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This is an archive collection of entries from  my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.

This collection of entries is from February 2002.

January 2002 MAIN BLOG March 2002 Next

Thursday, February 28, 2002


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Great dialog from tonight's CSI:

The scene takes place in the bowels of an ice rink, where our two characters have entered and are staring with their mouths agape as they gaze on a bright, shiny machine...)
Gil Grissom: There are three things in life that people like to stare at - a rippling stream, a fire in a fireplace, and a Zamboni going 'round and 'round.
Sara Sidel: Charlie Brown. I love a Zamboni.
Grissom: We all do.

posted at 09:15 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Survivor Marquesas - Episode 1

Survivor Marquesas
"Back to the Beach"
Ah, the sound of a trumpeting conch shell, the snuffing of a flame... Survivor Marquesas is back on the air. The location looks great. And no food, water or fire being provided - this should be good. First off the island - Peter Harkey a yoga practicing Bowling Center Owner (not a Bowling Alley Owner - they're lanes not alleys... oh and they're channels, not gutters... hey 20 years at the Corporate Headquarters for Brunswick Corporation and you get a few things drilled into you, you know?)

posted at 08:23 PM | Link | Survivor § |
Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Dad has his 6th radiation treatment today. The first symptom showed up - difficulty swallowing. Other than that, he's fine. We were called in to see Dr. Emami (it's Thursday, so he just camps-out in Radiation Therapy - that way he sees everyone as they go through. Well, Dad led the way in, followed by Mom, and I trailed behind. I heard the loud outburst of laughter coming from the tech area in therapy labs. Everyone is laughing their asses off. Mom just turns to me and says "I am so embarrassed." I didn't know what happened. Apparently, Dad hit Dr. Emami with his cane. Dad's like that - he tries to be a little "playful" with people outside the family - something that I think has rubbed-off on me - but he hit Dr. Emami in the head with his cane! On the plus-side, everything was very cheery and light after that!

Going to the hospital everyday is a trip. Other than the 3-4 hours out of my absolutely boring, unemployed day, you just never know what you see or what you hear. Today was "spill" day - sort of a theme. There's a drip coffee pot and bottled water in the waiting room for Radiation Therapy. There was a guy in a wheel chair, next to the receptionist, his wife sitting on a chair near him, reading the paper. The guy asks the receptionist if she made the coffee (she did) and starts ripping into her about how bad the coffee is. I mean, rip into her. First off, the damn coffee is FREE - he didn't have to take it. Second, as his wife finally told him, it's probably been sitting there all morning and no one took any so it's been just bubbling there all day, getting stronger. Then she admonishes him by reminding him that he used to do that at home. He shuts-up. A minute or so passes and you hear a "clup" - the sound of styrofoam cup hitting industrial carpet - he dropped his coffee - everywhere. And of course, doesn't clean up. Spill one. On the way back to the parking garage I see the aftermath of spill two - a clear yellow substance outside a GI testing lab - and I don't want to know what it was. Third spill - I hope it was a spill - was in the garage, something red and bubbly and not very good smelling... I felt like I had to watch everywhere I walked today...

posted at 04:28 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Poll info

The Muslim poll that pissed me off was also reported at

posted at 09:55 PM | Link | Current Events § |
Muslims, mismanagement, and Grammy's

Read USA Today this morning and I got pissed. Right there, front page, an article that says that only 18% of those polled in six Islamic countries say they believe Arabs carried out the attacks, even though all 19 guys involved in the hijackings and crashes were Arab men. 61% say Arabs were not responsible. HUH? Is this because the local news reporting is a little skewed in these countries?

Then I pick up today's Chicago Tribune only to see a big article on the front of the business section about my old company - marchFIRST, stemming from the bankruptcy trustee filing court papers saying "top officials directed or approved a pattern of wasteful dealings that last year drove the company into bankruptcy". Sounds all too familiar, and, even though none of this was surprising to me, it's the first time that I've actually seen it in print.

Watching the Grammy's tonight - still a bit boring. It's a long awards show that spans so many different areas of music that it's hard to get excited about. And I'm not sure how to make it better.

posted at 09:16 PM | Link | Current Events § |

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Well, "they" were wrong - just a dusting of snow today. Cold as hell, though. Dad's radiation treatment went quicker today - 45 minutes. Actually responded to a job posting on HotJobs today - first one I've seen in about a month. We need money - quickly. This sucks.

posted at 08:35 PM | Link | Family § |

Monday, February 25, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

It was 61° yesterday. This is Chicago. This is February. And now, Mother Nature is going to even things out a bit. Temps will be in the 20's tomorrow and "they" (you know, the mysterious weathermen and associated agencies) are estimating 3"-6" of snow.

Today was Dad's third radiation treatment. Today, it wasn't 30 minutes long from getting the hospital and leaving. Today was an hour and a half. They had a ton of patients to get through and it just backed-up. They had two patients that needed radiation treatment every six hours. Hey - where do I have to go? Where do I have to be? I put my unemployment check in the bank today - and saw that the bank balance after the deposit was the check amount - ouch! I need this economy to turn around quick. I'm going nuts.

posted at 10:47 PM | Link | Family § |

Sunday, February 24, 2002

SLC Day 17

Salt Lake 2002
Olympic Update...

IT'S OVER... the closing ceremonies just wrapped, and I'm still feeling melancholy about it. I know I don't participate, but I'm just sad to see it end. Again I found myself yelling at the TV to get the NBC commentators to STFU! I want to watch and listen to the ceremonies. (I think we lost the whole concept of the dinosaurs because of the talking and commercials.) I'm also still trying to figure out who the hell invited Christina Aguilera to sing at the ceremonies... Seeing fireworks all over the Wasatch valley was pretty cool, and I hope that all the neon paint that they sprayed all over the ice at the arena isn't permanent - I wouldn't want to wear a leather coat (like Team USA) only to get paint all over it!

Last medal update - nothing in Women's 30 km Cross Country. Canada just outplayed USA in Hockey, beating us 5-2. They get the Gold, we get the Silver. Could have been because the ice guys at the E Center were Canadian and before the Olympics they burried a Cannadian coin at center ice. I don't know, maybe we should protest...

Total Medals for the US 34!!!. (Germany was in 1st with 35). Very cool.

One of these years I gotta make it to an Olympics...

posted at 10:14 PM | Link | Olympics § |

Saturday, February 23, 2002

SLC Day 16

Salt Lake 2002
Olympic Update...

The 46-year drought of no medals in bobsledding is over for the US after taking both Silver and Bronze in Four Man Bobsled! Russia won the Bronze medal in Ice Hockey after beating Belarus 7-2. Of course, Russia complained yesterday about the refereeing in yesterday's game against the US and now the International Ice Hockey Federation is pissed-off about the comments that were made by the Russians. Great... let's keep stirring that pot...

Hmmm... somewhere, there's a South Korean feeling like justice was served (though a bt late)... Apolo Anton Ohno was disqualified for a collision with Japanese skater Satoru Terao on the next-to-last turn in a preliminary heat in the Men's Short Track 500m Speed Skating. Ohno had another chance for a medal in the Men's Short Track 5000m Relay, but Rusty Smith clipped a lane marker and fell with 26 laps to go and Team USA finished 4th. We didn't qualify in Ladies 1000m Short Track Speed Skating. Nothing in Ladies 5000m Speed Skating. And if it's Cross-Country skiing, you know that we didn't win anything in Men's 50 km Cross-Country Skiing. Nothing in Men's Slalom (Bode Miller fell twice and finished 25th).

posted at 11:13 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Wolves 3 - Grizzlies 0

Chicago Wolves Utah Grizzlies Goaltender Norm Maracle Bobblehead Doll
Went to the Chicago Wolves game tonight against the Utah Grizzlies. Huge crowd - 15,525. Don't really know why. I'm finding it hard to believe that the draw was the Norm Maracle Bobblehead Doll that was tonight's giveaway. We invited Janie & Gary (our White Sox buds) for their first Wolves game. I think they enjoyed it - after all, we won 3-0. Maracle was in net (probably because of the Bobblehead promotion) and he came through with a shutout. But you have to feel for the Grizzlies, though. This is their 16th game of their Road Trip. You see, they've been on the road for 32 days. They got "kicked-out" of their home arena - because it's the E Center and it's been occupied - it's the 2002 Winter Olympic Games Hockey venue! Things were "chippy" again tonight. The road trip has to be getting to them by now. Their first home game is Thursday February 28. (Their last home game was Saturday January 19.)

posted at 10:07 PM | Link | Wolves § |
Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park

Carol going into Gate 3 at Comiskey Park Main entrance at Gate 3 to the Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park Welcome sign for the Open House Main Auditorium at the Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park The main tunnel under the stands at Comiskey Park Players have locker rooms, Umpires have dressing rooms... Row of lockers in White Sox clubhouse Ray Durham's locker Odd picture taped-up in Ray Durham's locker Rules for everything - MLB Uniform Policy hanging in White Sox Clubhouse Sign on door for access to White Sox dugout MLB rules for dugout access A view of the stands from field level at Comiskey Park The playing field at Comiskey Park Construction of the new Batter's Eye in center field at Comiskey Park
Carol and I drove to Comiskey Park this morning to go to a White Sox Season Ticket Holder Open House. It was really to show off two things - the new "Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park" and one of the new amenities under construction at the park. The new center is actually inside Gate 3 at the park. They did a really nice job of it. There's a couple of different sized conference rooms and a 135 seat auditorium. The whole place can be leased for business meetings and is also going to be used for a joint partnership with the Chicago Public Schools' After School Matters program. Really nice. There's some unmarked double doors that open into the main access tunnel beneath the stands. The Conference Centers doors were right across the tunnel from the Visitor Clubhouse entrance. They had setup a series of picnic tables and had free hotdogs and soda. They also had some souvenir stands setup for some last minute purchases (we passed - nothing seemed to interest us). The White Sox Clubhouse was open, and they had access to the field. When we went outside, we were able to see one of the new upgrades to the park - the entire "batter's eye" section in the center field stands was ripped-out and was being rebuilt. It's now going to have plants and a green background (Green? Green? This is great! It's part of my campaign to get Comiskey to get rid of everything blue in the place and replace it with green! The place would look a lot more like a ballpark than a swimming pool!) On top, they'll have a see-though screen around a new "plaza" area. We couldn't see the other things going on - renovation of the main concouse, renovation of the Club Level concourse (but the seats were removed from club level - I thought I had heard that they were going to be upholstered). The last thing was replacing the backstop with a vertical screen. They didn't even start that. I love going to Comiskey for these things and see everything behind the scenes. I love being on the field (Roger Bossard the head greenskeeper is a god) and it's great seeing the field green in the middle of February.

posted at 01:17 PM | Link | White Sox § |
Chuck Jones

Damn... I am really upset about this... one of the guys that really molded my childhood (and even significantly twisted my adulthood) died - Chuck Jones. I mean, Rabbit of Seville is a classic, the great Rabbit Seasoning, the uncut version of Bully for Bugs ("What a gulla-bull! What a nin-cow-poop!"), my favorite Daffy Duck - Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century and Robin Hood Daffy ("Yikes! and Away!"). Michigan J. Frog singing "Hello My Baby" in One Froggy Evening. I can still hear "Kill the Wabbit! Kill the Wabbit! Kill the Wabbit!" from What's Opera, Doc? And the Geisel-interpreted visualss of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Man, Chuck, I have a hole in my heart from your passing, but your works will always live on...

posted at 09:21 AM | Link | Entertainment § |

Friday, February 22, 2002

SLC Day 15

Salt Lake 2002
Olympic Update...
OK, first off, the Russians are still pissed and think the games are pretty nearly corrupt with judging problems. They were still threatening on leaving the games when President Putin finally had to say no, we are not leaving. Makes me think that emotions are a bit high in Salt Lake. Russia has always been a powerhouse in the Olympics, and maybe the 14 medals (5 Gold) isn't a good showing, and gee, their athletes' performances couldn't be the problem - oh, no... it must be a conspiracy against them... so let's file a protest against the judging in Women's Figure Skating... Viktor Mamotov, the head of the Russian delegation in Salt Lake City, said, "We filed the protest last night because we think the judging was biased. Canadian pairs skaters were awarded their gold medals. Now that subjective judging harmed us, we want the same for Slutskaya." As Jay Leno would say - "Shaaddduuupppp!". The ISU denied the protest.

USA Men's Hockey beat (barely) Russia 3-2 to advance to the Gold Medal round. USA was leading 3-0 after 2 periods when Russia scored just 11 seconds into the 3rd and then again just 3:10 later. USA looked absolutely stunned, like they didn't know who was on the ice - like it was a totally different team they were playing against. They looked bad, like they were struggling. They looked so good during the first two periods. Man, I wonder if this is going to piss off the Russians some more... All of this on the 22nd Anniversary (to the day) of Team USA beating Russia in Lake Placid in the "Miracle on Ice"...

Things are looking pretty good for the USA in Four Man Bobsled (sorry, I just can't get myself to say bobsleigh) after two runs - they're in First with two more runs tomorrow.

The rest, well, not so good. Nothing in Ladies Giant Slalom. Nothing in the Men's Nordic Combined Sprint 7.5km. Nothing in Men's 10,000m Speed Skating, though I did see somebody (forgot who) who forgot where they were and just changed lanes because he thought he forgot to do it, then realized that, no, he wasn't supposed to be in the lane with the other guy so he changed back. Weird. Jochem Uytdehaage of the Netherlands set a Olympic and World record with 12:58.92 - the first skater to break the 13-minute "barrier". And Canada lost to Norway 6-5 in an upset in the finals for Men's Curling.

This evening was a non-medal event - the Skating Exhibition with all of the winners. Nice to see everybody just skating for the hell of it without the pressure of competing.

When watching this, you realize that the Olympics are finally winding down.

posted at 10:31 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Carol & I didn't get to sleep until after 1 o'clock and we just don't know why we were up and about at that hour. Of course, that produced absolutely rotten sleep. Dad's second radiation treatment went smoother and quicker - this time we were in & out in under 30 minutes, which is a good thing since I didn't have to pay parking for under 30 minutes! Drove back through River Forest instead of Oak Park - oh, man I love the properties there! After I got my parents home, Dad & I went to get air for his front right tire which was in bad shape. The scary thing - he drove. He turns 88 next month. I only saw my life flash before my eyes just once in the 15 minutes we were out. Whew.

posted at 03:23 PM | Link | Family § |

Thursday, February 21, 2002

SLC Day 14

Salt Lake 2002
Olympic Update...
Still mourning the fact that Skeleton was only one day. It just looks so cool... same for Jimmy Shea's helmet...

Crazy news day, though. The Russians are threatening to pull out of the Olympics and possibly the 2004 Athens Summer due to judging improprieties (the Pairs Figure Skating debacle) as well as in protest over Cross Country Skier Larissa Lazutina being disqualified for having high levels of performance-boosting hemoglobin. The team leader said “This is a scandal. They are specifically hunting out Russian sportsmen”. Right after the Russian Press Conference, South Korea announced it is threatening pulling out of the Olympics and possibly the 2004 Athens Summer Games because of the DQ to their skater Kim Dong-Sung last night in favor of "the crowd favorite" Apolo Ohno. They are threatening to sue the Australian judge in US court and have hired a Salt lake City law firm. (It's the same Australian judge from Ohno's other race that he won Silver after the big wipe-out and the Australian skater breezes to Gold.) Jeez.

The big deal of the Night - Ladies Free Skating. Oh, man. Sarah Hughes skated her ass off tonight! I thought she was great! Fell into first place with her skate! Sasha Cohen - well, not so good - she fell. Then Michelle Kwan - wow, she fell, too, but never gave up. I'm looking at the board - it's Hughes-Kwan-Cohen on the board when Russia's Irina Slutskaya comes out to skate. Wasn't clean, but no falls and maybe not as technically difficult as the others. Oh, man. This is actually suspenseful! Her marks go up - they look high. Then when the Ordinals come up they cut to the locker room to see a screaming Sarah Hughes and her coach! So the final is Hughes/Gold-Slutskaya/Silver-Kwan/Bronze! Cohen finished fourth. Boy, I wonder if this is going to piss-off the Russians some more. Slutskaya looks pissed. Michaelle looks like she wants to cry. Bad. Or maybe hide somewhere. Sarah just looked so damn happy in the medal ceremony! Slutskaya didn't look as pissed on the stand - she actually looked happy.

Bode Miller won his second Silver Medal, this time in Men's Giant Slalom (he was 7th after his first run). He's the first USA man to medal in Giant Slalom.

We finished 13th (LAST) in Women's Cross-Country 4x5 km Relay. The Women's Curling team lost to Canada 9-5 in the Bronze Medal Game. No medal. Bummer - I was hoping that USA would get something in Curling. Great Britain won in an upset. The Women's Hockey team Lost to Canada 3-2 in the Gold Medal Game, breaking a 35-game winning streak. (Sweden beat Finland 2-1 in the Bronze Medal Game.) I thought Team USA looked pressured during the game. Things were looking a little chippy and they were just all over the ice - I'm not sure how much under control they were.

posted at 10:45 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Well, I can see that this will start getting old very fast. Took Dad for his first radiation treatment. Just another 30-some to go. I asked Dr. Emami something we've never talked about - how far "down" does Dad's tumor go? He showed me a diagram that he produced for the radiology computer showing the radiation areas. It shows the tumor in his throat which looks pretty substantial, and must be about 3cm tall. The thing that got me was that there are 2 tumors down in the lungs that are being radiated as well. I didn't expect it. Well, yes I did - after I saw how dad was drawn on with blue markers by Jack and Leela yesterday. I wasn't ready for this. I'm just stunned. I don't know what I should read into this. So maybe this time I'm spending with Dad driving him back and forth isn't so bad after all.

The world has turned upside down this afternoon. First I hear that kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearlis dead - at least he looks that way on a videotape that the US has. And I'm sorry, but I don't trust the Pakistani police to find everybody involved. I saw a show on DirecTV the other day, I think it was on the WorldLink channel, called "Karachi Kops". Let's just say it wasn't as good as Fox's "Cops" and it sure was suspiciously edited. I don't trust these guys.

Then I hear that the US Olympic Committee has turned over all of fthe evidence they have to the FBI on death threats against Apolo Anton Ohno. It started after his first race, and after the disqualification of Kim Dong-Sung last night, the death threats apparently really escalated. Jeez. Oh, and there's increased security around the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia because of a possible attack. It's not over - a US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in about 120 miles northeast of Mindanao in the Philippines with 12 aboard. This is all part of the war against terrorism - this time it's Abu Sayyaf, an offshoot of al Qaeda. What the hell is going on today?!?!?

posted at 04:45 PM | Link | Family § |
One eye

Another bad night of sleep. Couldn't get to sleep, had trouble getting up. One eye is glued shut. Ew. Just don't feel good. Slight dusting of snow overnight, about 20 degrees colder than yesterday. Yuck.

posted at 08:29 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

SLC Day 13

Salt Lake 2002
Olympic Update...
SKELETON - gotta be my most favorite Olympic sport! Going headfirst at 80 mph down a bobsled track! Yes! That's my kind of sport! Now, it hasn't been in the Olympics since 1948, but this is primed for those X-Games types. In Men's Skeleton Jim Shea won Gold!. Very touching - he had his Grandfather's picture in his helmet (His grandfather was a Gold Medal Speed Skater and his dad was also in the Olympics, making this the first time in Olympic history where 3 generations in one family were Olympians). In Women's Skeleton Tristan Gale won Gold and Lea Ann Parsley won Silver! Great day for the sport and a great day for Sledding Medals for USA.. Too bad that's it for Skeleton - I want to see more!

In Ladies 1500m Speed Skating Jennifer Rodriquez won Bronze, and Chris Witty came in fourth. In the Men's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating, well, Apolo Anton Ohno won Gold - only after Kim Dong-Sung of South Korea - who crossed the line first - was disqualified for something called "crosstracking" and interfering with Ohno. Great - another skating controversy. In Men's Hockey Play-offs Quarterfinals, USA shutout Germany 5-0. The real upset in Hockey today was unbeaten Sweden being beaten by Belarus 4-3.

Today's downsides - nothing in Ladies Short Track 3000m Relay Finals, nothing in Ladies Slalom, nothing in Men's 4x7.5 km Biathlon Relay (but Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Noway won his 4th Gold Medal of the games) . In Women's Curling Semifinal USA loses to Switzerland 9-4. Nuts. But I think we might still be in a Bronze medal hunt.

posted at 10:31 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Loyola University Health System Jack & Leela get Dad locked-down and marked Patient form-fitting face masks to lock the head into position Dad getting test images made in the radiotherapy gear Computer displays for the radiotherapy gear and video monitors
It was 52° this morning. It's ugly outside, that drizzly pissy rain. Got the parents to Loyola Medical Center early for Dad's 1:30 appointment for a radiation therapy "practice" session. The Radiation Therapy waiting room is tiny - only a dozen chairs. I've always heard that these guys just crank through the patients - not today. Things are way backed up. This, needless to say, isn't "pleasing" to Dad, who, as he's been getting older, gets more and more impatient over these things. I walk around, just to walk around and get out of the room that seems to be getting more crowded and claustrophobic. While I'm out, there was a discussion with Mom & Dad and Dad wants me to go in with him - he thinks I can read his lips better than Mom (I can). I don't remember when he got called - it was a little before 2 o'clock - and we go in. Dad has to strip to the waist, so I've got to help him with his shirt & undershirt. He's so much smaller than me. It's the first time in my life that I'm doing something for him - for his care. He's got to take his glasses off and hearing aids. Then climb up onto a table that's is precision controlled to line him up correctly with the equipment. The techs - Jack & Lela - get a white, plastic mesh form-fitted mask (that obviously was molded sometime in the past, probably during his Simulation CatScan), but it over his head and lock him into the table. Then Jack puts a piece of plexiglass under Dad's feet with ropes tied to it. Dad has to hold onto the rope. I remember him telling us about it but we couldn't understand what the ropes were for. So I asked. The idea is for the patient to reach down and grab the ropes, but not to pull - this gets the shoulders low and out of the way of the radiation. Dad looks very uncomfortable locked into the table. There are laser lines all over the room to align his body correctly with the machine. The techs are taping things around him and are marking the mask and his chest in blue markers. The lights darken and we have to leave - everybody but dad, who's still on the table. Films are taken - three in all, all of which take time to load the films, rotate the radiation "thing" (I don't have a clue on what it's actually called - it's the thing that actually shoots the radiation). Jack doesn't think Dad is tolerating this well, and they get the last films but don't finish-off drawing on his chest. They get the face mask unlocked, and that's when dad tells me that he couldn't swallow with it on, so he was having some problems. He looks really weird - I had no idea that the mask was so tight against the skin - he's got marks from the mesh all over his face and head - he looks like a cheap alien from Star Trek or Babylon 5. We help him sit up - a bit too fast and he got dizzy & lightheaded. Then I help him get back together - hearing aids, glasses, and shirts. We finally shuffle out of the room, when a nurse - Dolores - says she wants to talk to us. I go get mom and Dolores talks to us about what to expect from the treatment. Basically, there should be no side effects except the sore throats and dad has no restrictions on his lifestyle - just keep doing what he's been doing. The side effects won't show up until about 10 treatments in. since radiation therapy is cumulative. Dolores gave mom some cream to help with skin care - keeping the skin moist. We look at the clock and it's 10 to 3. We're off. Tomorrow - the actual treatments start - every weekday for about six weeks.

posted at 04:16 PM | Link | Family § |
Groggy stress

This has got to be one of the worst nights of sleep that I've had in quite a while. The brain just wouldn't shut down. It was frustrating. I tried to think of other, peaceful things, and it still wouldn't detach. I think that my dad has a lot to do with it. I couldn't shake him from my mind. First, today is when we take him for his 3-D radiation therapy "rehearsal" or "practice" scan. Tomorrow he starts his radiation treatment - every weekday for 6 weeks. I wonder if I'm stressing about driving him every day? I don't think so. I think what's getting to me is something we found out about yesterday - my cousins Kathy & Jane are going to be vacationing in St. Maartin for Easter - the family is starting to fracture a little bit, now that Jane is going to get married in June - and I think it's bothering me (I know it's bothering my mom) that they're not "interested" in sharing the holidays with us. (Not interested is a bad term - it's more that we feel that they don't try to share, but it's a matter of too many family pieces each pulling in different directions). I think that now that dad has cancer, they're not interested in seeing him. I don't know. I think this just really got to me last night. I'm feeling really groggy, slight headache. And I think I'm rambling, it's like there's a stop that's been pulled and the brain just wants to dump...

posted at 08:38 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

SLC Day 12

Salt Lake 2002
Olympic Update...
Wow, not many negatives today, and a whole lot of cool things... On the negative side, we didn't even qualify for Men's Cross-Country Sprint or Women's Cross-Country Sprint. No action today for the Women's Curling team, who will play in a semifinal tomorrow against Switzerland. In Men's Freestyle Skiing Aerials Joe Pack got Silver. In Women's Ice Hockey Play-offs Semifinals, USA shutout Sweden 4-0. The Swedish goaltender Kim Martin is only 15 years old! (She turns 16 on Feb 28.) In Men's 1500m Speed Skating Derek Parra wins Gold (over Jochem Uytdehaage, who beat Derek at 5000m on Feb 9) and sets a new World and Olympic Record of 1:43.95! Now, Women's Bobsled (or Bobsleigh) was way cool tonight. First off, it's the first ever Women's Bobsled in the Olympics. Then you have a lot of "soap opera" going on with the USA team, specifically with Sled 1 (one of the NBC commentators said it's like a sausage - you know you like it, but you just don't want to know how it all came together!) Well, Sled 1 of Jean Racine and Gea Johnson (who had a bad hamstring) finished 5th. But, Sled 2 with Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers won Gold!!! That's the first Gold ever in Women's Bobsled, the first Bobsled gold (men or women) for USA since 1948, and Vonetta Flowers became the first African American ever to win a Gold Medal. How cool is that?!?!? Then to end the night, in Ladies Figure Skating Short Program, Michelle Kwan is in first, Sasha Cohen is in third, and Sarah Hughes is in fourth. All-in-all, not a bad day for USA.

posted at 10:16 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Marshmallow Bunny Survival Test

Well, it's getting to be Easter Time again... time to see how those marshmallow bunnies make it through Bunny Survival Tests. Of course, The Bunnies Strike Back so it's time to test those Evil Peeps.

posted at 09:02 PM | Link | Odd § |

Monday, February 18, 2002

Blogging articles

Wow... more Blogging addition to the stuff I found on February 5, there's Wired News, Business 2.0, the Far Eastern Economic Review, and David Weinberger of JOHO THE BLOG!, did an NPR commentary on blogging. Here's a RealAudio link to the piece. He mentioned Dan Gillmor's eJournal of

More: Former MTV VJ Adam Curry, A List Apart's How to Write a Better Weblog

posted at 10:31 PM | Link | Blogging § |
SLC Day 11

Salt Lake 2002
Time for an Olympic update... (I'm still trying to figure out how I started this and why I'm keeping it up... )

OK, well, let's see the not so good news... Team K120 Ski Jumping - 11th place. Women's Aerials Freestyle Skiing - 14th & 17th. Women's 4x7.5 km Relay Biathlon - 15th (LAST). The Men lost in curling against Great Britain 7-6 and are now in a three-way tie for 7th. Ice Dancing - 11th (Gee... the French took Gold... who would have thought...)

On the plus-side, the Women's curling team whipped Norway 11-2, who conceded after 7 ends. The women are now in Third Place going into the medal rounds. Men's Hockey beat Belarus 8-1 and advance to their medal rounds.

posted at 09:51 PM | Link | Olympics § |

Sunday, February 17, 2002

SLC Day 10

Salt Lake 2002
Just watched Jamie Sale and David Pelletier get their gold medals for Pairs Figure Skating tonight after Ice Dancing Original Dance Program (yech). I thought it was really cool that they walked out with Russia's Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. And I actually heard Anton say that this was "a good decision".

No medals in Ladies' Super-G, Two-Man Bobsleigh (when did it go from Bobsled to Bobsleigh?), Men's 4x10 km Relay Cross-Country Skiing, or Men's Nordic Combined Team 4x5 km Relay. Now in Women's Curling, USA beat Great Britain 6-5, and are now tied for Third. The men just lost to Finland 6-4, and are still tied for 7th.

In Ladies 1000m Speed Skating, Chris Witty set a new World Record (1:13.83) and won Gold and Jennifer Rodriguez won Bronze.

posted at 10:32 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Updates from yesterday

Salt Lake 2002
Ouch! The crash in the last turn of the Men 1000 m Short Track Speed Skating Finals last night was pretty cool (if you can call it that). It was won by the only guy still standing - Australian Steven Bradbury. Apolo Anton Ohno had the presence of mind to slide over the line to get a silver. Joey Cheek got a Bronze in the 1000m Long Track Speed Skating - Kip Carpenter came in 4th, Nick Pearson came in 6th, and Casey FitzRandolph came in 7th (that seems like a lot of people - there were 44 people participating - popular event?)

HEY! The Men's Hockey Team didn't win! OK, it was a tie with Russia - 2-2. If it wasn't for Brett Hull scoring with 4:30 left in the third, it would have been very disappointing. Russia outshot us 35-25. Didn't think it was going to turn into a tie.

posted at 08:28 AM | Link | Olympics § |

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Wolves on TV

Salt Lake 2002
Carol & I went over to Chelby & Damian's tonight for dinner and to watch the Chicago Wolves on CLTV. The Wolves lost to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 2-1, with all of the goals coming in the first period. Boy, this one was nasty. We were at the game when the Penguins came to town last month. It was ugly then and it was ugly tonight.

So, in-between periods or when there were breaks, we kept flipping over to Olympic hockey to watch Chicago Wolves goaltender Pasi Nurminen in net for Finland in the game against Belarus. Finland won 8-1. Not a lot of shots on goal - Nurminen stopped 20 of 21. The one goal was on a Belarus power play.

Why does it seem that I've been leaving friend's houses when the Short Track Speed Skating has been on this week? I wanted to see this, especially tonight when I heard the there was a four-person pile-up in the last lap in the Men 1000 m Finals. I'm watching curling now (The Men lost to Denmark 9-7 in an extra end (they're in 7th place now), and the women won against Russia 11-4 and won against Germany 7-6 and are now tied for 4th), and I don't think I can stay up and watch the Men's Hockey tonight...

posted at 10:48 PM | Link | Olympics § |
SLC Day 9

Salt Lake 2002
Daron Rahlves finished 8th and Thomas Vonn finished 9th in Men's Super-G. Jay Hakkinen finished 13th in Men's 12.5 km Pursuit Biathlon. USA beat Russia 11-4 in Women's Round Robin Session 8 of Curling. Team USA, consisting of Todd Lodwick, Matt Dayton, Johnny Spillane, and Bill Demong, finished third in the Team K90 of Nordic Combined. Team USA shutout Finland 5-0 in Women's Ice Hockey! Goalie Sara DeCosta now has two shutouts in a row.

posted at 02:05 PM | Link | Olympics § |

So, Carol & I trudge off to Costco for a little carnivorous shopping. You see, carol bought one of those vacu-sealer thingies off a TV infomercial the other day. With the way the job market is going, we're going to buy some meat, in bulk, and vacuseal it and freeze it - hoping that this will actually cut down some of out grocery bills. $170 later, we're home with tons of chicken thighs and breasts, pork fillets, beef fillets, and some great tasting chicken/turkey sun dried tomato sausages (I love going to Costco, right around lunch time, and then graze through all the food demos going on... that's how we got the sausage).

I hope this all works out. Actually, I'd rather have a job and earn some money and not have to worry about this.

posted at 01:13 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, February 15, 2002

Team USA Hockey

Salt Lake 2002
The NHL players are finally in Salt Lake and watching hockey has turned even more interesting - probably because USA shutout Finland 6-0!

posted at 11:46 PM | Link | Olympics § |
SLC Day 8

Salt Lake 2002
Silver (Mark Grimmette & Brian Martin) & Bronze (Chris Thorpe & Clay Ives) in Luge Doubles!

No medal in Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Snowboarding, but Chris Klug got a Bronze in Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Snowbaording. And Klug actually had a liver transplant about 19 months ago!!! That's just nuts for any athlete, to be able to survive and handle an severe illness and transplant surgery, but excel at your sport and then get a medal at the Olympics?!?!? (OK, I'm stretching my beliefs on Snowboarding being an Olympic sport here.)

Men's Curling whipped France 8-3 earlier today.

posted at 02:46 PM | Link | Olympics § |

Salt Lake 2002
Kevan Gosper IOC VP introduced everybody and moderated the news conference. Ottavio Cinquanta ISU President - they had information and evidence to have a meeting after skating last night. They debated the situation, and produced one decision, one deliberation. The decision - suspended the French figure skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne immediately because of enough evidence that was responsible of misconduct. The deliberation - basically, what to do - to have the result of the pairs of Canada and Russia made "equal". The deliberation information was turned over to the IOC. Jacques Rogge IOC President - there was an Executive Committee meeting this morning, and a Gold medal will be given to Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. In general, they just had very short announcements, and went quickly to a Q & A session. Of course, the majority of the questions were related to either about if there was going to be additional investigations (and apparently there will be) and if the IOC & ISU think the games, the sport, oh, just about everything is going to be or is damaged because of this.

The medals are supposed to be presented after the last figure skating event, which should be the Ladies Free Skate on February 21.

posted at 12:10 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Court of Arbitration for Sport

Salt Lake 2002
The IOC and ISU is having a news conference in the next few minutes - this is a big deal for the Olympics. The Canadians asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to require the nine judges who scored the competition to testify before an arbitration committee. My guess is that the IOC & ISU didn't exactly like being pressured like that. There's rumors flying around that the French judge has left Salt Lake City.

posted at 11:52 AM | Link | Olympics § |

Thursday, February 14, 2002

SLC Day 7

Salt Lake 2002
USA Women's Hockey!!! Whooo hooo!!!! They go on to the medal round (with Canada, Sweden, & Finland) after a 12-1 whipping of China! "Veteran" Cammi Granato (from Maywood, IL) had a hat trick. China had only 10 shots on goal (USA had 71!)

I feel like I dropped into "commentator mode" for Olympic results...

Nothing for USA Ladies Speed Skating 500m. Chris Witty finished 14th.

Men's Curling - Well, it was a win over Switzerland 6-2, but we're 2-3 in 7th place. Doesn't look good for the men. The women lost to Denmark 9-4, and had a 2-2 record tied for 5th going into tonight's match with Switzerland, and it's not looking good there either. Looking at the "athletes" that participate in this game make me think that this is the "bowling" of the Winter Games - the people just look like bowlers.

USA best was 15th (Kris Freeman) in Men's Cross-Country Skiing 10 km Free Pursuit.

USA best in Ladies' Combined Downhill was 6th (Lindsey Kildow)

Hmmm. one USA (Chris Klug - 11th) made it out of the qualifying round in Men's Snowboarding PGS (that's parallel giant slalom to us uninitiated).

Well, it's evening so that must mean figure skating...Men's Figure Skating Free Skate is tonight... there was a few times I thought I was watching a Saturday Night Live sketch with the way the guys were falling. Russian Evgeni Plushenko almost landed the first quad-triple-triple in history. While watching him do a combination, Scott Hamilton called him "sick and twisted" in jest! He wound up in 1st. Well, I thought Timothy Goebel (from Evanston, IL) looked great to my untrained eye - there was a problem with a triple-axel, but he hit a quad late in his program. I thought he was a little better than the marks he got. Put him into 2nd with two skaters to go - Alexander Abt from Russia - who actually fell, and stepped out of a few things and whose marks were all over the place putting him in 4th, and finally another Russian Alexei Yagudin finishes up the program. And finishes without any "fire", but the program was good. The wait for Goebel has got to be a killer. I mean, he eventually knows he's going to get a medal - that's got a be a relief of sorts, but not knowing what kind of medal has to be a bit hairy. Must be my imagination, but there seemed to be a delay getting the marks up. He get's 4 6.0's for Presentation, the most for a man in the Olympics. So he get's the Gold, Plushenko gets Silver, and our Timothy Goebel gets a bronze!

posted at 10:56 PM | Link | Olympics § |
AHL All Star Game

American Hockey League All-Star Game American Hockey League
ESPN2 had the AHL All Star Game from the Mile One Stadium in St. John's, Newfoundland. We (the Chicago Wolves) had only one player elected to participate - J.P. Vigier. I hated the commentators, who seemed to mispronounce any of the players from the old IHL teams. Vigier is supposed to be pronounced "vee ZHAY" instead of "vee GAYR" as the commentators said. And I thought that Bubba Berenzweig from the Milwaukee Admirals (and native of Arlington Heights) last name was pronounced "BAIR ens weyg" (long "i") instead of "BAIR ens wig" (short "i").

Anyway, it was Canada against Planet USA - the delineation is that the Canadian team has members who where born in Canada, while Planet USA has players born anywhere else. It was a shootout, with Canada winning 13-10. Canada had 5 unanswered goals in the second half of the third, until USA scored their final goal with .2 seconds left. Canadian Mike Craig of the Cleveland Barons was MVP with a hat trick.

posted at 08:56 PM | Link | Hockey § |
Panda Lunch

Panda Express
Went to lunch with Barry today at a Panda Express by the Allstate Arena. Had my favorite - Black Pepper Chicken. Had a nice discussion on the Olympics - in retrospect, we really didn't talk about much else. I think Barry is pro-snowboarding compared to my curmudgeoness stand against.

Looks like that water main break at Golf and Higgins got fixed - it's just a bunch of mud now, and they were putting up the telephone pole - a day later. There was a lot of salt on the road to make sure people didn't go sliding through the intersection.

posted at 01:27 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Luge Fantasy Camp

The Today Show just did a piece on a Luge Fantasy Camp! Now that looks great! They started the teaching process slowly, understanding the start, then the actually went out to the track and started half-way down, and eventually working their way up the hill. One of the students wiped-out and had a mild concussion! This looks like a great time!

posted at 08:38 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

PC Help

Well, I spent almost all day at our friends Janie & Gary's house. I spent all afternoon working with Gary, getting his PC skills "upgraded" a bit and help him out with his "new" Dell. Then I spent some time with Janie, getting her setup as a seller on eBay. She wants to sell some artwork. Boy, this was harder than I thought today. And longer. Carol drove down to them and Janie made a great chicken stir fry for dinner, along with ginger bread for desert. The food was great. Then I went off to try to take some digital photos of the artwork - very hard to do when some of the pieces have glass in the frames. Carol & Gary were watching the Olympics and then I realized that I missed the Olympics today! Bummed me out! I need to figure out what's going on! I heard that the IOC went after the ISU to get it's act together and do it fast! I guess the Olympics are getting mired in this whole skating controversy. Anyway, finally got back home after 10 o'clock. I'm trying to get some Olympic Pins on eBay and I keep getting outbid. Some of the pin prices are getting outrageous, and I just can't seem to get a winning bid that I feel comfortable with.

You gotta watch where you dig! Did they call J.U.L.I.E?
On the way to Janie & Gary's, I was at the corner of Golf & Higgins at a stoplight. I looked over, and saw the work crews that are working on prepping the area for the construction that's coming over the next two years to widen both roads and try to fix the intersection, one of the worst intersections in the state. There were some telephone poles on the ground that they must have been installing, probably for additional lighting, but also maybe for video cameras (they did that further down the road on Golf when they were widening Golf and Roselle).

And then I saw it, the water gushing out of the ground. Yep, they were digging and hit a water main. The intersection started to flood. When I drove by tonight, there was a lot more heavy equipment and night lighting and a much bigger hole, trying to fix the problem.

posted at 11:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Zamboni Fantasy Camp

The Today Show just did a piece on Zamboni Fantasy Camp - a 2-day camp Utah Olympic Oval in SLC where they're setting records in Speed Skating! How cool would that be?!?!? At 4,675 feet in altitude, there's less room between water molecules, making the ice denser & "slicker".

posted at 08:43 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

SLC Day 5

Salt Lake 2002
I'm turning into a curmudgeon. I just can't seem to tolerate these X-Game-type "sports" in the Olympics. At least they put it into its own category - "Freestyle Skiing". They're showing today's Men's Moguls on TV now. Yes, I see how hard it is to do these things (I mean, Johnny Moseley was just fantastic), but they're just not Olympic sports, you know what I mean? (Travis Mayer got a Silver, though, and Moseley got knocked to 4th.) Between this junk and the Figure Skating Judging fiasco last night, my "curmudgeonness" is just getting tweaked-up a notch... and now the conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork, saying that there was "collaboration" between the French and Russian judges. Canada has requested an investigation (or an ISU "internal assessment")

Looks like Picabo Street has made it into retirement successfully. She finished 16th in Women's Downhill, just 1.61 seconds behind the leader and behind 11th place Jonna Mendes and 12th place Kirsten Clark. A very nice career. Too bad we didn't have a good showing for your sendoff.

USA Women's Hockey team kicked butt in a 10-0 whipping of Germany.

Hey! More speed skating medals in the Men's 500m! Casey FitzRandolph got a Gold (with his 34.42 Olympic Record run yesterday) and Kip Carpenter got a Bronze.

Poor Todd Eldredge. He's 30 years old and he was all over the ice - and not in a good way. As I'm writing this, he's in 9th, behind Michael Weiss, who's in 8th, and Timothy Goebel who's still in 3rd. Another "old guy" is Elvis Stojko from Canada - he's 7th. Leading is Alexei Yagudin from (gee) Russia.

Whooo hoooo! Another Curling Win! This Time it's the USA Women over Sweden 6-5. We're in second place after two games (we're 2-0!) The men are tied for forth (1-1 after two games)

posted at 08:30 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Dead monarchs

On my way home from my parent's house, I was listening to NPR. There was a story that kind of upset me. Every year, monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico to spend the winter, basically November to March. Last month (January 12-13), there was this cold front that moved over the Michoacan region (filled with hills and pine trees). Well, it was a weird little weather front and it killed (according to the World Wildlife Fund) up to 250 million monarch butterflies. Here's a quote: "This is not about the extinction of the species, although we cannot know for sure what is going to happen."

posted at 06:32 PM | Link | Current Events § |

Loyola University Health System
Well, I brought Dad to see Dr. Clark about Chemotherapy. He asked quite a few life style questions, like "Is he active?" The tumor has spread downward toward the media stinum (man, I wish I had a bit of anatomy - there's not much on the web about this). He wants to prescribe cisplatin once a week for every week of radiotherapy. The administration of the drug is about an hour, but the entire process is 4 hours long, primarily to make sure fluids are flushed through him. Side effects include "worsening" ;of the radiation side effects, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Nothing is written in stone that this is necessary. It is worth trying. Dr. Clark thinks it can help control the cancer.

Dad says "No." He doesn't want to go through it. Mom says that over the past year, he has gotten waker and doesn't think he can handle it. Dr. Clark thanks us for our time, says that in case you change your mind, there's still time to call and start chemo, and leaves.

Let's just say the ride home was very quiet.

posted at 05:01 PM | Link | Family § |

Monday, February 11, 2002

Wrong Call

Salt Lake 2002
Wrong!!! Wrong!!! Wrong!!! WRONG!!! This is why I hate judged sports! What kind of crap is this in Pairs Figure Skating?!?!? Those damn Canadians (Jamie Sale and David Pelletier) skated their asses off, even after colliding hard with the damn Russians (Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze) during the warm-ups! Screw those damn judges! Just because ONE judge doesn't give them a First Place ordinal??? And the NBC commentators talk about "being embarrassed for the sport". This is just damned wrong. And earlier we SWEEP the medals in that crappy X-Games Men's Snowboarding Halfpipe. Gee, whaddya know? It's a damned judged event! NO WONDER I don't like this! So whoopdeedoo. I REALLY felt for the Canadians. I can't get over this. They DESERVED it. Now the damn Russians retain their "dynasty".

posted at 11:23 PM | Link | Olympics § |
SLC Day 4

Salt Lake 2002
You know, even though I love downhill, Biathlon is pretty cool, too. You really have to be in great shape to ski at altitude, then do it for 20km, and oh, yeah, carry a rifle to stop and shoot - calmly at targets the size of quarters at 50 meters! And the event I'm watching now, 20 km Individual Men Biathlon has 87 people entered!

Watched a piece of the Women's Preliminary Ice Hockey, with Canada and Kazakhstan. Canada won 7-0 (I mean, Kazakhstan? Are they a threat?) Canada out-shot them 66-11, 5 of the goals were on power plays. That means that the Kazakhstan goalie stopped 59 shots! I find it interesting that the women wear full-face cages on the helmets to protect their faces, and of course, the guys don't.

No coverage on Curling today. Bummer. Such an odd sport, I feel that I need to watch. Right now the US is tied with Canada, Finland & Germany for first. Whoa! It's going to be on MSNBC in a few minutes! Cool! (US v Sweden) and CNBC has US v Canada tonight! OK, this is looking better...

And somebody better be covering Men's Singles Luge! We missed a medal, but I want to see that. (50 entries in that event with one Did Not Finish and one Did Not Start (gotta wonder about that one...)). Instead , they'll probably air that crappy X-Game Snowboarding "sport" (and I use that term loosely). Guess they're showing Luge in-between sessions at Pairs Figure Skating. OK, gotta watch that, too...

We got 500m Speed Skating, and whooo hooo! We're in First and Third Place after the first race. No new world record yet. That's also being broadcast tonight.

posted at 04:06 PM | Link | Olympics § |

Sunday, February 10, 2002


Salt Lake 2002
Ahhh... my most favorite Winter Olympic sport is on... ooops... second most favorite - Downhill. No prissy snowboarding X-Games crap. Downhill. Speed. Danger. That's a sport...

posted at 08:43 PM | Link | Olympics § |
Wolves 5 - Griffins 2

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins
Time for still another Wolves-Griffins game - the 11th time they met this season. But now, it's like the Wolves are making their move up, while the Griffins are tumbling. The Wolves beat the Griffins 5-2. Got a chance to finally see the new goalie - Frederic Cassivi. Very impressive moves. He's won every game he's started. I wonder how long we'll have him... I wonder if he'll get called-up once Pasi Nurminen comes back from the Olympics...

posted at 07:06 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Saturday, February 09, 2002

SLC Day 2 - Part III

Salt Lake 2002
OK, the US is tied with Austria with two medals, leading all countries after Day 1. I'm still getting the feel of the NBC coverage. I'm really pissed at the way they handled coverage of the first Medal Ceremonies tonight. In short - Bob Costas didn't know what was going on and since they had more Nordic Combined Ski Jumping today (was cancelled yesterday because of the weather), they went to that instead. Wouldn't a Field Producer have a clue on what was happening? At least show the first Medal Ceremony - the entire ceremony - so that we've got and idea of what's going on, then show just the individual ceremonies on the other nights. They showed Dave Mathews performing later tonight from the same damn stage without cutting away during a song. Just pissed me off. And what's with Chinese figure skaters? How can an entire team exceed in throws and at the same time nobody knows how to spin? If it was just one group, you would overlook it. But three separate pairs? Nice coaching!

posted at 11:39 PM | Link | Olympics § |
SLC Day 2 - Part II

Salt Lake 2002
Somebody needs to test the water that they make the ice from at the Utah Olympic Oval for Men's 5000m Speed Skating. Wow. 6:17.98, a new World and Olympic record in one of the heats (Derek Parra of the US), only to see his record go up in smoke minutes later as he's beat by Jochem Uytdehaage of the Netherlands with a 6:14.66!

posted at 04:03 PM | Link | Olympics § |
SLC Day 2 - Part I

Salt Lake 2002
I guess the Olympics have officially started - Stefania Belmondo of Italy claimed the first gold of the games, winning the women's 15 km cross-country skiing event. Let's see how the rest of the events play out.

posted at 11:40 AM | Link | Olympics § |

Friday, February 08, 2002

SLC Day 1 - Opening Ceremonies

Salt Lake 2002
Opening Ceremonies are over, the games have been declared open. Great to see/hear Jim McKay at the Olympics. I don't ever remember a commentator being "loaned" from one network to another to act as a correspondent. Unfortunately, Jim didn't fit in really well. I think that his time has unfortunately passed. VERY emotional watching the WTC flag being brought into the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium. Dead silence - a reverence that I didn't expect. And then the National Anthem by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir started off quietly, hauntingly, adding to the moment, eventually building to a great crescendo. A very good tribute to September 11 (it couldn't be ignored) without taking away from the Olympic spirit of the games. I thought the entertainment was good. Loved the Native American pieces. How cool is it to have George the 43rd declare the games open from the middle of the US athletes instead of some podium or private box?! (Even cooler is later watching figure skater Sasha Cohen handing the president her cell phone for him to say a few words to her friends or family!) Having Mike Eruzione and the rest of the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. hockey team do the lighting of the cauldron was a good choice (I think). Is the cauldron water-cooled? I thought I saw water pouring down the insides of the glass. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!...

UPDATE: Yep, that's water in the Olympic cauldron - the cauldron was made by WET DESIGNS, the guys that made the fountains in front of Bellagio in Las Vegas! The Washington Post had what I thought was an even-handed review of the Opening Ceremony coverage.

posted at 11:51 PM | Link | Olympics § |

Salt Lake 2002
Just three hours away from the 2002 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony. Actually, I can't wait. I've spent time in and around Salt Lake City, and I really wanted to go to this Olympics, but it just wasn't meant to be. I love all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the ceremonies. And an actual benefit of unemployment? Being able to watch the MSNBC/CNBC live coverage during the day! OK, it's a little lame, but I have to put some kind of positive spin on the situation! I mean, I'm not a graphic designer/web designer getting a great job after such a long "vacation" (read: unemployment).

posted at 03:56 PM | Link | Olympics § |

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Way to go, Erin!!!!

Wha....???? ERIN GOT A JOB!!! Look, I don't know her personally, but I read her blog religiously. She's been out of work as long as I have, so I have a certain empathy for her. And then, what appeared to be pretty suddenly, the interview/contacts started coming-in, and voila! she's got a full-blown job offer and re-entering the workforce on Monday. Wow. It sounds weird, but I'm proud of her! (which is weird since I don't really know her, but trying to get back into this crappy job market is tough and she made it!) Congrats to Erin!

(I guess the flipside of this is the hope that something will come up in the job market around here... I feel like I'm being left behind...)

posted at 08:27 PM | Link | Blogging § |
Dad's CT for radiation

Back going to the parent's house and - whooo hooo! that damn Grey car that the guy across the street was selling gone from in front of their house! Now, unfortunately, I can't park in front of their house because of the snow and ice that's there. Damn, I was sliding all over the place. Pissed me off - to add insult to injury, I'm trying to park while there's a guy double-parked across the street, with traffic going down the street. I give up and I realize that my parents are watching me from the door, amused.

Quick trip to Loyola Medical Center. The Radiation Therapy department is also in the basement and the waiting room is even smaller than the CT scanning waiting room. Dad goes in at 10:50 (10 minutes early) and shows up again at 11:17, just under half an hour, and we're off again. He has a appointment scheduled for that "practice" therapy session on Feb. 20 at 1:30, and then therapy starts the next day at 1:30 and every weekday after that for at least 6 weeks, always at 1:30. Saw Dr. Emami again afterward, and again, very friendly, personable. Excited about construction of a new building that Radiation Oncology is moving into sometime in 2003.

On the way home, we stop at Russel's on Thatcher for lunch. Yum... barbecue beef...

posted at 01:28 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Meeting the radiation therapist

Loyola University Health System
Another day of providing taxi service for my parents to Loyola Medical Center to meet with Dr. Emami. We had to wait for him to come into the examining room, so that just makes dad way woo anxious and agitated. The doctor is in a totally different mood when we meet with him - more friendly, easier to talk to, not as "scattered" as our meeting a few weeks ago.

Normally, he said, a patient in this condition will just be sent for Radiation Therapy "classically". But, based on recent info (over the past 2-3 months), if a Patient can tolerate chemo there is a beneficial effect adding chemo, not necessarily beneficial in this "specific presentation". Being realistic - long term cure "not very frequent" (it's still interesting listing to the doctor put sentences together. He speaks Farsi, so I wonder how much of what he says is being translated from his "native" tongue)

He proposes to start planning process for radiation therapy. Side effects: redness of skin, soreness, sore throat, loss of hair around site. If the treatment is also with chemo, side effects are more intense, with longer recovery.

He stresses that dad will chose what he wants done (chemo or not - dad has already decided to go forward with radiotherapy). He says that other university hospitals in the area basically say " Radiation and Chemo. Period." Loyola is very open - sort of a freedom of choice of treatment. About 20% of patients in this situation chose to add chemo.

So, he wants to go through the planning process for the radiation therapy, since that's being done no matter what. The cool thing is that Dr. Emami leads research using 3-D conformal radiotherapy - meaning dad will go in for still another CT scan - this time, to map the area in detail and store the data in separate computers. Then the doctor looks at about 60 individual slices around the area, and plots in the computer those "structures" that need to be radiated and those things he needs to "protect" (oh, you know, like the spinal chord). The computers then produce a 3-D image of the entire area and the radiation treatment is then precisely plotted to give the most aggressive treatment, saving the rest of the tissues from exposure. Pretty cool. The process, because of case load, takes almost a week, since team meetings are also done during this time.

Dad would come back then for a"rehearsal" or "practice" run, to see if everything lines up the way they believe it will. Treatment would start the next day. The treatment itself only takes about 2 minutes, and he should be in the department for no longer that 15-30 minutes a day. Every weekday for about 6 weeks straight.

So, we'll be back tomorrow for that Planning CT at 11:00am, and they have an appointment with Dr. Clark to discuss chemo next Tuesday at 4:30.

I felt better about the meeting than I thought. I got a chance to see dad's CT scans and saw the tumor is about 1cm x 2cm and it's not where I thought it was - it's to the left of his stoma (the opening in his neck) - it's pretty obvious when you look at films - you can see that the structures in his neck aren't symmetrical, though it was difficult for my untrained eye to detect.

Oh, well... back again tomorrow.

posted at 06:21 PM | Link | Family § |

I wake up and get on the computer to do my "normal" morning things - go through my EMail, check out my Job Agent emails & visit the job posting websites that I follow, go through today's Las Vegas Review-Journal, check out the local sports pages, even check some of my favorite bloggers. About 9 o'clock I wander downstairs to grab some cookie and chill on the couch with the satellite.


I must have jumped a bit when I heard that, because Carol, who is laying on the couch, starts apologizing. She wasn't feeling well, so she didn't go to work. And I didn't have a clue that she was home on the couch in the family room.

I hate when that happens!

posted at 10:06 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Goin' to Loyola tomorrow

Hmmm... just got a phone call from my mom... I'm playing taxi again tomorrow - they have a 3:15pm appointment with Dr. Emami. I guess we'll find out about the biopsy and what was being said about last weeks CT scan.

I'm scared.

posted at 03:57 PM | Link | Family § |
Interesting combination

What is self titled as "The Best Picture Ever". Retro flashback!

posted at 12:49 PM | Link | Odd § |
Blogging articles

Wow. Tons of articles on Blogging... what's going on? There's the article in Time Magazine. Then BBC (along with The Guardian). Then friendly curmudgeon John C. Dvorak in the recent PC Magazine. How about Wireless Blogs at Wireless Week? Or a little nasty spin on payling for publishing (i.e. Blogger Pro) in the New York Post? Or the San Jose Business Journal? Jeez... even the National Review and Fortune.

posted at 12:20 PM | Link | Blogging § |

Monday, February 04, 2002

Ad Meter results

Bud Light - Satin Sheets Bud Light - Falcon Bud Light - Cedric plays matchmaker
OK, now in the battle of the SuperBowl Commercials, USA Today's Ad Meter says the Bud Lite "Satin Sheets" commercial was highest rated. My favorite came in second, the Bud Light Falcon that wreaked havoc on an outdoor cafe (I wonder if Barry saw this - he refuses to dine al fresco). Third was Bud's Cedric the Entertainer playing matchmaker. Top three to Bud! They always have entertaining commercials. (The entire list is here.) (Don't know how much longer it'll be available, but you can view all of the commercials here or here.)

posted at 09:26 AM | Link | Entertainment § |

Sunday, February 03, 2002

Super Bowl XXXVI

Super Bowl Website
All I can say is WOW, WHAT A FINISH!!! It looked like a pretty crappy game until the end of the 4th quarter. St. Louis looked bad. Maybe the Patriots had it right when they elected to be introduced as a team instead of individually like everybody else usually does. They were pumped. They deserved the win (although, I don't believe they deserved to be at the SuperBowl to begin with, since that blown call in the snow game against Oakland).

Halftime was OK, not great (Sorry you U2 fans). The pregame entertainment was fair (screw this crappy lipsyncing bit! Record it for backup only! Let the performers perform!) And I'm sorry but I just don't get Mariah Carey.

Commercials were great but I felt that overall, the crop was weaker this year. And I really don't give a damn about my mlife! I'll have to check USA Today tomorrow to see how things rank. My fave - the Bud Light Falcon!

posted at 10:01 PM | Link | Sports § |
Wolves 2 - Griffins 1

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins Wolves warming up for skate around Scott in a promotion during 2nd intermission
Went to the Wolves game today. It was originally scheduled for 4 o'clock, but they finally moved it to 1 o'clock to get it away from the Super Bowl. When we got there, before the skate around, they were playing the Bears Super Bowl Shuffle video on the scoreboard. We got a new goalie, Frederic Cassivi from the Colorado Avalanche. He won the last two games that he started, but he wasn't the first one onto the ice for the warmups (first goalie out is always the starter - today it was Pasi Nurminen).

Well, it was the 10th time these guys have met. Good, fast, clean game. The Wolves beat the
Griffins 2-1. The go ahead goal was shot by Rob Brown off of Steve Maltais' nose! Maltais got the credit!

Throughout the game, I had a drunk that sat right behind me. And when I say drunk, I mean drunk. He spilled beer in the back of my seat (though not too bad.) He spilled a fresh beer on his seat, so he had to sit in the row behind - he slept through the entire second period - even with fireworks going off after we scored two goals!. Then, when he was sitting behind me during the third, he fell asleep again, tipping his fresh beer and pouring it - slowly - into the aisle. The guys with him just said this was "normal" and it occurred "365 days a year". Great.

Our bud Scott who sits in from of us was in a 2nd intermission promotion on the ice. The object - stand at one end of the ice and throw a football into the net at the other end of the ice. There were 3 other people along with Scott trying this. They went through the group - no one got it, though Scott actually came close (the second guy had a GREAT arm). So since no one got it, they tried again. NOBODY GOT IT, so no prizes were awarded!

After the game, Pasi Nurminen was sent up to the Atlanta Thrashers and then off to Salt Lake City as Finland's Olympic Goalie.

posted at 04:48 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Saturday, February 02, 2002

B-52 and a movie

Miltary contrails over the city Binny's Beverage Depot
Carol & I left to go get some Chianti (which we've never shopped for before) to bring to Barry & Buffy's house. I pull out of the driveway and look up into the sky and see something I have only seen on television.

Over the skies of Afghanistan.

I remember seeing perfectly circular contrails in the skies over Afghanistan being made by B-52 bombers as they circled, providing cover. And now, over Chicago. The same circles are in the sky. Perfect, large circles, about six of them, the older ones dispersing and moving east with the wind. Perfect circles. We watched the last circle being completed, when the aircraft broke it's pattern and headed straight west, right over my house. Commercial aircraft don't do this. Not at this altitude. I've always heard about the military flying cover over the major cities. It's just something I've never seen. After thinking about this - I'm trying to rationalize what I'm seeing. When the plane came overhead, I couldn't identify 8 engines - a typical B-52, but they're 4 pylons of 2 so it would be difficult to see that from that altitude. I'm starting to believe that maybe it was a KC-135 providing refueling services for the aircraft flying cover. That would make sense. I mean, a bomber over the city? I hope not!

Headed over to Binny's to buy the Chianti. Found a good "end of bin" deal, and took off to go to B&B's for dinner. Buff's mom is recuperating there from knee replacement surgery that she had about two weeks ago. She's in her 80's and was moving around great (even though it was with a walker). You almost couldn't tell that she had the surgery. This joint replacement stuff is amazing. Had a nice homemade Italian dinner, and watched the movie Memento afterward. Wow, what a flick. I'm still not sure exactly what we saw, but we all loved it.

posted at 11:21 PM | Link | Friends § |
Groundhog Day


Wooooo Hoooo! Symmetry! Catch it!

Punxsutawney Phil says 6 more weeks of winter (he saw his shadow). Woodstock Willie saw his shadow, too, in Woodstock, Illinois where they're celebrating the 10th anniversary of the filming of Groundhog Day (the film was shot there - it's about a 30 minute drive from my house), and Cloudy at the Brookfield Zoo saw his shadow, so that looks like a clean sweep to me.

posted at 02:02 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, February 01, 2002

SoxFest 2002

GM Kenny Williams, Radio guy Ed Farmer & Manager Jerry Manuel Jeff listening to his answers with Doreen and Janie Jeff's questions signed by Kenny Williams Fox Sports Net Chicago broadcasting from SoxFest Pitching Clinic with Jon Garland and Jim Parque A group of fans at SoxFest Pitching Clinic Autograph session with Paul Konerko and Joe Crede Hyatt Regency Chicago atrium
Well, we left home almost two hours before SoxFest was supposed to begin. We barely got there in time, due to the traffic. We were meeting our friends and season ticket holders Jeff & Doreen, and Janie & Gary at 5pm, when the doors opened. Well, when we got there, we had to go to a different floor because the line was so long. We knew that there was a security bag check before ewe went in, but had no idea what we were in for. We met everyone else while we were standing in line. The line started to move around 5:40pm! We went straight to the first (and only) scheduled seminar - a discussion session with General Manager Kenny Williams and Manager Jerry Manual, hosted by radio broadcaster Ed Farmer. The first thing we hear is something that literally just happened probably minutes before - we get Kenny Lofton as our new Center Fielder!!! Got him as a free agent with a one year deal. This is big deal!

Well, Jeff gets in line to ask a question of Kenny Williams, the General Manager. It's long, involved, loaded with pointed questions. Kenny rolls his eyes and asks Jeff for his cheat-sheet that has the questions on them, so he can answer the whole thing. It was priceless. Kenny signed the questions for Jeff and gave them back. The audience seemed to like it. The thing about SoxFest is that you see management types like this and they don't dodge questions - they answer honestly - how many major league teams of any sport do that???

We went downstairs to the main floor. Jeff & Doreen get into line to get an autograph from Paul Konerko (her favorite), so Carol & I with Janie & Gary go over to the Fox Sports Net stage where they broadcast live from 7-8 tonight. They were interviewing players throughout the show. Pretty cool.

We walked through the exhibitors, picking a few trinkets along the way (hats, pins, signed baseballs, etc).

There was always a White Sox Training Academy clinic going on - we watched a bit of the pitching clinic with pitchers Jim Parque and Jon Garland.

We finally pick up Jeff & Doreen toward the end of the night from their autograph session, take a last walk through the exhibitors and then go to the Hotel lobby (Hyatt Regency Chicago) to hit their coffee shop for dinner. Dinner took almost two fricken hours!!!! Severely understaffed! Kelly Wunsch came in and sat down in a corner by himself for dinner. It was amazing how many people went over to bother him!!! Anyway, it was a great time at SoxFest. It hard to believe that the first pre-season game is 4 weeks from today!

posted at 11:04 PM | Link | White Sox § |

So, I awake this morning and there is still no job on the horizon. I awake to realize that my last full-time position was the end of my contract with divine 8 months ago. 35 weeks ago. Sure, I had some quick contract things in between - one lasted 3 weeks, the other only 2. I don't count those. Those were too short, contract only, through other companies. Then again, my stint at divine was a contract as well. I signed a sixty-day contract on April 12, which actually started April 2 (don't get me started on that...), though I didn't actually start working in Lisle until April 23. So, I guess my last "full-time, permanent" position was my last day at marchFIRST before I was "traded" to divine on April 2, almost 44 weeks ago. That was the weirdest time in my career. marchFIRST was going under, faster than the Titanic. divine shows up as a Lusitania and rescues part of the marchFIRST assets and people, and I was "traded" to divine to assist in the transition for sixty days. It really felt like a "trade". The rest of us all felt this. We weren't welcome there. We were "transients". We knew the systems, we knew the people - they didn't and they didn't care. I have personally heard people tell me so. Rat bastards. They don't know what they lost.

2002 SoxFest Tickets
Speaking of "trade", I'm starting to feel it... baseball is coming... tonight Carol & I are going to SoxFest at the Hyatt downtown. I love baseball. No, I loooooooove baseball. It wasn't until the strike year back in 1994 that I realized that when the World Series didn't happen, I felt this hole in my life, like something wasn't complete. That's when I realized that I measure my life along the season of baseball. My year ends not on the calendar, but at the last pitch of the World Series, and my year starts with the first pitch of opening day. SoxFest helps - it's a fan convention with the players and staff before Spring Training starts... it awakens something in me... at least it has in the past. I'm hoping something wakes up, because the no-job thing is just killing me, and the situation with my dad just makes it worse. It was my dad that brought me to my first game. It was my dad that kept bringing me back to Comiskey Park, becoming one of the few White Sox fans on the North Side of Chicago... memories come back and intertwine with everything happening now.

posted at 10:26 AM | Link | Unemployment § |


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This Blog was last updated Friday December 18, 2009 13:03:12 CDT (-06:00 GMT)
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