This collection of entries is from September 2006.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Terror in a small town
Our buddy John (the guy that retired a few months ago) lives in a small town in Wisconsin called LaValle.
6½ miles to the southwest, is a small town called Cazenovia that we've driven through a few times, even when we were up there back in July.
Just over the wires is a story about a kid (15 years old) that shot and killed his High School Principal today, the day of their Homecoming.
Update: We found out after we got up here that another kid from the high school was killed in a car wreck 15 minutes before the shooting. The two things weren't related - this kid was running from a police traffic stop, lot control of his vehicle, ran into a ditch and flipped the car a few times. His passenger wasn't hurt - he was wearing a seatbelt, the driver wasn't.
This is going to send small town, rural America into a turmoil up there... and we're on our way up tonight...
Thursday, September 28, 2006
It keeps going and going and going..
In 2004, two little robot "carts" landed on Mars almost three years ago. The somehow managed to survive landing.. .and then they were supposed to last 30 to 90 days. That's all the project was funded for, that's all that the engineers thought the little guys would last out there.
Almost three years later, on Sol 951 (a Martian Day is called a Sol), the rover "Opportunity" has reached Victoria Crater.
"And to show how genuinely surprised scientists are at the long duration of the rovers, scientists recently had to solve a problem similar to the "Y2K" crisis of 1999-2000. In the latest revision of software sent to the rovers, programmers had to add a fourth digit to the assignment of tasks for each Mars day. When the rovers were designed, no one could imagine they would still be thriving more than 999 sols, or Mars days."
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Adding Insult to Injury
Less than 24 hours after being eliminated from play-off contention, guess what I got in a DHL Express packet today?
My playoff tickets.
Stand-up? Not really
I'm still having trouble with what we've been calling "leg spasms". They usually get worse as the day progresses. Sometimes they're bad from the morning on. My neurologist decided that I should have 2 more MRI's (it was only going to be one, but I'm starting to get tingling in my hands - both of them - so now it's two).
But... she decided to have a different look, and sent me for a Stand-Up MRI at a facility in Deerfield.
Well, it wasn't stand-up - it's actually recumbent.
That's not good - Problem #1: sitting aggravates the leg twitches.
The machine was huge, HUGE! it sits on a 3-foot thick concrete slab under the building. The magnets are to each side of the device, so you walk into it and sit down.
Problem #2? My shoulders are wider than the sitting area, so I have to roll them forward to fit.
I was so uncomfortable. This was so much worse than the others I had... It's hard to attempt to sit still when you don't have control of your body.
Problem #3? Because I twitched so much, some of the scans had to be re-done, and the two hour estimate suddenly became three.
Problem #4? Because of the several twitches, there *is* movement in the scans. Not good.
Any positive things? Well, the machine was significantly quieter than the other GE lay-down types. On the far wall that you face while sitting in the machine is a large plasma TV. You have the option of watching movies while being scanned! But, instead, the tech was watching The Simpsons on the local Fox affiliate, so that's what I watched (Simpsons, Malcom in the Middle, Simpsons, Seinfeld...House)
It is extremely weird sitting in an MRI and watching House on TV. VERY weird.
Problem #5 - I have an extremely sore shoulder/upper right arm. I can barely move my arm... something about being wedged in this thing for three hours... wasn't great.
Hope the scans are good and show something.
Monday, September 25, 2006
The White Sox played Cleveland tonight - Lost 14-1.
The team was officially eliminated from the playoffs.
I knew it was coming... it doesn't diminish the hurt that I feel about a team that played so far under their potential.
No ALDS. No ALCS. No World Series.
Crap... I enjoyed them so much last year.. I got used to them.
As far as I am concerned, he season is over. They are dead to me now.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
White Sox 12 - Mariners 7
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Well, her ewe were.
The last home game of the season.. this God awful season...
That makes it Fan Appreciation Day. Whoopee. I'm not feeling so appreciated.
So.. unlike the past few days... the clouds parted before the game.. replaced by cloudless blue sky.
5 homreuns, 2 by Paul Konerko, includes a Grand Slam by Juan Uribe... and still with a cushion like that, the relievers almost gave up the game.
But.. it's over. No postseason. And... talking to our friends and fans around us, there is almost a sense of physical hurt, Maybe it's withdrawal pains... we had a taste of postseason... and it tasted so good, we wanted more.. and it was snatched away from us by poor play.
My season is over... that time in my lfe each year that excites me and somewhow makes me whole. I have to wait for Aoril 2, 2007 now.
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Saturday, September 23, 2006
White Sox 11 - Mariners 7
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Thought we dodged the bullet with the rain yesterday...
The damn team was losing 7-2.. it started pouring in the top of the 6th (figures.. the game was official at that point). The sky opened-up... but the umpires took their damn time before they ground crew came out. The rain came down SO hard, that it started to puddle to the left of 1st base. It was bad. Then the crew pulled the tarp onto the field crooked, exposing the top of the diamond between 1st & 2nd. The tarp filled with rain and became too heavy to move. The actual rain part of the delay was under an hour.
It took 45 minutes alone, after the tarp was pulled, to fix the infield dirt, the mound, and around the plate.. the used something like a heavy roller pulled by a John Deer to "squeegee" the puddles in the dirt. Every time they threw an entire bag of the drying compound, it just soaked up the water and was wet again.
It was terrible. it was dangerous.
But... Carol and I had a prior commitment (dinner at B&B for their 25th anniversary), so we actually (gasp!) left the game just as the Sox were taking the field...
So we didn't see the team actually come back from a 7-2 deficit to WIN THE GAME 11-7.
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Friday, September 22, 2006
What the hell was that?
The tornado sirens went off, which is startling because they're about a block away, so they're pretty friggin' loud.
Jeez did it rain.. I think I heard it was up to 2" an hour. Schaumburg police are reporting rotation in the clouds (hence, the reason for the sirens). Man... hardly any wind... but jeez did it come down...
There's no debris anywhere... just rivers of water rushing down the streets. I have standing water on my lawn.
This was bad... I really feel like we dodged a bullet.
And to top it all off - we're just hours away from the Autumnal Equinox - the beginning of Fall...
Homes have more TVs than people
OK. Example: Our house:
Number of Occupants - 2 (well, 2 human, 2 rabbit)
Number of TV's: 4
Researchers: Homes have more TVs than people
Thursday, September 21, 2006
What the hell is this?
Just got home from Midway Airport... ready to go to sleep...
We've just returned from Las Vegas where we've been for a couple of days...
We left, and the temperatures were going to be in the low 90's yesterday.
We got off the plane, and the temperatures are almost in the high 40's.
SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM - not ready for the... "absence"... of summer...
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Happy Birthday, Jackson
Today, we celebrated Jackson's 1st birthday (it's actually Monday) with friends of Diane's and Melinda's as well as family at their house.
It was actually a great time. Jackson was so well behaved.. he just kept getting passed around from person to person and he was fine with that. Had a small issue with his dinner (OK, he threw up a little bit..) but he was great.
He only fidgeted hen they put his Happy Birthday paper hat on... he didn't like it, but he wore his cowboy hat most of the day (it was a cowboy-themed party). And he didn't like his Smash Cake (now, this whole concept was new to me.. having a "Smash Cake", which is just a very small cake, just for the birthday kid, so they can just smash the cake with their hands and smear their face in the frosting). It was his first taste of sugar... and he didn't know what to make of it.
He was great with the gifts as well... as a typical kid, fixating on a few items.. as well as boxes.
Fortunately, the party didn't go long into the night, because we had to take mom home, and then drive ourselves home... so we can finish packing, and get up at 4am.. so that we can shower, dress, finish the last packing, drive ti B&B's, pick them up, and drive to Midway Airport...
...because we're flying to Las Vegas for a few days for vacation!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Are you there?
There's a few stories that have popped-up in the last month, that I find disturbing, unsettling... perhaps even scary... and they both deal with PVS - Persistent Vegetative State
Slate magazine ran an article - The Unspeakable - Buried alive in your own skull - about a UK woman, who had a car accident, is non-responsive, and is diagnosed as PVS. There is no response to verbal questions. Or is there?
Guardian - Persistent vegetative state Is not irreversible
Sunday, September 10, 2006
White Sox 2 - Indians 5
Saturday, September 09, 2006
White Sox 10 - Indians 8
Friday, September 08, 2006
To Boldly Go... 40 Years Ago
Where were you 40 years ago tonight?
Sitting in front of your TV?
Star Trek premiered on NBC 40 years ago tonight, on September 8, 1966
Take a moment and stop to think... How many thing has Star Trek, its 4 spin-off television programs, its 10 motion pictures, its thousands of novels and millions of fans have affected every day life... whether you have noticed or not... whether you liked it or not.
Monday, September 04, 2006
A popular day for birthdays for us!
Happy Birthday to my sister Diane!
Happy Birhday to my buddy Barry!
I woke up a little early...
and, oh my god... what a shocking, sad story all over the news.
'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin dead
Now, I have always had a feeling - one that I bet you shared as well - that Steve's life wouldn't be long... and that he would die, doing something he loved.
NEVER thought he would be killed by a stingray. As of 1996, only seventeen worldwide fatalities had been recorded due to stingrays - ever.
May he rest in peace, may Terri find comfort, and may his legacy live on.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Beers, dogs, and friends
Labor Day Weekend - the traditional end of summer.
Time to spend it with friends. Went to B&B's for the day. We were all going next door to Kenny & Pat's for a barbecue. Debbie came over. And then - before we went next door - Diane and Melinda brought Jackson over, so B&B could finally meet him before he turned one years old. Jackson was a big hit. It was a great visit. We went next door, sat outside in the backyard, I had a couple of beers (!) and we had some hotdogs from Falatic's Meat Market in Michigan.
Celebrate the "End of Summer"... a time that came and went too quickly.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Rabbit Rabbit? SCREW THAT TODAY...
This is where I usually post the "Rabbit, Rabbit" meme thing, along with "White Rabbit" or Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!.
DON'T HAVE ANY.
I have a back hoe sitting in the middle of my front yard.
I the middle of the Most Perfect Lawn I have ever had. In the 22 years we've been here, the lawn has never never never looked this good.
Now I have a back hoe as a lawn ornament.
I blogged about this once, but it's been happening every once in a while ever since.
Today, it pushed us over the edge. Anytime we took a shower, flushed a toilet.. the drain in the utility room backed-up, flooding the room. And this time, it just wasn't a little. Carol called the plumbers that we have use before, had them come out on an emergency.
We have a blockage. In the sewer line. It has to be dug-up and fixed (hence, the back hoe). We were lucky in the respect that - YAY! - they didn't have to tear-up the lawn. They tore-up our landscaping that my sister Diane slaved over. So now... the plumbers got enough of the work done so that we could use water in the house. Emergency Call fee? $850. But they have to come back Tuesday to do the rest of the work.
The back hoe is staying on my lawn until Tuesday. Burning out the lawn.
The cost of the whole sewer replacement? Just under $7,000!
Then I got a weird call at work yesterday just before I was leaving. A doctor's office called, telling me that the doctor needed see today.
I found out that this is the doctor that reviewed the results of my sleep study. And I was upset that - without knowing anything - that this doctor wanted to see me that quickly.
So, I went to the doctors. What a great facility. Big. What a great staff. Here's a few tidbits from the sleep study: I have significant sleep apnea - 90 events an hour. My blood oxygen level - which should normally be in the 90% range, drops and stays in the 70% range overnight. I am oxygen starved, screwing up my brain and organs. I need a CPAP machine, I need it now, and I need to get this under control and breathe normally overnight. The doctor and nurses all seamed really concerned when they saw the results.
I now have a prescription for Flonase and a loaner CPAP machine (until I get clearance from the insurance company and I'll get my own). I have to start using it right away with the mask tat I have from the sleep study.
And probably use this every night for the rest of my life.
The third thing that happened today, and perhaps the saddest, is about Diane's beagle Chelsea. All of us love this dog. But she's 12 years old, and has had a major problem develop that required Diane to take her in to the Vet...
Chelsea has some form of a very aggressive cancer... and the vet gives her about 6-8 weeks. If she got chemo, she would probably have 6-8 months.
This is going to devastating to a lot of us... Chelsea has been a major part of our family and has a place deep in our hearts.
So, screw any lucky "Rabbit, Rabbit" crap.
Welcome to September.