Tuesday, July 31, 2007


For those of technical bent, this is old news, but I'm reminded (again) of how amazing it was the first time I logged remotely into a Windows PC from the mighty distance of 12' or so away - and then discovered the joys of remote sessions - be they SSH, VNC, RDP, or more exotic (or archaic) protocols.

Being able, from miles away, to be able to have a clients computer desktop (or a server command line session) display on my laptop or PC such that I can just dive in and *help* them rather than laboriously coaching them through a lengthy set of commands whilst trying to visualize their screen in my imagination is nothing short of paradise - throw in that when I need to, I can even toss a file from my box to the clients (say, a pretty little icon that the client can click on to start some function...all without the tedium of really understanding the automagicness of it all. The nice tech just reaches down from the internet, logs on, does his/her magic, confirms with user that everthing is good, logs out and goes about day. In about 1/3 the time normally required.

God, I love this stuff...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Good Stuff, I agree...

A good read, moving and insightful - sounds like the foundation of another (this time collaborative) book of wit and wisdom...find here below the tale of a single night as told by the Cop, The Medic, and The ER Nurse.

1) Start reading at MattG's place.

2) Then, continue from AD's viewpoint.

3) Conclude the story with Babs.

Sometimes I'll clam up for a bit after reading a particularly good post, just to let it percolate and such for a bit - my comments tend to be a bit more sensible than usual that way. This blogging triptych precisely matched the necessary criteria.

It hit a chord or three. And just maybe it will for others, as well, and even drive home a notion or two.


Reading redarius, I ran across a phrase I hadn't seen in a while, and propose as the phrase of the year - "TANSTAAFL". I first ran across TANSTAAFL in Robert Heinleins "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" at the tender age of 11 and it's been a part of my world view ever since. (Buy it, read it, love it!)

TANSTAAFL, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch", needs to be a common word and concept, and is fundamental to repairing the ills of our society.

Pass a new criminal law? SOMEBODY is gonna pay for investigation, enforcement, adjudication, new prisons, and post-prison rehab - and lawsuits cropping up from little boo-boo's in any of the above processes.

Pass an unfunded or underfunded mandate requiring mandatory emergency care? Watch other hospital costs rise, and emergency rooms close (or never open).

Regulate corporate behavior disproportionate to other jurisdictions? See corporations *move* once the burden cost-justifies it. Same for taxation.

The list goes on, but I have a little thought...a little meme I'll start (and everyone named gets to name five others), and I'll name Ambulance Driver, Babs, Big Al, Matt, DiamondMair, and as a bonus, the Queen of Dysfunction. Rules are simple - post at least one example of TANSTAAFL in action, and tell at least one person about TANSTAAFL.

Let's see what happens :)

New Links

Take a peak at redarious, particularly his delightful post on global warming. Worth a read.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

As time goes by...

Interesting day. Attended the first Sunday brunch since all the medi-weirdness began, and am encouraging someone else to take over organizing them - or at least front for it, and it was quite nice - I'd been up to 3am trying to figure out how to persuade an Eggdrop bot to do an external dns lookup for a friend who still runs an IRC channel, and was rather quiet, but very much enjoyed the ebb and flow of conversation. Visited Dad briefly after.

Rushed home, took a first pass at cleaning the garage out (NOBODY needs a 10year supply of used plastic grocery bags), did some laundry, cursed at the changing thickness of modern mattresses (yes, they are comfortable, but no, the old fitted sheets don't play nicely with them), wrote a nasty letter to the gent in Dusty Flats that's been trying and failing to make payments to rent-to-own my old place down there, and grabbed a few moments to catch my breath.

Then this evening, Miss Sven and I meandered over to a bbq at the home of a friend and his husband in a gentrifying area of Bigger City and had what to my NW palate was a fairly decent bbq (yes, I know, burgers do not equal bbq in many regions, but the NW is until recently the land of the bland, and for burgers, these were *good*) and thence forth to consume Mocha Silk at a decadent chocolate shop.

I'd not seen Delightful Boy in over a decade, and it was rather startling to see him *not* in a mohawk, weighing more than 110lbs soaking wet, and with sideburns and a bit of grey therein. His wit, kindness, gentle humor, and spark (thankfully) have all survived the intervening years, tempered by a wee bit of experience.

He and his partner hope to join the brunch crowd, and I hope they do - both are witty, intelligent, good folk who can carry their end of a conversation well and skewer stupidity and ignorance at a hundred paces.

All in all, a good, if busy, day.


I begin to see a pattern. Excessive visiting @ this point leads on Day 1 leads to exhaustion, non-responsive sleep, and misbehavior (spontaneous attempts to extubate) on the evening of Day 1 and throughout Day 2. This is a correctable trend.

Dad was much perkier today, but still to tired to play with his letterboard - but I kept my visit short'n'sweet, relating the latest, and then bugging out before he over-tired himself. Hopefully this will prove a strategy facilitating his recovery.

Once upon a time...

America was a free nation. The notion that government is at its' most dangerous and intrusive when attempting good deeds was commonly understood across the land, and elected officials were looked at with the deep skepticism their largely parasitical existence wholly justifies.

At some point, folks stopped seeing "we're from the government and we're here to help" as a particularly dark joke, and began to participate in the group delusion that Big Gov't was the solution to all the nations ills.

We went from a nation of individualists to a nation of whiners and victims, from a land of industry and prosperity to a primarily service economy. NIMBY looms large, and industry is a villain - not a generator of jobs and supporter of families.

I'm not saying some good things haven't happened. Civil rights, the curbing of the Hoover-esque FBI and some of the less savory practices of big city police departments, more open government, and in many (not all, by any means) a reduction in governmental corruption per square inch (stupidity, sadly, seems a constant).

But...are all the losses really necessary?

Strokes & major illness suck...

Thursday was a bad day. It was a sign of how bad that my little brother and I were actually getting along. Another sign was the discussion of funeral arrangements, my fathers wishes under a boilerplate living will, and possible end games with elements of planning for the future. We had doubts Dad would make it through the night, as he lay there post-cardiac and pulmonary arrest, unsedated but thoroughly unconscious and unresponsive. That there is MRSA involved isn't exactly a source of reassurance. The gowns and gloves are a constant reminder of the seriousness of events.

Friday morning he's more coherent than he's been in weeks. All excited about his new "letter-board" that lets him spell out words and communicate (he's a very social sort under normal circumstances), conversing via letterboard with doctors, nurses, and visitors, and generally having about as much fun as you can have with a respirator stuffed down you. By the time I made it over in the afternoon, it was plain he was tired, but he was still coherent, asking me to ensure that his flatbed scanner was turned off so the scanner light wouldn't burn out in his absence.

Today was a different story. Dad was obviously exhausted, and we discovered, sedated - it seems he'd tried to extubate himself during the night according to nurses. No real communication today, but he at least managed to open his eyes and acknowledge our presence in a second visit during the evening. Before we left, he responded he'd like the television on. He slept, sedated and otherwise, most of the day away.

The day is not easy, and all of us are very tired. Perhaps tomorrow will be another good day. Regardless, in addition to supporting Dad, life insists on going on - jobs must be performed, regulatory requirements met, bills paid, and issues resolved. Todays big adventure was taking Mom to the Emissions Testing Station before visiting Dad.

We don't know, from day to day, what the future holds for Dad and seldom hear any unalloyed positivity, or unqualified opinions. Friend, family, church, and employers provided support and prayers, and we are grateful...but the sense of running the Red Queens Race looms large.

I'm trying to help Mom to become more self-reliant (no outcome I've heard involves Dad returning home in the short term), teaching her to operate household controls herself, searching out a simplified thermostat to replace the 1st-Gen programmable nightmare that requires a PhD to program, and encourage her to resume daytime driving at a non-freeway level.

My concern is that she not turn inward under the stress of all this, but either hold her ground or expand her horizons in the face of these challenges. Folks that start looking inwards excessively seem to reserve a seat on the early departing train, and I'm not really enthused about that notion as it might apply to my Mom.

We'll see. All we can do is our best.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A return to the regular rant...

It ain't cute anymore, Fred.

Either do something, or get off the stool. It's not nice to toy with our hopes in the presence of such a complete dearth of worthwhile candidates.

Either formally declare you are running, or quit jerking us around giving us false hopes.

For the most part we have crazies and lunatics in the race from both the right and the left, and no great surplus of humanity amidst the ideology.

Your words to Michael Moore were incisive, well-aimed, and amusing - and needed to be said. Your rendering provided them unusual grace, however.

We need that in a presidential candidate, and in someone who can at least *spell* "centrist". We don't need a theocrat, a socialist, or worse yet, a combination of the two. You appear to qualify, and to have at least some libertarian leanings.

Declare, dammit.

More Adventure

This will be very brief, and then we'll return to the daily rant. Today has been a bit rough. Early this morning Dad had pulmonary and cardiac arrest, was revived, and slept the day away without sedation. We are taking a pause for him to hopefully wake, and allow the docs' to assess for neurological damage, before going forward...he has been quite clear in writing and in past conversations regarding his end-game wishes in the face of severe impairment.

I am substantially less than optimistic. He is back on respirator, and the discussion has turned to tracheotomy and such.

Thank god for bosses that understand.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And life goes on...

Dad is doing confusingly. In good spirits, extubated, and self-suctioning - and to our mutual concern horking up notable volumes of bloody crud. Todays adventure was Mom's a/c got fixed, she went into the hospital where Dad seemed much cheerier, and then within moments of her arriving back at the house gets the call from the hospitalist (a sort of hospital staff doc) stating that Dad appears competent and has made meaningful decision for extubation with reintubation as needed.

I dunno what to think. On the one side, he's in good spirits....on the other, self-suctioning works best, seemingly, when the patient is AWAKE and has the strength to lift the oxygen mask. Yeargh.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lessons being learned...

As I and my family are wading through all this, we are learning - I certainly am. Hopefully some of these posts, aside from giving me a place to vent, will prove thought-provoking for folks who've yet to find themselves in this quagmire.

A great deal of what I'm about to say has likely been posted elsewhere, but because most of us believe we are immortal and eternally healthy and that to contemplate events to the contrary as acts of varying degrees of morbidity.

This has brought home to me there are a number of little items that I've left undone through buying into such mythologies, and I'm beginning to address them.

What I'm doing:

1) Will
2) Living Will/Medical Power of Attorney
3) General Power of Attorney
4) Explanatory letter.

Something we haven't faced, and I don't believe we will, in our situation (though it's happened elsewhere in the clan) is the battle of the competing heirs in the absence of a will, or alternatively in the presence of an insufficiently specific will. Watching that, many moons ago, persuaded me of the virtues of painful specificity and letting the pro's do the actual writing.

The Living Will concept seems to be an evolving notion - as far as I can tell it came to the fore with the horrors of over-enthusiastic use of new life-saving and support technology, and addressed the "The lights are on, but nobodies home" issue quite nicely - but in its' initial iterations has not addressed the notion of "Somebodies home, but locked in a sensory deprivation tank with random pain stimuli".

It doesn't look like the right time to examine this is when the crisis is upon one. Seems more of a "prior planning prevents" kind of situation. Same with the General Power of Attorney - ask yourself "just when should it kick in" and "what will trigger it without my intervention"? If you're laying there unconscious or unable to communicate, how is anyone to know you HAVE a safe deposit box, let alone how to get into it or that there are relevant documents...

I know what I want and don't want, but expecting folks to mind-read and then torture themselves after wondering if they got it wrong seems a bit cruel.

Thus the explanatory letter - in simple lay language, explaining why I'm doing what I'm doing in the aforementioned documents, attempting to torpedo predictable disputes, and finally, saying a gracious good-bye if I am not in shape to do so for myself.

Finally...if myself and one of my friends have experienced...if you are aging and tucking cash and goodies away in little nooks all over creation...leave at least one "hint" list for those y'all leave behind. It's *NICE* to know where the mortgage papers are, the insurance documents, and sundry other details. Leave the list someplace safe, but findable...

I will, of course, defer to greater expertise on this, but this is my take on it as I'm walking through it...

Update on the adventure

Bit of a mixed message today.

On arriving, Nurse left us with impression that aside from the swallowing reflex that Dad was improving nicely.

Doctor later informs us and Dad (as he was awake) that Dad faces three choices (or us, if he falls below competency) going forward:

1) Extubate, with re-intubation if/when he has an obstructive breathing episode.
2) Extubate, and if an obstructive breathing episode occurs, allowing Dad to pass.
3) Tracheotomy, with a feeding tube implanted to the stomach through the thoractic wall.

Dad has not yet successfully communicated a decision to us. We have not come to a decision regarding treatment path. The doctor tells us he cannot give us odds on recovery of the swallowing reflex as regards "if", "how much", "when", or "ever". Dad appears mentally present, and we were very graciously asked to leave by the nurse as his blood pressure went up as Dad tried to communicate with us, failed, and grew frustrated.

We are being urged to come to a decision in the next few days, as the unstated option (leaving Dad as is) also has risks including pneumonia.. Option 1 risks repeated aspiration along with resultant pneumonia, potential of damage during or due to a delay in crisis re-intubation - on the upside it has a built-in "change your mind" feature. Option 2 is more dangerous, and in my understanding, constitutes simply a rather elaborate form of letting Dad pass without saying that's what's happening. Option three offers a significantly reduced risk of aspiration (but no guarantee) and brings quality of life issues to the forefront.

As I said, we are at this time unsure if Dad is capable/willing to select from this rather gloomy menu (though it seems like someone is clearly still home, the microphone is off and the etch-a-sketch is broken), and are not blessed with a terribly informative prognosis beyond "hey, if he can just re-learn basic swallowing, things will be a whole bunch better".

Both Mom and I took this rather hard, and it hit Little Brother as well, though he is doing surprisingly well, leading one to wonder if he was brought by the Stoic rather than the Stork. We are beginning to enter some of the more difficult "what if" conversations, however, at least now have some guidance from documents Dad had placed in the Safe Deposit Box over the years.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007



Today got in for work for maybe a half-day, had a family conference with the lead doctor (you know you are getting older when the residents look scrumptious and cuddlesome), and learned not a whole lot beyond that they are extubating Dad today and doing physical therapy on him and such.

Still haven't resolved "is this a real stroke or does it just look a lot like one", however the proposed treatment model appears to cover most possibilities.

He's looking much better today than he did last night, and is actually sitting up. Once the breathing tube is out and he's stable I anticipate his spirits will improve.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm bad...

Before things got all exciting this evening, my friend and I were attempting to make our way to the aesthetically unfortunate local airport to retrieve the bags that went to Memphis when I didn't - Yeargh. We caught the wrong exit and ended up 5 miles north in the middle of rush hour with no good choices, and then going past a "Peace Park."

Festooned with folded paper cranes, various anti-war signage, and sundry trivia...the park looked like a waste-paper recyclery exploded.

I had to ask - "Ok, where is the war park?"

After all, while peace has its' many supporters...what about the park with the Wall o' Crankiness, with brass representations (made from melted down high school debating trophies) of phrases like "Good men died to keep you free", "America: love it or leave it", and that old favorite - "Nuke'm till they glow".

As my moderately PC companion cringed, I elaborated...monuments to the hundreds of thousands of lives saved by the dropping of Fat Man and Little Boy over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the lives improved and preserved by resisting N. Korea in the Korean Conflict, the tragedy of Vietnam, and our subsequent conflicts thankfully abroad.

I suggested that a particular monument to the heroes of the USMC might be appropriate, and that the Marine Alumni association could be charged with the responsibility of the maintenance and security of the park...utilizing whatever methods, tools, and mechanisms that in their experience they felt would best maintain the purpose and solemnity of such a park. By this time, my more-PC friend was cringing...

Now...as it happens, I do believe the men and women of our armed services deserve our gratitude and support...both while serving, and after. And coincidentally I grow tired of the modern day Neville Chamberlains claiming that all can be solved through sweetness and light, and the sweet voice of reason. And frankly, a bunch of superannuated hippies and their spiritual children reveling in defeatism and deriding our troops...just plain piss me off.

So, I suggested the park might have one additional purpose, at which my friend pointed at the road and told me to "watch the nice movie".

I suggested such a park would serve as BAIT and allow a more focused occurance of Darwinian selection.

I'm bad.

Such a day...

Work went well, and I think I solved a problem with a customer accessing their data - if my theory is correct, the problem is less a database issue than a OS issue (i.e., if nobody has the RIGHTS to fix something, then ain't nobody going to be able to fix it).

Dad's had better days. Lots of testing, moved from ICU down to Med Telemetry (about 1/2 way between ICU and a Med floor, from what I understand) when he had a little episode tonight when he either (depending on sources) either just got too tired to bother breathing, or aspirated some food followed by high respiratory adventure. Both Nurse and Respiratory Therapist were present, at no time did the heart cease beating from what I'm told, and they quickly started CPR and intubated him before rushing him back up to ICU.

Of course, I got the call whilst in mid-sigh-of-relief with my friend who's been my rock through all this over dinner after we'd gone and gotten the luggage that'd finally returned from Memphis. I went from zero to frazzled in under 9 seconds, we bolted our meals, retrieved Mom and hustled back over to the Bigger City Hospital to reassure Dad we are still there for him and to suggest he calm down and let the breathing tube do its' job. And corner the doctor.

Mom is a former clinic director and did the admin side of medical for many years in an era when "doctor is always right, even when doctor is wrong, and it's never the medical staff's fault if things go wrong short of tablets of stone delivered from the heavens, etched with still-flaming lightning"

I'm just not built that way. Friend and I double-teamed the doc...friend took the rational, calm, understanding role...and I played to my strengths, broadcasting vast displeasure and barely leashed fury while relatively calmly asking pointed questions.

Doctor was amazingly conversational, thank goodness.

Things are more or less in a holding pattern till morning, but we'll see from there.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good News from NRA-ILA

Labor Department Announces It Will Revise Overreaching OSHA
Explosives Rule

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it
will significantly revise a recent proposal for new "explosives
safety" regulations that caused serious concern among gun owners.
OSHA had originally set out to update workplace safety regulations,
but the proposed rules included restrictions that very few gun shops,
sporting goods stores, shippers, or ammunition dealers could comply

Gun owners had filed a blizzard of negative comments urged by the
NRA, and just a week ago, OSHA had already issued one extension for
its public comment period at the request of the National Shooting
Sports Foundation. After continued publicity through NRA alerts and
the outdoor media, and after dozens of Members of Congress expressed
concern about its impact, OSHA has wisely decided to go back to the
drawing board.

Working with the NRA, Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) planned to
offer a floor amendment to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill this
Wednesday when the House considers this legislation. His amendment
would have prohibited federal funds from being used to enforce this
OSHA regulation.

Such an amendment is no longer necessary since Kristine A. Iverson,
the Labor Department's Assistant Secretary for Congressional and
Intergovernmental Affairs, sent Rep. Rehberg a letter, dated July 16,
stating that it "was never the intention of OSHA to block the sale,
transportation, or storage of small arms ammunition, and OSHA is
taking prompt action to revise" this proposed rule to clarify the
purpose of the regulation.

Also, working with the NRA, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) gathered
signatures from 25 House colleagues for a letter, dated July 11,
expressing concerns about this proposed OSHA rule. The letter called
the proposal "an undue burden on a single industry where facts do not
support the need outlined by this proposed rule" and "not feasible,
making it realistically impossible for companies to comply with its

The OSHA proposal would have defined "explosives" to include "black
powder, … small arms ammunition, small arms ammunition primers, [and]
smokeless propellant," and treated these items the same as the most
volatile high explosives.

Under the proposed rule, a workplace that contained even a handful of
small arms cartridges, for any reason, would have been considered
a "facility containing explosives" and therefore subject to many
impractical restrictions. For example, no one could carry "firearms,
ammunition, or similar articles in facilities containing explosives …
except as required for work duties." Obviously, this rule would make
it impossible to operate any kind of gun store, firing range, or
gunsmith shop.

The public comment website for the proposed rule is no longer
accessible. The Labor Department will publish a notice in the July
17 Federal Register announcing that a new rule proposal will soon be
drafted for public comment. Needless to say, the NRA monitors
proposed federal regulations to head off this kind of overreach, and
will be alert for OSHA's next draft.

Good job, folks. Let's get ready for Rd II.

New Links

I meant to mention it the other night, but for some unknown period Babs RN had my lil' blog linked on her site, and I am no longer (perhaps I accidentally fell off during the great template update!), but hopefully I shall return the rolls of the worthy.

I first ran across Babs on a link from Ambulance Driver (he of the many, many good links) and have since delighted from her wanderings from the profound to witty, folksy, and just plain common sense and back again.

She's a good read. I recommend her.

Returns, Visits, Pro-active Responses, and Familial Harmony

About 11ish local time last night I made it back to the NW Big Damp Spot and was greeted at the airport by a dear friend bearing Godiva Chocolates (the man knows how to comfort me) and the opportunity to register to get my bags back from Memphis.

That second task accomplished, we segued forth in conversation and motion to the local gourmet equivalent of a Denny's - unlike Denny's the food and decor are both good, the staff and most of the patrons are non-scary, and the service is good. As we sat nibbling at Fettuccine Venetia (Prawns, scallops, shrimp, halibut in a Garlic cream sauce) and Chicken Parmigiana.

Buddy quickly perceived I was well primed to segue forth this morning and wreak havoc upon the wrong-doers, and offered me sage advice and giggled helplessly as I suggested appearing with a taser baton with Elmer Fudd's immortal "Kill the Wabbit" as background/theme music as I strode forth to provide motivational therapy.

I'm a little warped.

Nonetheless, on awaking, I crawled out of bed and initiated communication with Dad's Primary Care physician (who'd somehow been left out of the loop, a condition that rapidly changed as he is an *annoyed* senior luminary at Bigger City Hospital) and got him started researching on the families behalf. Also got in touch with the folks insurance agent, and was assured that in combination w/ MediScare the various options for rehab/intermediate/short/long term care were all covered and since the agent is a family friend after this long, that I should keep him informed.

Dad was better than he'd been described. There is still a fair amount of medical "WTF" going on, but now that he's in ICU the staff seem VERY attentive and helpful, and while it's rough on Dad they are exploring an ever broader range of diagnostic options through testing. Basically, the general consensus is that he is displaying consistent stroke-like symptoms, however, tests keep coming back negative - leading the Primary Care provider to wonder if it's a transitory stroke, Sundowners brought on by the initial hospitalization, or an infectious disease issue.

The infectious disease guy is on the page, which I approve, that he really doesn't care what the stroke team does at this point - he's not going to sign off on letting Dad out until he's absolutely certain that the MRSA infection is absolutely purged. No outpatient infusion program this time.

All in all, things are better than they were yesterday, and I've been learning crap about strokes that I'd be just as happy to have never needed to know.

Presently am in negotiation with Mom about building a ramp up to the front landing so there's ONE easy-access entry to the house for Dad that doesn't involve steps, and to get rid of an immense coffee table so that a walker-user can traverse the living room w/o screams of frustration or simply abandoning the walker.

On the luggage front, my luggage will leave Memphis (hopefully) tomorrow morning at 0600ish local time to arrive in Big Damp Spot around 1100ish...I may just have them shipped to my workplace...as I'd rather visit Dad after work than boogie on down to the airport.

Will try, once the dust settles, to get back to my screed on why a certain local Mayor is an arrogant ninny-hammer with good odds of either having an unnatural yearnings for the porcine (IMHO), or perhaps is the off-spring of multi-species union at least one party of which emerged from the ranks of rattus norwegicus.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

When you least expect it...

As I write this, I'm sitting at the Italian joint on the F Concourse of the Minneapolis airport while I await my emergency turnaround flight to the big Damp Spot of the NW. I'll be back there at around 11pm.

I left this morning on my first business trip in ages - my father was still hospitalized, but appeared stable and on the mend. Got on a NW flight at Seatac, and headed east, destined for Memphis.

Aside from one ninny who seemed to feel it was his job to stand in the aisle and block folks at the rear of the plane from exiting prematurely or out of order, all appeared well. Right up till I landed in Memphis.

I had a message waiting f0r me - my father had a mild stroke while I was in flight, and while appearing perceptive, was no longer coherently verbal. Mom discovered this event when he "wasn't talking right" when she called him at the hospital this morning. On arrival, she discovered he could only swallow water (not food) and had lost verbal ability.

This is on top of Friday, when the day after surgery I had to speak with the nursing supervisor on the topic of negligence - given that dad was doing a gout/cellulitis/surgical walk, they'd dropped him on a medical floor rather'n surgical...and left my mom as primary caretaker rather than an RN. He was running a fever of 102.8, Mom was getting sprayed with urine from the urinal, he wasn't being fed, and was laying there moaning in pain...as a nurse hadn't been in between roughly 1100 and 1830hrs.

After my mother had words with the nurses on the scene (Lurch & Lil' Miss Older'n'God) about attentiveness, prior to my arrival - they actually paid attention. But...for how long would that go on? So I had a heart to heart with the nursing supervisor as soon as I was clear of the medical floor and of the risk of spreading negativity amidst the patients.

I was not amused. I am not returning amused. I am returning with thoughts of attorneys running through my mind, and struggling to recollect that a postal approach is unlikely to improve matters. I am not prepared to forgive either negligence or medical error - I am prepared to do my humble best to make a project of bringing retribution and misery unto the guilty.

My younger brother is/was out on the coast, and all was not well with the world, as my 79yo Mom was left to deal with this for herself.

While I try and suppress the drama queen, on this occasion it has burst forth from my soul, and I find myself launching mid-trip back to the Big Damp Spot, to my fathers bedside. While he has outlived the norm for his families men by a substantial portion, it still seems rather early to phone in a planetary departure.

Argh. I don't know that anyone deals with this terribly well - I certainly don't. Teary-eyed through an airport while attempting to maintain a semblance of calm for my mothers benefit, I got the news. Called a good friend who calmed me somewhat, volunteered to retrieve Mom from the Bigger City Hospital, and who will be picking me up when I arrive back at the Big Damp Spot around 11ish. My luggage, of course, is in Memphis...and won't make it back to Seattle for a couple of days. My boss, reached at home on her cell, was amazingly sympathetic.

More later. I am frazzled, angry, fearful, and stressed. I am accepting volunteers for "target o' my wrath", but I insist that they be *justifiable* targets for the bonus harvest they may well reap.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A few words of guidance

for our allegedly journalistic brethren.

What say we put the focus of reporting on violent crime back where it belongs, with the people rather than with the implements du jour?

There are no "gun-men" or "knife-wielders" - there are thieves, burglars, kidnappers, assailants, killers, murderers, and rapists and the "alleged" versions thereof, wherein a potentially bad person has been apprehended, but not yet proven before a court of law.

On the flip side, there are citizens, victims, and the recently deceased. And "fended off a violent attack by assailants unknown" is not a bad way to describe a wide variety of badness.

From my reading and occasional interaction with less savory sorts as I meander through life, I observe that frequently while numerous, the less savory sorts aren't any too bright - what say you refrain from providing them encouragement in their stupidity via your breathless panting over miscreants ill-doings?

Tell the story, but objectively and without glorifying the role of the criminal or indulguing in low grade theatrics. I didn't pick up a newspaper or turn on a news report for your extra special dramatic reading, whether its' of the latest natural disaster or the most recent misdeeds of the ne'er-do-well. I'm here for the facts that affect my life, a quick laugh as appropriate, and a little bit of clearly labeled human interest - you are the bucket carrier, not the vital sustenance.

While I'm at it, I can develop my own political views, thank you ever so much - I don't need you to spoon-feed me yours, carefully stirred in amongst what in these sad later days passes for news underneath a treacle-layered coating of crud made from equal measures of "it's for the children", psycho-babble, and "safety-nuttery".

That fictional hero, Joe Friday, said it best when he said "Just the facts, ma'am" - as journalists, try it, you'd be amazed at how your readership might improve.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Damn. And now I'm peevish, too...

Late-breaking news, and perhaps everyone else has already heard it...but from NRA-ILA and other sources the bright kids over at OSHA are getting all frisky again, this time in a way that should concern those of us who maintain an interest in firearms.

A firearm without ammunition is just a poorly designed club, after all. I love the SCA-folk, some of the worlds most delightful eccentrics, but I've no real desire to return to a world where swinging steel and blunt objects are the only available equalizers.

This regulation, as I understand it, would lead to the effective end of common carrier shipping for ammunition and firearms....without the necessity of that tacky legislative process...just a rule-making procedure. Comment was set to close on July 12th, but today was extended to September - yet, only a 125 comments were submitted when I last read it.

Might I suggest writing in, sharing your civil and polite comments, and pointing out that elections are coming up?

Ow. ow. ow.

Back in December, when I first started this blog, I had just moved north from Dusty Flats to the Big Damp Spot after major adventure and moved in with family while I recovered from the excitement. Since then, I've gotten a job up here, and am slowly putting my life back together...

Now, staying with family is a humbling experience balanced only by the notion of being of some service in a bad situation. Tonight was "of service"...but in the haste of the moment, I forgot that 180lbs substantially exceeds the 10 lbs I'm *supposed* to lift with the arm I spent some small amount of time establishing as the dominant limb.

Ow. Ow.

Silly me.

Think I'll stay up for a little bit and see if anything goes weird before bedtime, and then by morning with luck the results of my well-meaning foolishness will have receded. Must remember in the future "use the left arm, silly person!"

A few technical thoughts...

I ran across a rather revealing article on the Geek Squad that seems worthy of sharing - a lengthy and educational tale of a good organization going bad with the best of intentions, and a cautionary tale to any who value their privacy, their identity, and their finances.

What happens when you take your broken PC down to the nice PC shop for a fix? Just wondering, mind you... You sign a nice piece of paper releasing the nice shop from any/all liability (most especially for data lost, corrupted, or leaked), you leave your PC, and you come back a few days later.

Or...on a house call, a tech comes out, you leave them alone for a bit with your PC so as not to distract them as they put the magic smoke back in - they charge by the hour, after all. Ever hear of a "thumb drive"?

One of the fundamental tools of a techno-geeks trade, the thumb-sized devices can launch a complete operating system, a wide variety of software recovery and repair tools, references, private files, music, pictures, whatever you can put on a hard drive.

The thumb drive, like a good .45, is a tool for both good and evil - it depends on the use, intent, and the viewpoint of the observer. The nice man searching your HDD for your credit card and tax data (or anything else you might want to keep private) will be horribly saddened when that data he seeks just isn't there - conversely, you may be simply delighted that those pics of that drunken night in Bangkok won't be gracing the local town square...or the sad absence of your banking data on the better class of scam websites.

It may be boring, but watching while your PC is repaired has some benefits - that same thumb drive that rescues your hard disk can, in the hands of any competent tech, scarf up all kinds of interesting material.

Most tech are good folk...but prudence never hurt. 'Nuff said?

And when you care enough to give the very best - an external Hard Drive isn't such a bad thing either. A bit clunkier, but OH the capacity...my preferred strategy is to keep all my applications and the operating system on the disk that's in the machine - and all my data on the external, to the extent that I can...and then, back up regularly to non-volatile (CD/DVD) media.

Techno-rant ended.

New Links & New Thoughts

As I prepare to venture into the Sunny South (over the next few weeks I'll be seeing Memphis for the first time, and yes, Graceland is on the goal list - and then Atlanta, the city where I participated in my one and only car chase at speed)...

I love Atlanta - the summers are vile, but such a lovely city and such wonderful food (a confessed foodie, I am). Granted, it's not the HEALTHFUL end of the scale...but it's a merry path nonetheless.

The car chase was years ago, when I was back in Atlanta on business and ended up on a date with a delightful attorney kinda guy - well read, witty, cute, and definitely non-parasitical (all characteristics I favor in a guy). After a lovely evening, I dropped him off at the Armory for a show and dancing (I was in training early the next morning, so no clubbing for me!), and as I dropped him off, we kissed good night - both of us from far different climes, forgetting local mores.

He made it into the club just fine, but as it turned out one of the locals was all offended - I discovered this as a jacked up truck locked onto my rear bumper and began revving his engine...and showed an amazing tendency to make every turn that I did. Recalling my locale, I came to the conclusion this was perhaps a bad thing and that it was unlikely my new friend suffered from an uncontrollable desire to present me with a platter of Krispy Kreme's or some pecan pie.

Unarmed (corrected by careful permitting before my next trip, and something I need to see to again) and without cell phone, departure seemed the most valid option. Unfortunately, a great big pick'm'up truck (even jacked up) running a monster 8-banger of some flavor will usually outrun a rent-a-riceburner of decidedly anemic character.

Physics is our FRIEND.

About the time I was rolling down Peachtree with the giggling Goliath thundering along on my tail at around 90mph, this thought occurred to me. 'Bout this time I was coming up on a nice broad intersection...lots of room for error....for me.

Turns out that a low-slung lil' rent-a-riceburner will corner at speed a heck of a lot better than a great big jacked up pick-up with a high center of gravity. Heh. heh. heh.

Last I saw of my knuckle-dragging buddy in my rear view mirror he was having fun spinning out while I toodled off to my hotel for a nice case of the shakes.

Carry a cell phone. And a little something to ward off the forces of idiocy.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Random Ramblings

Goodness my...I'm on the road again after sometime in the rainy city...if anyone knows some good restaurants in Memphis (7/15-19) at a good price or in Atlanta (much the same criteria - price+quality) around 8/5-8/9 I'll be doing a mis-scheduled meander through the South for work.

Anyone wanna buy a really cool Point-Of-Sale system?

In any instance, I'm usually up for coffee (iced, I suspect) and have been missing the Awful Waffle since I was last back in Atlanta in 2000...and the evil joy of watching the Baptist tour bus pull up at the Krispy Kreme directly across from the Atlanta Eagle (Atlanta's big leather bar) and sitting back, sipping my coffee, and watching the church ladies and leather daddies interact.

Probably was good for both of'm, definitely shattered some stereotypes on both sides

In the meantime, I've been keeping busy with a b'day, a family member hospitalized with the wonders of cellulitis, home improvement/cleaning, errands, and adapting to that "first real job for a real company in much too long." It's a bit of a change, not working till 3am and sleeping till noon, or alternatively holding down a glorified baby-sitting gig on a deeply irregular schedule. Kind of nice, really...

Thus, my apologies for the rant shortage. And thank you to various folks for the kind comments passed along!