minutes and once of the guys drove my car back to the office. Why didn't I go get it looked at right away? HMO. Since I was capable of driving, I had to go to my after hours care facility. Thankfully, it was my left leg. So, I made the 40 minute drive to the disease factory. The lobby was full of flu victims.

I was told up front the wait would be long, but I got a pleasant surprise. She-who-is-full-of-surprises decided to meet me and help me through the process. I'm not sure how I would have done it without her. She got me things from the car. Questioned the staff on my behalf. She even took the sweaty sneaker and sock off my foot so the nurse could make sure my circulation was OK. Now THAT is love.

After my X-Ray, they were nice enough to let me wait in the hall outside radiology and away from all the flu cases. After that it was just waiting and icing and waiting and shifting position. I finally got to see the doctor and got my diagnosis. X-Rays were clear and there was no reason to believe I needed an MRI. The verdict? A partially torn gastrocnemius muscle. For those who don't know, that is the larger of the two calf muscles. My left calf looks like Popeye's forearm.

The big surprise was that my treatment was NOT to involve ibuprofen or other NSAIDs. Apparently, medial calf injuries are prone to bleeding and they don't want me to get a hematoma. I've been prescribed R.I.C.E. That's Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. I have to stay fully on crutches for one week. Then I gradually put pressure on it for another week. Then I slowly work up the activity level and am back in business by the Mexico trip. This is good news as it means my injury is not life-threatening. If it had impacted the vacation, my life would have been threatened. ;-)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dim Sum is People!!!

If you have never gone out for Dim Sum and are culinarily adventurous, I recommend it. I am not, but she-who-deserves-a-night-out is. So, I thought I'd see what I could find that was to the North of us. I know what is to the South and wanted something against the flow of traffic. Here is an unedited snap of a section of my search:


Note the first entry on the map search and tremble.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Surprise! I'm a Nerd.

Hat tip to barbie2be for the quiz, even though she only rated as "kind of nerdy".


NerdTests.com says I'm a Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!


I may be a nerd, but I'm NOT a loser.


I am 5% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Whiny Californians

I'm not sure when it happened, but I have become one of those whiny Californians. The other day, I was complaining I was cold. It was 55 degrees. I had on long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a sweatshirt. When did I lose my New England toughness? And how does that happen? When I lived in Massachusetts, 55 degrees was a balmy spring day. Heck. When I first moved here, I wore shorts all year round.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Switching from the Gold Standard

Hat tip to Kitten Herder for unearthing this important change in our treasury system.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How Fortunate

Hat tip to barbie2be

My Fortune Cookie told me:
I wish you wouldn't wall-mount those Trappist monks.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Affluenza!

Sadly, I am not writing about the PBS show, of which I have heard many good things. There is also a play of similar name. The author added an exclamation point to help us differentiate. I had assumed that it was inspired by Oliver James'studies on consumption and materialism and I was looking to update the dramatic offerings at our community theater. So, I ordered a copy to read...

Affluenza! is by James sherman. Apparently he has written other acclaimed works. At least, that is what the blurb led me to believe.

A hilarious new play from James Sherman, AFFLUENZA! borrows classic characters from Restoration Comedy like the cuckolded husband, the coquette, the wiley servant, and the fop to create a contemporary comedy of manners. When multi-millionaire, William Moore brings home his new girlfriend, his son and ex-wife are threatened by the potential new heir to the family fortune. Who gets what and who ends up with whom is revealed in this dazzling display of wit and word play.

"James Sherman has created a Moliere play for our times. A clever and delightful piece of theatre." Chicago Reader

"James Sherman's AFFLUENZA! is an impressive piece of work -- a witty balancing act that gets laughs from age-old human foibles as well as our present age of untrammeled corporate greed." The Kansas City Star

"Sherman's vital Americanese displays all of the lightness, gaiety and poetic skill of the French satirist's classic French." The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

I'll admit, I probably ought to have done a bit more homework before ordering a perusal copy. But I was just surfing for recent plays that sounded interesting. Ah, well. Lesson learned.

To be blunt, this play is transparent, insipid, and banal. To be more blunt, I read it while dealing with a stomach bug and IT stank worse. The first thing that made me cringe was when I discovered that the entire play is written in rhymed couplets. Think bad Dr. Seuss impersonation. It is also peppered with references to pop culture and current events. References of this sort are not a bad thing in and of themselves. If they are used as a part of the story, they can be effective; even moving. Most of them here are offhand throwaways. Various politicos, right and left, are name dropped. But the reference is meant for a laugh and nothing more. And given that the laugh is supposed to come after 80 pages of bad poetry, I found it hard to muster. Don't take my word, though. Here is a sampling:
If Affluenza's a new word for you
Please listen 'cause I can give you a clue.
The days, the rich people are quite numerous.
Our poet thinks they're rather humorous.
They look for all the ways they can explore
How to get more. And more. And more. And more.
Except of course, for my Great Uncle Bill.
This is his house. Man, it is such a thrill.
Come in, dear ladies and kind gentlemen
Please notice - You can see Lake Michigan.

Gah! Enough. No more. That is the opening to the show. That's not even half of the Prologue. Then there is the fact that each act is broken up into 'scenes'. Of course, one scene picks up where the previous one ended. And there is no change in location. So, I fail to see the need for scenes aside from making the play feel longer. And it already feels plenty long to me! Then there are occasions where he rhymes a word with itself. And the ones he does this to are not for effect. Nor are the difficult words to rhyme. Here's an example:
How dare you think she's mercenary. Her?
Well, I'll show you. I'm gonna marry her!

Riveting. No, wait. Revolting. To make matters worse, the message is so heavy handed. Everyone in the play except the main character is a greedy materialist. There is no nuance. No subtlety. I hesitate to even call them caricatures, because caricatures usually bear some resemblance to reality.

Perhaps nobody has ever communicated with Mr. Sherman in a language he can understand. I'll revise my review for him.

You probably think that you're clever
Writing a rhyming play? Whatever.
The characters were two-dimensional.
What little humor seemed unintentional.
I get that problems stem from greed
But I knew that ere I saw your screed.
But the part of this lesson that really sucks
Is that learning it cost me eight bucks!

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Right Wing Political Hit Job

Well. It's started. A calculated e-mail campaign to make us afraid of Obama. It originated with the Washington Times and has spread to the usual suspects. Fox News defended its irresponsible handling of the story by saying that its 'reporters' were merely expressing personal opinions. Here is the lovely email I received this morning:

F.Y.I
It was reported that snopes.com confirms the below.

Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii.

When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya . His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia . Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta . He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school." Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that he is not a radical.

Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.

Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their hands over their hearts, Obama turns his back to the flag and slouches.

Note the clever reference to Snopes. This is meant to give the accusations credibility. The link takes you to the home page and leaves you to find the article yourself. If you do find the article, it's here by the way, you'll see it refuted on a point by point basis. I like how they constantly repeat his middle name 'Hussein'. Quick, tell me what Romney, McCain, or Huckabee's middle names are. Anyone? I also like the fact that the word RADICAL is in all caps.

The other worrying thing to me is that they are conditioning their followers to be afraid of certain people based solely on religion. What would be the big deal if a candidate were a Muslim? I'm not talking about an America hating, suicide bomber supporting radical. I'm just talking about a regular Muslim in the same way many people are regular Jews or Christians. They go to Church. They try to treat others well. They do the best they can for themselves and their family. So, why is that a bad thing?

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Distance + Loss = Teh Suck

No, this is not an excuse post about why I haven't posted. That is because I got burnt out. Now I'm burnt in, so I'm back. Last week we had a death in the family. My Great Aunt Ruth passed very suddenly after a short battle with Legionnaire's Disease. It was less than 48 hours from the time sister Sara-Anne told me Aunt Ruth was being checked into the hospital with a high fever until she was gone. She was a very sweet woman who will be missed by us all.

It was especially hard for me because I am so far away. I felt a bit lost. But it also got me thinking about how differently people grieve. I am sad that she is gone, but she lived a good long life and did not suffer or linger. But, for me, the grieving isn't just about losing her. It's also about mortality and the fact that the preceding generations' time is growing shorter. That's a lot to deal with when most of the people you care about are over 3000 miles away. (Don't get your hopes up. It doesn't mean I'm moving back. ;-) ) It's made even harder when the people you live with don't grieve the same way.

She-who-does-things-differently saw my grieving as just moping and wallowing. From her perspective, I was not doing anything about it and she was concerned I was going into a protracted depression. I had something resembling a plan. I didn't share it, but I had one. To her, the way you grieve is by going out and being productive. You feel better by proving to yourself that you can go on and can accomplish things.

My approach is different. I get some extra rest and then I do some mindless activity. I try to process the emotions until it gets too much. Then I go back to the mindless activity. I also found some time to exercise and gave blood. Those were the things that helped me. I'm doing much better this week. But it was a bit tense as I tried to do my thing while getting her to understand.

How do you guys do it?

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