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Archived Entries from March 2006

Spring Photos

I'm in a good mood today. I got a lot of stuff accomplished at work, including a bunch of ColdFusion coding. I really find it funny that any time I look at something from six months ago I think to myself "what on Earth was I thinking?" And of course, back then I was looking at stuff from a year ago thinking the same thing. Yes, I am a total hack. But at least the stuff works, I guess (thank goodness for fast servers that more than compensate for my sometimes-awful coding skills...).

Anyway, I was home yesterday with my son. He was recovering from a night spent in the bathroom, and I was recovering from a day of floating through the Jovian atmosphere (Jovian is correct, right? Like, the atmosphere of Jupiter?--okay, only sort of--it refers to all four gas giants--but anyway.....). I did make a trip to Champaign to pick up some typesetting corrections and stopped on the way home and bought another tree--a tuliptree.

At any rate, we also managed to unload the swingset yesterday.

I took a bunch of pictures, but rather than waste server space here, and make anyone interested suffer through the slow load times of this place, I uploaded them somewhere else and created a page from which to view them. So if you're interested, here they are. (Don't expect anything too exciting).

Okay, I've a few more things to do before I get out of here for the day...

Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2006, 10:24 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

No More Haze

Thank goodness that awful procedure is over with. I'm even more thankful that they weren't kidding about how much different it would be now than it was when I was 20. Piece of cake. I don't remember a thing. Even after I woke up and talked to the doctor, not five minutes later my father-in-law said something about her and I asked "oh, so what did she have to say?"

"Mike, you were just talking to her not five minutes ago--you don't remember?"

Nope. Whee.....

I think Papa said I'll have to have a follow-up appointment with her at some point. I'm just glad that not only was it just an ulcer, but that the Nexium did what a good band-aid does--it allowed it to heal completely.

I came home and ate a couple of big soft tacos for dinner (with taco meat and chorizo--yum!) and then I went to bed for maybe a half hour? I woke up and still had no idea what planet I was on--I was even confused as to whether or not it was morning and I needed to get up and go to the hospital to have my procedure done... So I ate some more, and drank a bunch more water, and then ate again.

My poor son was up puking all night the night before last, and the redhead stayed home with him (I would have but I had a date with a gastroenterologist). He said he felt better yesterday afternoon but last night I heard him make at least a couple of trips to the bathroom so I have a feeling he'll be staying home today as well. So at least my taking the day off can't be totally attributed to just my being a wimp.

I talked to my freelancing "client" and basically decided not to burn the bridge, but rather leave the door open, and we can play it by ear. No more InDesign books that have to be done in a week, for sure, but I can probably be more flexible than I originally intended. We'll see.

I'm getting totally ramped up for Spring now that this silly stomach thing is over with. I've thought more and more about moving the playhouse and beginning its transformation to my garden shed. I'll probably measure out and cut up the sod where I'm going to move it to for a couple of reasons. Its "new" location is at the end of the berm in our back yard, so removing a huge square of sod will make it easier for me to level what is underneath, that way I can use the same number of footing blocks under each corner, rather than try to have three under one corner, but one or two under the back corner, etc. This also gives me a big piece of sod to use to replace the large dead spot that will be under where the thing sits now. So it makes perfect sense to me.

There's a problem with what to do with Em's garden, however. If we keep the fort, but put it on the west side of the playhouse/garden shed, there's nowhere for her garden (right now the fort is on the east and her flower garden is on the west). There won't be any room on the east side, because that's where the berm starts and one of the three big pine trees. I think if we put a couple of those square stepping stones right in front of the porch of the house, and then maybe split the flower garden in two and have it on either side, that might work. We'll see.

Okay, I need to go eat something...

Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 11:25 am
Mood: Wired | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment


Let's just say that they weren't kidding.

I've even come home and taken a nap. And woke up and it took a minute to figure out what day it was and whether or not I had had my procedure yet.

Well, I'm going to make all sorts of not sense right now, so I'll just sum up and maybe write more tomorrow.

No cancer (which we knew, right?).

I don't have an active ulcer. It has already healed and there is just scar tissue.

In other words, I'm "good to go."

Thank goodness. What day is it?

Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 12:55 am
Mood: Worn Out | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


My upper GI endoscopy is today! Yay! I can't wait!


At least I'm enjoying my last glass of water for the day. I'm sure I won't at all be hungry by 2:00 this afternoon. Not at all.

I wonder if Papa will drive through and pick me up a burrito on the way home.... Yeah, that probably isn't going to happen either.

Some people just have to suffer through upper GI endoscopies, I guess. Even in Australia....

Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 1:51 pm
Mood: Irritated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

The Red Planet

I'm a skeptic. Of everything. If I can't touch it, it doesn't exist. And if you tell me that it does but that you can't personally provide me with a sample, for the most part I won't believe you.

Faith, to me, is silly. Believing something because someone else (who has no proof) insists that I believe as well doesn't ring true to me. Sorry to border on offensiveness, but to be honest, to me it is as simple as that. I am supposed to believe something because my parents told me to believe it? Or because some teacher did? Or, worst case scenario, because some filipino priest that was molesting my fellow altar boys told me so (and of course his nationality doesn't matter...)? Okay, too far. Let me back up.

I don't (or, probably more correctly, try very hard not to) ever tell my kids to do something "just because." There's a reason for everything. Let the people on the elevator get off the elevator before you try to get on the elevator. Don't eat with your elbows on the table. Say please. Have good manners.

The kids have very little idea of how well it will serve them later in life when they can go out to lunch with some business executive (or whomever) and have good posture and perfect table manners and won't have to think about it. It isn't hard. Do it. Learn it. Know it.

And if they ask why they have to sit up straight, or have to do XYZ at the dinner table, I can always offer them an explanation.

Holey moley, this post detoured quite significantly.

I was just looking at pictures from the Mars Reconnnaisance Orbiter. Mars is a rock, right? It has a bunch of craters presumably caused by asteroids/meteorites. It has "channels" that scientists think were maybe once caused by water. It used to have a molten core and therefore a magnetic shield that held in an atmosphere. Theories, theories, theories...

Then something poked itself out of my mental file cabinet and a got a chuckle--hence this post that wasn't at all started with the intent of my ranting about religion and faith and all of that "stuff."

Do I belive aliens crashed at Roswell? Nope. Do I believe any UFO sighting ever is the result of extraterrastrial live? Nope. (Do I, as Agent Mulder does, "want to believe?" Yes--I'm sure there is life out there somewhere, if as much to disprove all the religious stuff that I talked about previously...). So "people" on Earth see odd lights in the sky. And "people" claim things have crashed. And yes, to me it is all very, very ridiculous. If I were a gambling person (and I don't gamble, which is cool, I guess) I'd bet that any UFO event that can't be explained away by nature (gas in the air, or whatever) can most likely be attributed to the U.S. military, or some such contractor working on their (our) behalf. Of course when a damn super-secret-cutting-edge stealth jet crashes the military is going to show up and scare everyone off and cordon off the entire site.

Derailed again.

So here we are. A couple of "rovers" climbing slowly through a desert on mars. Several orbiters crashing near the Martian poles because of a silly metric/English measurement problem. And now the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter crusing around and taking pictures.

As some mushy subterranian (submartian?) creature pokes its head out one day and claims to its drinkin' buddies that it saw some weird lights in the sky, and then there was some inflated balloon-like device, and apparently someone, somewhere, saw some thing with round "things" that let it move from place to place over the surface. "We think that the third planet from CStysSeryof has an atmosphere made up of oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen--surely nothing could live under those circumstances." And they all have a good laugh.

Along with another glass of Gewurztraminer. But it isn't "real" Gewurztraminer which only comes from France. It's the Martian version, which might be slightly better than the fake kind that comes from California.

And no, I don't "want to believe."

I want to have it proven to me. I want everything proven to me.

Okay, my upper GI endoscopy is tomorrow. And it won't be cancer. "Duh, dad."

Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 2:04 am
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Fun Weekend

Well, we tried to celebrate the start of Spring yesterday with a weenie roast, but thanks to the weather we settled for tacos instead. Fortunately we got a huge new Crock Pot last weekend (well, or at some point a while back) so the redhead cooked a whole bunch of taco meat and we put it in there. I even cooked some chorizo, and the grocery store in Tuscola had jalapenos so I bought a few and some roma tomatoes and a green pepper and a red onion and made some fresh salsa--well, not as fresh as from the farm but better than the stuff that I jarred (which is good, but I'm ready for, well, fresh stuff).

I have to tell one of my old ex-employers tomorrow that I'm not planning on doing the freelance thing anymore. That will be fun. Shoe-horning me into becoming an InDesign typesetter isn't much appreciated, and the boss to whom I had my loyalties has moved on, and I'm an old dog and don't want to learn new tricks... I want my weekends back. So I have to burn a bridge tomorrow, but hopefully I can get away with doing it peacefully.....

The kids helped me clean up the back yard today, which was just wonderful. We raked leaves and picked up all of the pine cones, and burned it all (living in the boonies is wonderful sometimes). I fixed the swing-set....

Oh gosh, this is so silly. We've had a swing set for probably 9 years (since right after the kids were born). Papa and Grandma bought it. And while the foam bumpers for the posts have long since been picked away, the set as a whole isn't in bad shape. I wrote a want-ad for the local paper and listed a price of $10. I had to spend $4 to place the ad. Well (and this is where my wife starts making fun of me) last year one of the swing's chains broke. I used pliers and twisted the broken sections back together, but then there were some sharp spots so I wrapped the whole thing up with inches of duct tape so nobody would get cut. That hack has bothered me ever since, and I couldn't--in good conscience--sell that thing (even for ten bucks) what that "broken" swing. So I went to the hardware store and bought a $1 link thing. I spent probably a half-hour unwrapping old duct tape and bending and breaking the screwed up links, then adding the replacement link. I feel much better now.

Em asked me how much I was selling the swing set for, and of course I told her. But then reminded her that if someone will just come take the darn thing, I don't want any money for it. Just get it out of here. Please... She was curious as to why I didn't want to "make" any money on the deal. My dear, not having that in the back yard any more is worth much more to me than anything.

So we got the yard cleaned up, and I'm getting excited about Spring. The hosta are starting to poke through the ground, and the vinca that I planted under the pine trees on the berm in the back have totally taken root.

I'm ready for stuff to start growing. Soon, I hope?

Posted: Monday, March 27, 2006, 2:49 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Enough Melodrama Already

So I've calmed down about the whole stomach thing. Actually, I was fine the next day. I don't have cancer. It's painfully obvious (no pun intended) that my old doctor's advice that I could take 5 Advil at a time (up to 20 a day) probably wasn't the best advice in the world. After reading what causes gastric ulcers, about the only thing that doesn't apply to me in the list is smoking. So duh.

Even after spending half the week out of the office (sick kid on Monday, snow day on Tuesday, half-day for doctor appointment on Wednesday) this week was still exhausting. I had a bunch of electronic grant stuff to do for our cohorts at Michigan State, the first issue of the The Bulletin was yesterday, and today I had to get a bunch of conference videos posted to the web, after writing several ColdFusion pages for the Center, of course.

I got more totally kick butt job news yesterday and today, and it is killing me to not be able to talk about it. The boss said to keep my mouth shut, which unfortunately probably even means my three or four blog readers as well (except the redhead, of course--I told her all about it...). And I guess I should say that when I do "reveal" it won't be that big of a deal--it's just something that, well, I need to just shut up about it. I'll have an anti-climactic explanation soon.

We're having our first weenie roast of the season tomorrow. Except it may be a weenie roast with no weenies, no fire, and a taco bar instead. Let's just say that it's a bit damp outside right now.

Okay, I think I'm headed home.

Posted: Friday, March 24, 2006, 11:05 pm
Mood: Ready for the Weekend | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


That was a fun drive home from the doctor's office. I had my consultation today about the stomach/gastroscopy thing.

So I had 30 minutes to digest it all in the car on the way home (heh, digest--no pun intended).

Have I been too smug? Too proud? Is life going too well? My wife got a dream job that she loves. I just arranged for a neat financial thing for myself as well. I told her ten years ago that there was a goal, a combined salary figure of a certain number, and if we were to reach that number by my 40th birthday we'd be able to easily do college for the kids and live comfortably and do the things we want to when we get older. After the dealings last month I did the math--we're going to make it. Am I being punished for that? For my great marriage? My nice house that I'm very happy with? My brilliant, well-grounded, adorable children? My wonderful job? The planets are starting to align, and then one little #$%&ing word threatens to make it all vanish.


I went into the doctor's office today armed with my speech. No need for the procedure. I'm not bleeding any more. My pain is gone. I had this tear in my stomach in college and don't we risk tearing it again? Just leave it alone and it will be fine. See? Everything will be okay. I won't waste your time with the procedure because surely, Mr. Dr., you agree that it isn't necessary, right? And I promise if I ever have the symptoms again I'll march right back here and then I'll agree to go through with it.

I didn't get very far into my schpiel before he stopped me.

"We have to do the procedure to rule out that it isn't cancer."

No, he didn't say I have cancer. I don't think I have cancer. I don't think that he thinks that I have cancer.

But that's a word that can't be tossed around lightly. What where the "power" words called in Dune that if you said them into that thing then stuff would blow up? Weirding words or something? "Cancer" is one of those words.

Surely I don't have cancer. I mean, really. We've established that I took too many NSAIDs (I'm not allowed to take Aspirin or Ibuprofen ever, ever again--like for the rest of my life...). I was bleeding. I stopped bleeding. It's an ulcer. I'm fine. I won't take any more Ibuprofen. End of story?

We have to rule out that it isn't cancer...

And I'm sure that he says that for two very specific reasons: a) so that I won't argue with him (for the record--it worked) and b) so if by some small chance I did have cancer I wouldn't be able to sue him later.

But still.

Next Tuesday at noon at the hospital. I guess I'll know more after that.

I wonder if I would have just shut up and been in total agreement from the beginning to have my "ulcer" looked at if that word would have had to come out. It's too late now.

Sigh. I need to go clean out the fridge or something....

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 9:22 pm
Mood: Irritated | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment


This is somebody's idea of a joke. And school for the kids was cancelled today. For crying out loud...

I tied up some freelancing loose ends, played a lot of Morrowind, while the redhead spent the day working at the kitchen table with her fancy-schmancy laptop (have I mentioned that she really, really likes her new job? And they even told her to stay home today!) She and the kids have also been making vegetable soup and chocolate cookies.

Here's Em demonstrating her new cookie removal skills:

One of the first couple that she tried to move from the cookie sheet to the cooling off grate thing broke in half. I explained to her that her angle of attack was too high, and that she needed to move faster with the flipper so that she could get completely under the cookie in one swipe. Just like a surgical strike--low angle, move fast, get in and get out of there. And the cookies won't break. I showed her once or twice and she got the hang of it. Tee hee...

Well, I'm all caught up with "work work" as well as freelancing work, so now what do I do?

Oh, and as it turns out, I'm not having a gastroscopy tomorrow. I'm having a consultation with the gastroenterologist tomorrow. I should have known that they'd have to stick one more $80 office visit in before actually doing anything. I'm going to try very, very hard to get out of the gastroscopy altogether. I feel tons better, I'm not bleeding--I'm back to normal. The problem was probably NSAIDs, and that problem is fixed. And I feel better. So why have an unnecessary procedure just to "prove" that I'm okay now?

I have a feeling that I'm going to be stuck having the dumb thing done anyway. Oh well....

Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 7:28 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

Dang it....

I screwed around with my RSS feed the other evening to show the redhead what XML was, and it completely fouled things up here.

That's what I get for using a host that won't let me have SSH access.

Hopefully just a permissions thing. I deleted the last XML file, so hopefully this one will write properly? Otherwise I guess I'll have to re-figure-out the RSS thing tomorrow....

Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 1:56 am
Mood: Still Happy... | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Spring Is Here!

But you wouldn't know it. We're supposed to get 8 inches of snow tonight. As Em would say, "It's not fair!"

Speaking of Em and not being fair.... She and I stayed home today from our respective places that we're supposed to be at on weekdays. She was puking and I was, well, cleaning up. My poor geerow. I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll both be home together tomorrow as well. Dang it. At least I managed to get the rest of the way caught up on freelancing while she was sleeping.

Speaking of freelancing.... This is it. I finished up initial typesetting for a book over the weekend, and for a short magazine-like abstract book during the day today, and that's going to be all she wrote. I'll do the corrections if they ask me, but my days as a freelance typesetter are officially over. I'm not giving up one more damn weekend for this. It was one thing when we, well, really kind of needed the money. And then I kept at it because my old boss was still working there and I did it out of loyalty to her. Then I continued after she left because it was pretty good money on the side--and I had bumped my rate from $20 to $30 per hour. But now that isn't even worth it. I want my evenings and weekends back. At any rate, the redhead made me promise that I'll quit, and I'm going to keep my promise.

It's been odd for me lately. I'm trying to worry but am coming up empty. The planets have aligned, and the money situation has been fixed, and, well, I guess I'm just not prepared for this. This was a situation that I always hoped for. I dreamt of this. "Someday we'll get there." And now it seems so simple. Sure, it wasn't that simple. There were years of very hard work between then and now. I'm not making any sense so I need to just shut up.

Spring is here. In the immortal words of C-3PO, "thank the maker!"


Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 1:53 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Much Better

I'm not bleeding any more. I won't share the details of how I know, but trust me--I know.

I had my annual performance review at work today. I have the bestest boss in the world, and I'm very, very fortunate that he's as smart as he is (translation--he thinks I'm a very critical piece of the puzzle, which is very, very good for me...).

I think I'm about at my wits end with the freelance typesetting gig, though. And the redhead's new job, coupled with, well, some other circumstances mean that I don't need to do it to make ends meet any more. So I think the current book I'm working on will be the last. We'll see.

Anyway. I need to head out to the farm to "hook up" a couple of wireless laptops. If that makes any sense...

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2006, 9:38 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Bacon and Eggs

Well, once again I had frosted mini wheats for breakfast this mornig (with a cut up banana) and not matter how hard I tried I couldn't imagine that they tasted like bacon and sausage and fried eggs and toast. Oh well.

My gastroscopy is set for a week from today. I almost wish it were today instead so I could get if over with. At least I can go back to eating normally between now and then. I suppose I ought to call Papa and make sure he doesn't have anything going on so he can waste his afternoon at the hospital (I won't be able to drive home after this procedure, apparently...).


Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 4:05 pm
Mood: Hungry | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

The Purple Pill!

Let me just say, that after a couple of weeks of misery, ONE day on the purple pill has been AWESOME. No problems after breakfast. N problems after lunch. Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and no problem there either (well, we actually had rigatoni--the redhead asked the kids what they wanted for dinner, and suggested spaghetti, and Em griped, and the redhead said "how about rigatoni?" and the stinkpot said "ooh--okay!" Sheesh...).

So anyway. So dinner was quite uneventful and it is now hours later and I still feel great!

The doctor's office left a message on the machine, though. I don't think I"m getting out of this gastroscopy...

So I've spent ten days festering about this stomach thing and now that it feels better the world is rushing back in.

And I'm not in the mood for the world right now. Oh well.

But thank goodness for Nexium!

Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 2:59 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Bad News

I have a gastric ulcer. Or so the doctor assumes.

And I have to have a gastroscopy. Yeah, that same thing that made me, well, that thing that I really, really, really didn't like having done 15 years ago. He said it won't be bad this time because I don't actually have a tear in my stomach so I won't be spewing blood everywhere (sorry to be gross) and that since I'm not low on blood now they'll be able to give me a full dose of drugs so I won't have as bad of an experience (he surmised that the reason I remembered everything so vividly last time was that because I was low on blood they might not have given me a lot of medication or something...).

I tried to get out of it, but no dice.

I am not thrilled. Not in the least.

Oh well. It could be worse, I guess....

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 1:47 am
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Yeah, I am relaxed. Which is interesting, because my stomach is bleeding. And has been for a week. I wasn't just a bit bound up....

So I have re-made a doctor's appointment for this afternoon. I haven't been eating much, but it still hurts when I do (usually an hour or so afterwards). I've been drinking a lot of water.

And still eating cereal for breakfast. And taking Placebominaphen when my head hurts.

That's the whole underlying problem with this. A number of months ago I had a sinus infection, which gave me a splitting headache. And that headache returns quite often, although not as strong. I don't know if it is too dry in my office, or what the problem is. I'm pretty sure it's sinus-related---If I plug my nose shut and push and pop my eardrums the pressure goes away for a few minutes. At any rate, that problem led to taking way too much Advil all the time, trying to keep ahead of the headaches.

Apparently I shouldn't have been doing that. And now I'm bleeding internally. How nice for me.

I (stupidly) told my dad on Saturday and he pleaded with me to go to the emergency room. No, dad, this isn't even remotely related to the whole thing that happened in college. It's just a gastric ulcer. I'll be fine. It just hurts. I'll go to the doctor on Monday.

For someone who thinks that the glass is "mostly empty," I'm surprisingly not too upset about this. It is more of an annoyance than anything. And probably a pretty good wake-up call that I need to change my lifestyle. And keep it changed this time.

I guess I'll know more this afternoon.

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2006, 3:20 pm
Mood: Relaxed | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

Bad RAM?

So I ran Disk Utility to check out my boot drive and everything came up fine. Hmm. So maybe now is the time to get it over with and upgrade to Tiger and be done with it--surely this is the System's fault.

Disc Two and the installer crashed. Huh? Yep. Got the little black window with the gray power button and "You need to restart your computer, jerk" in 10 different languages.

Now I'm questioning my original troubleshooting of my dad's old iMac. Maybe I was on the right track with bad RAM. At any rate, I've removed both of the 512s that had been in the iMac (leaving just one 512 installed) and have restarted the installer (well, restarted and it picked up where it left off...).

Surely all of this silliness isn't because of RAM...

Posted: Thursday, March 09, 2006, 10:08 am
Mood: Perturbed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

How Ridiculous...

I made an appointment to go see a doctor tomorrow about my stomach.

I was in pain today at therapy because I had onions on my sandwich from Za's at lunch today (my own stupid fault because I thought I was getting better and I wasn't...).

We spent the whole time talking about my control and my fears and how this whole thing had crept up on me and I've been taking too much Advil and not taking care of myself, etc., etc.

So I finally gave in and made that appointment. 1:45 p.m. tomorrow.

I made dinner tonight because I was home early (because I had therapy) but was hesitant to eat it.

I ate. We (the family) talked.

Then... Okay. I know this is my blog and I can say what I want and whatever.

Listen, I don't read "her," but apparently Dooce talks about this all the time.

I've never been constipated before. Now that that's fixed...

Now I can go back to worrying about this whole stupid cron backup thing.


Posted: Thursday, March 09, 2006, 1:40 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


That's a word that you don't hear from me much. But yeah, I'm in a pretty good mood, all things considered.

Last night was all slated to be awful, but some PMA as well as heeding some much-needed advice to myself that was originally given to Joel Goodsen by his friend Miles.... (Go look it up--GIYF...)

I'm about fed up with the whole consulting thing. Typesetting. Web design. Computer repair. All of it. I want my damn life back. And I think after the current go 'round, I'm giving it up. Sure the money is good, but I want to enjoy myself. I need to enjoy myself. By the time I open the pool in a couple of months I want all of this consulting baloney to be behind me.

Anyway. My stomach is much better, it seems. I think I'll be good to go for Bamba on Friday, so that's good.

I'm frustrated with a bit of a computer problem at home right now. I have a cron job that runs every night of the week and backs up two directories on my hard drive. One is my Desktop directory and the other, well, to be honest I probably don't need to back that stuff up every day. Anyway. The reason I do the Desktop directory is that is where I tend to keep "current' things--things that would be bad if they were lost. Once I finish a project it gets filed away in a directory of archives. And gets copied to two other drives as well as a drive in my Linux server. Once I create those four copies, that's all the more backing up I do of "finished stuff." But projects that are current I want backed up every night.

But for the past few days my cron job has been locking up the machine in the middle of the night. And I tried running the shell script manually and it will work, and work on the next try, and the next try, and then finally get the black screen to appear with "you need to reboot your computer." Very perplexing. Last night I even took the two or three directories of work and copied them to another drive or two and moved them off of the Desktop to see if the script would work (so essentially the Desktop had almost nothing "on" it). And it still crashed.

I think my next step is to start from a system CD and run Disk First Aid on my boot drive and see what's what. (Hey, another Risky Business reference!).

Nothing earth shattering, but slightly frustrating nonetheless. I've been waffling on whether or not to just replace the two 40 gig drives with 120 gig drives anyway. This might be cause for that to happen sooner rather than later.

Oh, I'm such a dork, but I can't make two references without the most important one of all: "Looks like University of Illinois!!"

Tee hee.

Posted: Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 3:04 pm
Mood: Optimistic | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Damn Stomach

Well my stomach hurt when I got home last night, but nevertheless I attempted a soft taco for dinner. A small one, even. Not a good idea. I was in bed by 8:30 because laying down was the only way I could get comfortable. Still not as painful as it was on Friday or Saturday, but painful nevertheless.

Of course going to bed at 8:30 means that my five hours of necessary sleep ends at, well, 1:30 a.m.

And it doesn't help that I have a splitting headache, and that I'm absolutely refusing to take Advil. So I just took a couple of extra strength placebos, I mean Tylenol, so we'll see if I can psych myself into my headache going away.

I just made myself a really, really small ham sandwich, and now I'm just sitting here waiting for the aftereffects. Nothing yet, and it has been almost 15 minutes. Maybe I'm getting better. Maybe patience, and not panicking, and laying off the Advil for a few days was all I needed.

All I know is that I had damn well better be, well, better by this Friday. Because as we all know, Friday is Bamba day.

The problem right now is that all I've eaten in the last day and a half, other than that small ham sandwich I just had, was a turkey sandwich for lunch yesterday and the aforementioned small soft shell taco. So I'm starving and really tempted to eat more. I'll give it another 15 minutes and if I'm not doubled over in pain maybe I'll see about eating something else.

I'll refrain from incorrectly using the term "ironic" but last night I found it interesting that once again we were struggling with my daughter (well, the redhead did most of the struggling...) about going to the doctor. She's had a thing lately, and we're not sure why, where she wants to go get x-rays every time she bumps her leg. We're not sure what the underlying problem is, if there is one. We do know that a little girl in her class recently broke her arm and got a cast and of course everyone gives the kid with the cast all the attention, etc. But our daughter isn't normally one to feel insecure about that sort of situation, so we're still troubleshooting. But funny that she's irritated that we won't take her to the doctor for a (barely visible) bruise on her leg from where she banged herself into her own doorframe, and I should probably honestly at worst be in the hospital right now and at the very least should have gone to the doctor as early as last Saturday.

Okay, that might be a bit alarmist. But interesting that I'm not going to the doctor until I know something is really wrong, because they are going to tell me to do exactly what I'm doing--watch what I eat, stop taking anything that would upset my stomach, and pay close attention to how I feel. My past history or not, if I roll into the doctor's office complaining of an upset stomach it isn't like they're to perform emergency surgery on the spot or anything.

Well the placebos seem to be working for my headache, and it's been a half hour since my initial ham sandwich, so I'm going to attempt to eat something else and see how it goes....

Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2006, 8:01 am
Mood: Frustrated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

It's Been a While...

I guess I haven't posted lately. I really don't have much to talk about, or at least not much that I feel like talking about, if that makes sense.

I've been busy at work, although getting used to coming in late and leaving late is still taking some time. Oh well--now I just have quiet time in the late afternoon instead of the early morning. And I have a few more flights of stairs to traverse in the parking garage....

But all of that is really, really unimportant, because my wife so loves her new job that I'd work second shift if I had to (okay, not really, but the sentiment is there, sort of...). I bet that within five years she'll be making more money than me (and I don't mean because I'll have quit my job or anything). She's excited about work, and her employers are excited about her being there. Sounds like a great match to me...

Okay, this snow flurry business is ticking me off. I'm ready for Spring.

Well, I don't have much else. I've been busy at work and busy with freelancing at home.

I'm cautiously paying attention to my stomach right now, which isn't a lot of fun. Last Friday I had some awful pains (not gas pains, and not heartburn pains) after eating lunch, and again after dinner. I think they are getting slightly better, but time will tell.

When I was in college (the first time) I had a little stomach problem that, well, came really close to costing me my life. (Surely I've told this story here before, but since I searched and can't find anything similar, I guess I'll tell it again, albeit maybe in an abbreviated version...). I was at the Fraternity house on a Friday afternoon. I was going to accompany a friend up to his parents' home in Rockford to help them move (stay over Friday night, maybe Saturday night too and come back Sunday or something). While we were sitting there in the living room talking about nothing and waiting for his mom to show up, all of a sudden my mouth started watering. Like, watering like I was going to vomit. I didn't know why--I wasn't sick and we hadn't been drinking. So I got up to go to the drinking fountain in the dining room, hoping that I could do the standard chugging of some water to quiet the salivary glands (or ducts or whatever they are). It got worse and worse, and my stomach started feeling bloated. I turned to run into the kitchen to try to get to a garbage can...

(Stop reading here if you're squeamish--Skip the gross stuff...)

I made it about six feet from the garbage can when my mouth opened and a firehose blast of blood and water spewed forth. I mean, it got all over the place. I was completely dizzy immediately afterwards, and reeled back into the dining room where I found a chair and plopped down in exhaustion.

Then it got fuzzy. The friend came to see what happened, went into "emergency mode", secured someone else's car, and off to the emergency room we went. Of course, once there, the nurses (or whoever) wanted to do the whole triage thing and told me I needed to go over and stand in line, etc. I couldn't keep standing so I sat down in a wheel chair and told my friend Scott to stand in line for me. Well, he's a big dude (like 6'5") and he looks a lot like Kiefer Sutherland did in "Lost Boys." And he leaned over the counter and, well, nicely (and firmly) explained in no uncertain terms to them what had just happened at the frat house and that I did not have time to be waiting for triage. Apparently that got the message through to them. The next I remember I was flying down a hallway in this wheelchair with the nurse pushing the chair saying "We're losing him!" and the nurse running backwards in front of me smacking me in the face trying to keep me conscious.

Then there was another period where I don't remember much. At one point the doctor came in and took my blood pressure when I was lying down and it was actually close to normal (I'd say somewhere like 110 over 70 maybe?). They sat me up and it went down a bunch. Then they stood me up. And I started blacking out "60 over 30! Lay him back down! Lay him back down!"

As it turns out, someone my size is supposed to have 15 "units" of blood in my body at any given time. I asked them if "units" meant "quarts" and they seemed to make it sound like it wasn't the same thing (I still don't understand but never bothered to look into it). At any rate, someone my size needs at least 7 of those to be live. I had lost "almost" 8 units. So I was right there on the bubble between not-real-good and very-very-bad. Fortunately I was way too out of it to be scared.

So I had a few transfusions and spend a day or two in intesive care. And again, all of this was a blur.

The gastroenterologist came to meet with me, and said that he wanted to probe my stomach to see what the hell the problem was. Up until this time I had not been able to drink or eat anything. All I got were ice chips (they were afraid that a swallowing motion, even if just water, would be potentially problematic...). I had an i.v., of course, so I was getting fluids that way. Anyway, he explained that they were going to snake a tube down my throat that had a camera on the end of it. I told him that I retch easily, and that I wasn't sure that would go too well. He explained that they'd put a mouthpiece in so I couldn't bite through the probe cable, and that while the procedure wouldn't be pleasant, they'd give me a "haze" drug that would allow me to be conscious during the procedure but afterwards I wouldn't remember a thing.


That was the most horrific thing that I have ever experienced, and I'd consider falling on a sword before having it done again. And I remember every single awful minute of it.

As expected, I retched the entire time. Just dry heaves at first, and then I managed to start bleeding again in my stomach. And then there was just blood everywhere. Oh my goodness it was awful. Finally he said "he just went into shock" and the tube came out and they wheeled me away from the big monitors. I was covered. He was covered. All over the floor. More transfusions. More intensive care. More not really remembering much.

It was explained to me that I had suffered a Mallory-Weiss tear in my esophagus. Apparently the whole in my diaphragm that allows food to go through is bigger than it should be, and sometimes when I retch my esphogus actually moves up through that hole and rubs against the muscle (or something like that) and in doing so I tore a small hole--think 1 mm wide slit. And in moments I had bled 8 "units" of blood through that hole.

The best part was that they just wanted me to watch what I ate and hope that it would stay closed and that it would heal over completely.

I don't know how long I was in the hospital.

But a few days later I felt that swelling in my stomach, and back to the hospital we went. No gross stuff this time, but I knew it had bled some, and they agreed with me. Dr. Lansford told me that I had just gotten "strike two." If I came back to the hospital they were going to have to operate.

Fortunately that was the end of that. That was 15 or so years ago.

So Friday my stomach started to hurt. Not gas. Not flu. Not heartburn. Not anything like that. My stomach lining hurts. I'm very in tune with my gut, and something just isn't right.

I'm not panicking yet. It feels like it is getting slightly better each day. It's probably "gastritis." Either way, one can imagine that I'm more than slightly concerned about having a "stomach ache." I told the redhead that if I'm not better by the end of the day Thursday I'll call and go see the doctor on Friday. Ho hum...

Posted: Monday, March 06, 2006, 11:02 pm
Mood: Okay | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Random Morning Thoughts

I think that without a doubt we have now proven that no matter how good things are, I'll find something to worry about. And nothing in specific right now, of course, but something still isn't quite right at the moment...

Anyway. First random thought: When I was in high school (and back "home" for summers during college) we used to listen to a radio morning show hosted by a guy named Jonathon Brandmeier on "The Loop" (WLUP in Chicago, 97.9 FM). It was, and is, the only talk radio show of which I have ever considered myself a "fan." The Loop was bought out by some big company at one point and he was moved to L.A., but now they are under new ownership again and Johnny B. is back on the air in Chicago.

Yet we are stuck with a couple of goons named Bob and Tom. On not one, but two local radio stations. A couple of dirty old men who (in my opinion) resort to not much more than poop jokes and, well, dirty old men comments. I have never found them the least bit funny.

It's too bad we can't get Johnny B. down here in the boonies. (This is starting to read like a "Sidewalk Flashes"--and none of you non-Villa-Groveians will get that, but the redhead might think it is funny---we have a local weekly newspaper here in town and the editor-in-chief/publisher/owner has his own weekly column where he pretty much just rambles on about, well, nothing...).

Johnny B.--yeah, baby.

Second random thought.... It's going to be interesting switching back to a later work schedule. Right now I'm "all woke up" with no place to go. The redhead has to be at work at 8:00 now, which means I have retaken control of get-kids-to-school duties, which also means that my morning work start time has shifted from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30+ a.m. Which isn't a big deal, of course, but it takes some getting used to.

Speaking of the redhead... She loves her new job. I think she's had a couple of instances of being slightly overwhelmed, but she loves the challenge and really enjoys the people she works for as well as her new surroundings. I brought lunch to her yesterday and we ate in the atrium of the building she works in. Quite a neat place--I'm half-jealous. They've acquired a cubicle for her that is outside of the offices of the two head cheeses, so now she won't be in the large interior room where they are going to put all of the programmers that they are hiring.

I'm glad, first and foremost, that she's happy. And I'm glad that she has a job that will utilize her intelligence. She deserves this.

And I suppose I should point out that this also takes a rather large burden off of my shoulders. I no longer have to worry about whether or not Dubya will slash funding for RMI or PCI or whatever the heck it is that the funding that I'm paid from comes out of. I no longer have to bank on the assurances of my bosses that "no matter what happens" they'll always find funding for me. And I believe them completely, of course. As much as someone that is as neurotic as I am believes anything, I guess.

Anyway. Yay for the redhead.

Third random thought.... Gosh. I was pretty sure I had a third thought. Maybe not.

Oh, but I do have before and after pictures of my network "closet" at home....

And after a little work....

It's slightly more organized. And I also installed a 120 mm fan in the top of the new "case" that blows down to keep things nicely ventilated (I suspect my old router died because it overheated--my fault for placing a small switch right on top of its upper vent holes...

Anyway. Too early to accomplish much else this morning. Too late to go back to bed. I guess I'll go figure out something to make for the kids for breakfast...

Posted: Wednesday, March 01, 2006, 12:25 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

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