Archive for Life

I’ve been a bad blogger…

[ music | Rilo Kiley – So Long ]

I’ve been neglecting my blog all year. For this,my dear readers, I apologize. I shall endeavour to be a better blogger in the new year. Between a really busy real life, and Twitter, I’ve just neglected to sit down and write up much. Even my previous post is a half-assed attempt, and I dislike doing that. For my day to day crap, check out my twitter feed.

However, to help make up for it, I’ll soon be making a kick ass end of year wrap-up post covering the best and worst everything from my viewpoint. Unlike some year-end wrap-ups, this one will be at the end of the year, between Christmas and New Years. I like to wait till the year is over to recap the year. 😉

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Shoney’s calls me a liar

[ music | The Clash – Should I Stay or Go ]

I just got back from my first and most likely my last visit to Shoney’s. I ate some catfish, got sick, threw up in the bathroom, and was called a liar by the manager who threatened to call the “authorities”. All in all, a fun time!

Tom and I had some coupons for some discounts on Shoney’s meals, and decided to try it out. I had the buffet, which had several nice items such as breaded catfish. Very shortly after eating the catfish I started to feel nauseous, then shaky and sweaty, and finally I ran to the bathroom to expel my dinner. I wasn’t happy at this point. I asked to speak with a manager, who came over, and I started off by telling her the waiter was excellent, and that I wasn’t unhappy with him.

I explained what happened, and that I would appreciate it if my buffet charge would be removed from the bill as it made me quite ill. The manager said she didn’t know what happened, and so the best she would do is take half of my dinner off. I said, “Well, it’s simple what happened, I just came back from the bathroom after throwing up my dinner, and I don’t really think I should have to pay for it.” At this point, I was visibly pale, shaky, and sweating, as Tom can attest. It was pretty obvious I was ill, and her response was to look me dead in the eye and say, “I don’t know that, I don’t know that you’re ill, or that you threw up, or that anything even happened.” I incredulously replied, “So you’re calling me a liar?” She shrugged, and repeated the offer for half off the one meal. I was incensed, and said, “I refuse to pay for this.” She stood up, started to walk away and said quite loudly “I’ll call the authorities!”

Given that she obviously tried to humiliate me by telling the whole restaurant she’s calling the “authorities”, I said quite loudly, “Great, I’ll tell them you called the police because your food made me sick!” I managed to get to my feet, and Tom and I walked to the counter to pay and leave. She yelled from the kitchen to the counter, “make them pay the whole thing, no discount!” Weak, shaky, sick, and sweaty, I was now also furious. I said out loud to the restaurant as a whole, “That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the manager is calling me a liar and won’t discount the meal that made me throw up. So enjoy your meal, or she’ll call you a liar too,” and stormed out to the car, threw up again in the parking lot (I should have asked her to come see it for proof!), and we drove away. Actually, we started to drive, but before we got out of the parking lot, I had to chuck again, and had Tom stop the car.

I’ve already left a message for the corporate office on their voice mail, as it’s well past business hours. I’ll be calling tomorrow if they don’t call me first. I really hope we can solve this because while I do not want to go to small claims court over an $19 dinner, I will do so only because I was treated so incredibly poorly.

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A Time for Mourning

[ music | Samuel Barber – Adagio for Strings (Opus 11) ]

My mother passed away this morning. This is about a year and nine months after her stroke, when I had to admit her to a nursing home, and about 3 years after her diagnosis of dementia, specifically what we believe to have been vascular dementia. In retrospect, I can see the onset was somewhere in early 2002, with significant symptoms emerging in 2004. But she was active and agile into the start of 2008, even though she had have more care at the nursing home than I could provide. She was hit by it quite early in her life, relative to most patients, and sadly the earlier it strikes, the more aggressive it is (and vice versa). If it manages to affect a younger brain, it’s a more severe case, and the prognosis isn’t good. She died at about 8am today, halfway through her 65th year.

She was my only parent, and meant the world to me, we were very close, and I will miss her terribly. But I’m also glad she’s no longer suffering from the cruelest family of diseases, one that robs a person of their memories, their very being. She passed quietly and without much suffering at all. For a short while my site here will be in this monochrome scheme as a form of modern armband of mourning.

I’m leaving for the funeral and mass tomorrow morning, and should be back Saturday. Additionally, I’ll probably be slow on responding to contacts for a bit even after that. Bear with me on that. Please support stem cell and other research into treating Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases so that maybe some day soon no families need ever see their loved ones slowly slip away from the inside out, and no one ever need forget who they are. Thanks.


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Travellin’ Man. Same cast, new show, new stage.

[ music | Steve Winwood – Valerie ]

You know, I’ve moved quite a few times in my life. I think I’m currently at move number 24. Most were within a small radius as a kid. A couple were across town, a couple were around 75 miles, and now I’ve finished my third move of 500+ miles. That’s not counting travel; I’ve never been overseas, but I’ve been to Mexico once, and Canada three times (four if you count veering into the Canadian side of Lake Erie, but that was an accident), and 28 states. Also, I hate lines, I much prefer pacing. Apparently I’m not one for standing around, neither metaphorically nor literally.

So that brings me back to the third 500+ mile move (I’m going to gloss over the first two). Technically I’m counting road miles and not as-the-crow-flies partly because it sounds more impressive and partly because I’m not a crow. From north western PA (a cultural desert, if I may say so (and I may, I was born in Pittsburgh, I can get away with insulting the crappy parts of PA, so bugger off)) to south eastern Virginia. I packed my car up, and hit the road. It’s fun driving on the freeway with a table strapped to the roof of your car, you should try it.

And you know what? For the first time in my life, I have absolutely not a single ounce of regret or homesickness. It’s fabulous here. I arrived a bit ago and never got around to blogging about it until now. The fact that it’s so flat here is starting to sink in, but other than that, it’s great. And I never thought I’d wind up in The South. Granted, Virginia isn’t exactly on the equator, but it’s below the Mason-Dixon line, and it’s a place I never imagined myself until last November.

And tonight I went to a “tweet up”. What’s a tweet up? It’s like a meet-up but for Twitter people. What’s Twitter? It’s like crack for the ADD crowd; tell the world what you’re doing in 140 characters. Yes, I have a Twitter page too. It’s a lot harder for me to use though. I’ve written a ream of short fiction and two books with a third in process. For me to say anything in 140 characters is like packing a dozen clowns in one of those little cars. I’m most assuredly 10 pounds of manure, and Twitter is a 10 ounce bag. But the tweet-up was awesome. There was a whopping 6 people tonight, and I’m quite sure I talked enough that none will ever come to another one, but I had a blast. I forgot how much fun I have jumping into the deep end feet first.

So here I am. New town, new home, a whole new smorgasbord of opportunities, and I feel 20 again. I don’t look 20, but I sure feel it. Of course, I didn’t look 20 when I was 20, so that’s nothing new. One person at the tweet up was a quite ambitious, hard working, impressive, and beautiful young woman who was a touch older than me, but looked easily ten years younger than she is, and mentioned her husband is about that much older than her. This told me two things: one, that he is a VERY lucky man, and two, there might actually be hope for me yet. If a guy who is that much older can land a beautiful and amazingly talented woman like that, a guy like me who just looks it still has a chance. 😉 Hidden Egg

All in all, I’m glad to be here. Stay tuned, it’s the same old me, but this is going to be a whole new show. and you bet your sweet bippy it’ll be even more interesting.

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Pittsburgh Steelers – 6 time Superbowl champs

[ music | Queen – We Are The Champions ]

No team has ever won 6 Superbowls until now. One for the other thumb.

No team has ever won 6 Superbowls until now. One for the other thumb.

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Seven things you don’t care about

[ music | Dido – Me ]

Blame Daniel Glazman, it’s his fault. 😉

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Let the self indulgence begin!

  1. Building on Dan’s medical theme
    • As a child I had some severe migraine headaches. They’d last for days, and I’d just sleep the whole time, but they’d also be accompanied by incredibly high fevers above 105°F. I’m told by doctors it’s a miracle it didn’t cause any brain damage.  I’m told by friends it most certainly did.
    • In 2006 I got to enjoy the agony of gallstones. I mentioned that, and the subsequent removal of said gall bladder. I have a rather high tolerance for pain, you see. My major attack in October had been increasing in discomfort and pain for about 18 hours before I finally went to the ER. I thought it was bad gas or indigestion. This had happened twice before and passed long before it felt this bad. I was crossing the street, and nearly passed out, so I grabbed a cab home and called 911 (I was still caring for my mother at home and wanted her in the ambulance with me so she didn’t worry, here’s why). Turns out I had developed acute pancreatitis and was in shock. Apparently shooting pains throughout your abdomen is a bad sign, and you should get help. Lesson learned!
  2. I used to run a Mozilla news site called Mozilla News. It’s gone now, the domain lapsed, but you can read our old stuff via Internet Archive. I broke some news a time or two that some people weren’t happy about, but over all, I think we did a lot of good for the community. Also, we had the first animated favicon ever.
  3. I was engaged once.
  4. I got to meet and shake hands with Bill Clinton during his 1996 campaign. He came to Pittsburgh in August and had a rally in the Sewall Center at Robert Morris College (now Robert Morris University). Amazing guy.
  5. My first computer was a TRS 80 Model 100 (I had the printer too!). I loved that computer. It was very light and incredibly portable, ran on 4 AA batteries, and had a built in 300 baud modem. Once I bought the modem cable and started checking out local BBSes, my entire world changed forever. I bought a second one, cut off one modular connector and attached alligator clips, and went phreaking. Some of the best times of my life.
  6. About a decade or so ago, I got hit by my own car. I was at a motel and someone tried to steal my car. I heard it start up, ran out, and stood in the middle of the parking lot. He drove right into me, and I rolled up the hood, over the windshield, and off the side. I hurt my back, but no broken bones or cuts.
  7. I’m a published author. I’ve been published in a couple poetry reviews, a technical book, and most recently tech-edited a book for Wiley, HTML, XHTML, and CSS: Your visual blueprint. I’m also about 170+ pages into a novel, but that’s another story. (Get it? Another STORY? Ha-ha! (that one’s for dolske))

So, now I need to harass seven other people about this.

  1. Justin Dolske because he’s a punny guy.
  2. Chris Thomas because he’s a really smart guy.
  3. Josh Soref because he’s a genuinely nice guy.
  4. Jeff Walden because is hard to find.
  5. J. Boriss because I’m still looking for Natasha.
  6. Sean Umphlet who is a good guy and will not give you up nor let you down.
  7. Tim De Pauw who is my favorite waffle (and a good musician).


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Another day in paradise.

[ music | R.E.M – Try Not to Breathe ]

Well, crisis averted, the world moves on. The bleeding was minimal, stopped fast, and by Sunday night, the only lasting effect was some decreased use of her right hand. The musculature is just as strong, she can squeeze her fingers just as well as ever, but opening her hand doesn’t seem to work, so she’s going to need some rehab for that. Other than that, there’s no slurred speech, no muscle tone loss, no drooping of the facial muscles on the right side, zip.

They were unable to find the cause of the clot, however. They did CT scans and an MRI with contrast, a body scan to look for tumors, did an echo cardiogram, blood work, nothing abnormal showed up. During the MRI, they were looking for aneurysms, and found none, but they did find four older small clots. Before now no one had determined the physical cause of her dementia, so there’s some speculation these may have been at least a partial cause. It’s odd because there were never any symptoms of stroke, so both the unknown origin of these clots and when they occurred are mysteries. But they put her on heparin in the hospital, and she’s on a long term blood thinning agent. She’s back at the home and doing quite well now.

One of these days I’m going to get a little rest, too. 🙂

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One step forward, two steps back…

[ music | I’m not playing any music… ]

My mom’s now had a stroke, with some bleeding in the brain.

She had recovered somewhat from the incident a couple weeks ago, but not fully. She was markedly worse than before, and there were progressions of her disease that made it impossible for me to continue to care for her at home any longer. I was receiving great help from the UPMC Northwest social worker, and we were working on placing her in a nearby nursing home that has a special dementia unit, but they didn’t have any openings yet. We were going to have to move her Friday the 20th. We were going to have to temporarily place her in a facility about 25 miles away until the nearby home had an opening. Thursday night, a resident passed away, opening up a bed. This meant mom could go directly to the near facility where she was going to end up sooner or later anyway. to the family of the woman who passed, my condolences. That woman didn’t linger long, thankfully, she took a bad turn just a few days prior, and wasn’t conscious during that time. She died quickly and painlessly, with her loved ones near. It also allowed for the best possible care for my mother to happen, prevent a temporary stay far away, and two transports that could provide for emotional stress to a dementia patient.

I visited her yesterday. She was already doing better than she had been in the hospital, being calmer and easier to talk with. She even managed to get a good night’s sleep last night. She was eater better too.

Today, about 2pm, I got a call from the home. She was being helped into the bathroom, and collapsed. “She seemed to pass out.” They got her back to her bed, but she seemed to be having weakness on the right side, and didn’t seem to be able to squeeze the nurse’s fingers. There was some concern it might be a stroke. I agreed and they sent her back to the hospital ER. It was a stroke, and it had started to bleed. A combination of an ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. She’s been flown by med-evac helicopter to Pittsburgh.

She’s not in the ICU, so she’s not imminently critical. She’s in the neurological unit while they run a gamut of tests such as a CT angiogram on her head to determine exactly what is going on with the brain blood vessels. I have no idea what else is happening, won’t find out till later and tomorrow. In the meantime I have to figure out when, and more importantly how to get down there. My car’s undergoing a transmission transplant and while it was nonfunctional I let the insurance go, I need to get insurance again. This was all going to happen at the beginning of next month with some paychecks coming in. Nothing like extra stress to keep you on your toes.

P.S. I just turned 29 in March. She’s only 63. This isn’t the kind of thing you expect at these ages. Not that anyone ever expects it…

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[ music | John Cage – 4’33” ]

Today we had a hearing at the hospital. On Thursday, since my mother was not in a condition to admit herself, I had to make an involuntary commitment. Today’s hearing was to determine if there was cause to continue the involuntary commitment for up to another 20 days. There was a court appointed attorney to represent her. His job was to strenuously argue her case. The social worked from the hospital said that this attorney was quite good at it, and had several times successfully convinced the court clerk (who reports to a judge) to release a person against the doctors’ advice. After speaking with my mother for a few moments, the only thing he asked the doctor during his “cross examination” was what happens if she needs to stay past 20 days. There are contingencies for that the doctor explained. The attorney put up no argument against keeping my mother at the hospital. She’s extremely incoherent.

During the next 20 days the hospital social workers are helping me place her in a care facility nearby. There are two excellent facilities with ten miles of me, luckily.

What this means is my mom left home Thursday, and isn’t coming back. I miss my mom. It wasn’t supposed to end this way. It wasn’t supposed to happen so fast.

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Adventures in Medicine

[ music | Depeche Mode – Strangelove ]

Ok, so, in 6.75 hours I have to be at the hospital. wish me luck. Make me feel better and buy me a calendar from my wish list. 🙂

Update, 6:30pm, Dec 8: Yarr, I’m home. Sore, but gallbladderless. BBL, as I’m frackin’ tired.

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