Monday, December 30, 2013

Lolbama Adjunct 29 December 2013

Here are a few I thought up. I have more i you'd like. Leave a comment or two to let me know.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My 4th Aneurversary

Well, today marks four years to the day since I had my close encounter with death, when an aneurysm at the base of my brain burst and landed me in intensive care for a few weeks. I'm not going to recount the whole story, but if you're interested, you can find it here.

Unfortunately, year four has not been a good one. I finished year three sliding into a depression that has never gone away. I've beaten it back for a little while at times, but it won't leave me. Medication isn't working, therapy isn't working, nothing seems to work. I'm starting to think this is the new normal. It has truly been the worst year of my life.

And I don't see any improvement on the horizon.

If I had known back in 2009 that 2013 was coming, I think I would have refused to get in the ambulance. In fact, as it stands now, if it happened again, I definitely would not go. I would say my goodbyes, swallow a handful of pain pills to take the edge off, and slip away.

When I first got out of the hospital, any headache (and they were frequent) was a cause for alarm. I wondered each time whether it was happening again. Now, with every twinge of pain comes the hope that it will finally be my time. I find myself rooting for it. Unfortunately, they mapped the blood vessels in my head, and didn't find any cause for concern.

I'm considering revoking my medical power of attorney and rewriting my living will to say not only no extreme measures, but no measures at all. I don't even want to be taken to the emergency room, because they will feel it incumbent upon them to do something, regardless of my stated wishes, as they will fear a lawsuit. I'd like to avoid that possibility/
There would be those who say there is a simple solution to the problem, which there would be, if I didn't believe in the eternal nature of the human spirit. Without that, it would be simple to just go away forever. But, knowing what I do, that would just create more suffering in the next world. If I could just will myself out of existence, I would. Just stop being. End the pain. But I can't, so on I go.

I know that God wants us to endure to the end, but is it a sin to hope the end comes soon? I'm tired and I'm hurting. I know he saved me for some reason, for some work. I hope I finish whatever I need to do soon. I feel like Han did in Star Wars: "No reward is worth this." Also, I think of Luke telling Han that the reward will be "more wealth than [he] can imagine. And Han replies: "I don't know. I can imagine quite a bit."

It's like that old Footprints poem. I know there's only one set of footprints, and I know God has been carrying me for some time now. I just don't know if I will ever be able to walk on my own again. I know, too, that he's always with me, but I still feel lost and alone. I've gone to a place where my family will not follow, and while I can't turn back, I don't know if I can continue forward.

I'm hurting.

This is year four.

I hope I don't see year five.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. Though money was a little tight this year, and the gifts fewer in number, the extra hours I've been working have meant I have no extra debt, while the kids got exactly what they asked for, and my wife got the home defense system she had been wanting.

What did I get, you ask?

Well, my son gave me a t-shirt with the school logo on it, which I will wear proudly. My daughter got me a strange keychain-like pen thingy with a flashlight-type thing on it, as well as an actual flashlight. She gave me a keychain with a light on it last year. I wonder if she sees the darkness overcoming me... She also made me a decorative plate with a Christmas Tree on it.

My mom is giving us money again this year, for our winter waterpark vacation, and my brother will have some goofy thing, probably a book or two of crazy, funny stuff that I will laugh over the rest of the year.

What's that? What did my wife get me?

Same thing she got me last year: "I thought we said we weren't getting each other anything this year." Which we didn't. But if I were to say that, she would distinctly remember that we had, so I must be mistaken. Last year, we did actually say that, but I changed my mind and surprised her. This year, we didn't. And she was still surprised.

Not that I expected anything different. I could have taken the disappointment, though.

I wonder what the truth is. Did she really think we said that? Was she erroneously remembering last year? Or does she just not care enough to make even a token effort?

I don't know.

And at this point, I'm just about beyond caring.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Bittersweet Anniversary

A year ago today I started a conversation that began the most influential friendship I have ever known. This relationship had more positive influence on my life, effected more change for the better in me as a person, than any other I have known. Sadly, it ended, and the manner in which it ended has left me in despair for months.
I'll start at the beginning.

It all started as a discussion over a movie recommendation. It was just an ordinary comment thread, but it turned into a conversation. For her part, she was amazed that I was so friendly to a complete stranger, while I was amazed by her, in general. She was intelligent, articulate and funny. Just an all around great person.

She was maybe the most beautiful person I'd ever met. Then she posted a picture. She was VERY good looking, too! Horribly pretty, in fact. And I told her so. That was a turn of phrase that tickled her imagination and sense of humor. It was kind of funny, though: I may THINK a lot of compliments, but it is not always easy for me to actually SAY them, even online. I felt a nudge to say something, almost a call, and I couldn't resist it. Even more amazing: She has no clue how beautiful she really is. Not an inkling.

Soon enough, she did a little digging and a friend request appeared on my Facebook account. In fact, I was just about to ask her to do this. Synchronicity. There was a lot of that. We often answered each others wuestions before they were even asked. Our first Facebook chat lasted maybe a couple minutes, although the clock said about three hours. But what does the clock know?

I KNEW, as surely as I know anything, that this was someone I needed to know, that I needed a friendship with. I tried to invite my wife into the friendship, with pretty disastrous consequences. She was less than amused. Violently opposed, in fact. I tried a couple of times to stop things in their tracks, but eventually, the call was too much for me to resist: I HAD to be a friend to this woman.

I have mentioned that she was intelligent, articulate and funny, but that really understates the power of her personality. She's like a lighthouse on a stormy night. Her spirit is a shining light that draws one toward her. And she was in pain. She was experiencing hard times in her personal life, and I felt like I could do something to ease the problems, if just by lending a sympathetic ear, so I did. And, as I had problems in my life, she would listen to me, giving me comfort and sympathy. Symbiosis.

Though we kept contact sparse for quite a while, communicating mostly in comment threads, my wife starting treating me as though I was diseased. There had been problems before, things that were unsaid. Our communication was not very good, for quite a long time. They got much worse. We went to marriage counseling, our last session of which ended in a shouting match. We didn't speak more than two words at a time to each other for almost six months. Meanwhile, my friend was a source of comfort and support.

In one of our sessions, I told my wife a hard truth: I had sacrificed relationships with a son (that I gave up for adoption), and my father, with whom she didn't get along, in order to build my relationship with her. It was the right thing to do when it was done. But this woman, this friend that I had just met was the one for whom I was putting my foot down: I would not give up my friendship. I had sacrificed too much to be treated like that. She was upset and went to my mom, who told her that it was absolutely true. That also upset her.

Meanwhile, my friendship was growing closer. We started calling each other brother and sister, and I felt there was truth to that, that we were family of some sort. I still do.

Soon enough, she offered to share something deeply personal with me: her religious faith. I told her not to expect me to convert, or anything, but that I was interested from a purely academic perspective. I started reading Scriptures, and reseaching, and came to the uncomfortably wonderful conclusion that she was teaching me the absolute truth. She appeared happy with each new discovery I made, and seemed both a teacher and a fellow traveller. A kindred spirit.

At one point, she asked me to write her a "bedtime story," a fairy tale, because she liked the way I wrote. So I did. I told a story about a common man, loosely based on me, who risks everything to save a beautiul princess. Entirely based on her. It grew from what was going to be a couple of pages to 10,000 words. Not great, but amusing enough, I guess. I kind of see her as a Disney Princess: She perserveres through all the hardship and gives us all hope that we might as well. Personally, I see her as Belle, not just because the name is fitting, but also because she's bright and curious. Also, there's the whole Beast thing. But that's something else, altogether.

Over the summer, we talked frequently, until maybe the beginning or middle of August. She suddenly became somewhat distant. I don't know why. She stopped responding to my emails as frequently. I knew something was troubling her, but she wouldn't share it with me, said she couldn't. I tried, maybe too hard, to cheer her up, but she just grew more distant.

Eventually, I made a move to show her how important her friendship was to me, and it all blew up in my face. You could say I acted Brashfully. Since that day, I have been miserable. I know I hurt her, that I misread a number of signs that I was digging myself deeper, but I still don't understand the vehemence of the reaction. I just wanted to show her that she was adored and appreciated. Cherished.

And then she was gone.

But that's another story, for another time.

I DID eventually convert. What I learned from her was Truth. That cannot be denied, whether she wants my friendship or not. I wish she could have been there. It would have made the night perfect. Now I have no one to share each new experience with. My wife is less than enthused and kind of actually hates my church,

In church, I heard someone say that people who see the world in black and white just don't have enough light to see everything in color. She was that shining light to me. It was like The Wizard of Oz, where everything starts out in black and white, then turns to brilliant, beautiful color. But at the end, wverything is in black and white again. My world may not have gone back to black and white, but it has slowly faded to sepia tones.

Early on in the friendship, I made an offhand remark about a time when two women were fighting over me. I said that it had made me "feel like a god." Her response was a question that threw my wife into a frenzy: "Do I make you feel like a god?" My wife interpreted it one way, I another, and it was actually meant in a third, which had theological underpinnings. My response at the time was "No." But, as I have gone on and learned more, my response would be quite different. It would not be "yes", but it would not be "no," either. In truth, she made me feel like I COULD be.

She was the friend I risked everything for. And I have lost much. I often wish I were the hero of the story I wrote for her. His sacrifice is paid in full. The final tally of mine has yet to be determined.

I have had many friendships through the years, a few have ended badly, most have just faded away. This is the first one I have ever truly mourned. I miss her so much. She showed me eternity, then went away. Now every day feels like an eternity. She cared about me, even when I didn't. She made me feel special, even though I'm not. I loved that my words could make her smile and feel better. She loves words. She always wanted someone to write about haw much they loved her and needed her. And the sad irony is that, now that someone has, she will probably never read it.

I just hope she knows that, this winter, as the temperature drops, the wind howls and the snow blows, there is someone out here thinking warm thoughts of her. I hope Santa brings her everything she wants and needs.

If I could say one thing to her, a true goodbye, it would be this:

I love you, Baby Sis. I miss you. I miss your friendship. I'm so sorry I hurt you. Please forgive me. I love you.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Question

You know the song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?

It starts out "You know Dasher and Dancer"... and so on to "...Donner and Blitzen,"

Okay, fine to there. But then: "Do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all?"

If you assume I know those 8, lesser  known, more obscure reindeer, why wouldn't I recall the most famous of all???

These are the thing that keep me up at night,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Music Time: Tom Lehrer - So Long, Mom!

In honor of the outstanding statesmanship and hard work put in by Secretary of State John Kerry in securing a nuclear weapons agreement with Iran that the President can proudly put his name to, I present a song by Tom Lehrer from the 60s, detailing what I think is the logical outcome of their fine dimplomacy.

I think that about suns it up.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Miracle

This video is really corny and sappy, but it makes me feel a little better.

I always wished I could give someone a completely unexpected surprise of something they wanted/needed.

I tend to have bad luck along those lines...

Anyway, it's the Christmas Season. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pure Genius

These test answers are, at times, incredibly wrong, but also totally right.
Check it out.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Death in the Family

In the early afternoon of December 10th, my wife's grandmother died. It was not unexpected. She was 93, and outlived her husband of 70+ years by almost a year exactly. She had a good long life, leaving 4 children, 7 grandchildren and a whole bunch of great-grandchildren, including our two.

She loved to bake, making crazy good pecan pies, and she made quilts that all of her family members love to use, because they're soft and warm.

She was a good woman, and will be missed.

If anyone out there can spare a prayer for her and for her family, I'm sure it would be appreciated.

My wife and kids will attend the calling hours on Friday and the funeral in Saturday. I have been politely invited to stay home.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Call for the Priest

I'm not sure how this happened (actually, I know exactly how it happened, I just don't really believe it), but in just over six months, I've gone from a guy with out a church, a guy who was barely even really Christian, to an ordained priest. And NO, not with the Universal Life Church. I got that YEARS ago.

It was a simple ceremony, like so much of what happens at church, but it was powerful and meaningful and left me with a feeling of Good. There was even a vote of church members as to whether I should receive the Priesthood, which was unanimous (They usually are). I really wish I felt worthy of this honor, but I still feel pretty much like an unworthy slug.

Anyway, I can't perform weddings (yet), but I CAN perform baptisms, and prepare and bless the Sacrament (That's Communion, for all you Catholics out there), as well as some other nifty things

As a former sort of Catholic, "priest" had a somewhat different connotation (NO I WASN'T AN ALTAR BOY!!), but the duties are the same: Preach the Gospel and bring people to Christ. In fact, I already have a friend in mind who might benefit from a change of church, whom I would like to bring along. She may come with me, she may not. But I will try.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Music Time - The Fray - Enough for Now

This popped up on one of my Pandora channels for some reason. It's not generally my type of music, but it really hit me just right.

Even reading the lyrics I can't really figure out what it's about, exactly, but it strikes me as indescribably sad.

And that I can identify with.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanks, Barry!

This Thanksgiving season, one of my longtime co-workers got some welcome news: The monthly premium on her family's healthcare plan was only going up $12!

Of course, the deductible went from $1000 to $7000, but hey: eggs, omelets, etc.

Of course, with my somewhat conservative bent, I reminded her who told her this was going to happen: Not just me, but pretty much every conservative in the country.

She, like me, is something of a medical miracle: neither of us would be alive if it weren't for modern medical science. So, I gently reminded her of the millions of dollars that the Death Panels could save by refusing us care as "Not worth the expense involved."

On the bright side, after 60 years, she now can finally get free birth control.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alea Iacta Est

The die is cast.
In these latter days, it's imperative to know where one stands, and to commit to it.

So I did.

I have now been baptized into my church, becoming a member. I wouldn't have guessed I would be doing this a year ago, but there you go.

Now, when any asks me which side I'm on in the battle between Good and Evil, I will tell them I stand with God.

I, naturally, have pictures of the event.

These are the two missionaries who were with me for most of my instruction.
I'm the fat guy in the middle.
The one on the right was Elder Elwood, which is funny.
It's funny because I called both of his partners Elder Jake.
They're on a mission from God 
 These are the two missionaries prior to my baptism.
 This Brother Owens, who performed my baptism.
He's an awesome guy.
 Me, immediately post-immersion.
 Then I bore testimony to the things that lead to my conversion.
Well, some anyway.
 Brother Owens and I
My wife showed up and brought the kids, which was not a forgone conclusion.
I quoted them in my testimony, by name.
They were instrumental in my conversion.

Anyway, it was a pretty good evening. We had more people than seats to put them in, and more who couldn't make it for various reasons. My new church mates are friendly and awesome.

An interesting factoid: The confirmation the next day involves the laying on of hands and a blessing. Ever since that happened, I have had a strange but wonderful feeling. I feel almost as though I could shoot lightening bolts from my fingertips. It's a good feeling,

Sadly, my mom didn't make it nor did the friend I said hated me enough to defininitely not want to come. Other than that, good time was had by all.

I really love my new church and wish I had someone to share that with.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Music Time: Asylum Street Spankers - Lee Harvey

A day late and a dollar short, here are the Asylum Street Spankers with a song about everyone's favorite communist assassin and the shooting of JFK.

It's pretty good, but content warning for one f-bomb in the intro. If you skip to the music, you'll miss that entirely.

If you haven't heard the Spankers, I'll post more later. One of the best live bands EVER.

And if you like that one, I've got a serious NSFW below, Shave 'em Dry, a cover of an old blues tunes from Lucille Bogan.Filthy, but awesome.

Told you it was awesome.

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Invitation to My Suicide

Growing up Catholic, I have always thought of baptism as the obvious symbol of the washing away of sins, in the view of Catholicism, that's generally viewed as the Original Sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. But as I studied and read more, I realized that that's not the main purpose of the ordinance.
Baptism is referred to by Paul in Romans 6:4 as a burial. We are buried witrh Christ into death through baptism. Then we are resurrected into life, through faith in Him, symbolized by rising from the water.

I had never before thought of baptism as a metaphor for the resurrection of Christ. But it is.

But, in order to be buried and rise again, one must first die. And this is by choice, at our own hand.

So, in that spirit, I would like to invite anyone out there who happens to be in the Greater Akron (Ohio) area that is interested to attend my (highly symbolic) ritual suicide. It will be Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. The church is at 106 E Howe. Rd in Tallmadge.

I hope when I "rise again," it's as someone better. I've known me for many years, and I have to say: Not a fan. I'm not really sure why God wants me, but he's been calling to me pretty strongly, and if He'll have me, maybe I'm not as bad as I think.

There will probably be a bunch of people from the Rootstown Ward there, and maybe a few from the Tallmadge Ward, and I managed to talk my wife into attending and bringing the kids, as well. I think my mom will also be there. So, a pretty good crowd.

The only dark spot on the day is, sadly, the one person whom I would most wish could attend now hates me so badly as to never want to speak to me again. That has ripped my soul into pieces, the edges raw and bleeding. I wish there were some way to atone, but I guess some things are unforgiveable.

So it goes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Settled Law

I thought that with the Obamacare meltdown in full swing, and Queen Nancy and others out there still letting us know that It's. The. Law. and that it's "Settled Law," that I might take a look at other laws that were "Settled Law," at least until they weren't.

Remember, it's only "Settled Law" when the "Progressives"  and democRats like it, otherwise, it's only a suggestion.

So, bearing this in mind, here are some "Settled Laws" throughout history. (Warning: One pretty gruesome image after the jump (or maybe two))

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Music Time (with Pictures!) GWAR - Slaughterama!

I had the opportunity a few nights ago to spend an hour or so in the Slave Pit at the House of Blues in Cleveland. It was a bloody mess, and AWESOME! I'll post a few pictures that I took, in order to complement the video, Slaughterama, which GWAR didn't play on Wednesday, alas.

(Total content warning, for language as well as massive blood flow)

Pictures follow.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Music Time: New Model Army - Family

This song has been going through my head for a couple of days now. It's from one of my favorite bands, New Model Army, off what I consider one of the best albums of all time, Thunder and Consolation,

It's about alienation, loneliness and trying to find someone who accepts us. It's called Family.

Another Day, Another Anti-depressant

Well, I have another appointment with my doctor tomorrow, the first since I almost got pinkslipped and sent for a three-day vacation. I'm going for an evaluation of the efficacy of my anti-depressant, which are having minimal to no effect. I'm wondering if it's going to do any good.

I've been on meds now for almost 6 months, and they seemed to have some effect at first, but by mid-August, I was back to feeling way down.  And it's only gotten worse since. I've been depressed for over a year, and this last month was the worst of all, even with the new meds.

I don't know if anyone is out there listening, or if anybody cares. I seem to have alienated pretty much everyone I care for, and that cares for me (or that I thought cared for me). I can't think of one person that I've spent any significant time with that could, over the last year, say that my presence in their life has been a net positive, on balance. If I could take a magic eraser and erase my presence from everyone's lives over the last year, the happiness level of the world would rise significantly. I'd do it if I could.

I've pretty much alienated everyone, I guess.

I wonder if the way I feel is my New Normal. Sometimes I wonder if I've had another stroke that destroyed the happiness center of my brain. I'm tired and feel really alone. The only consolation is that I'm pretty sure I'm over halfway through. I can't imagine another 44 years.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Military Homecomings

This is a week or two old, but I just saw it a few hours ago, and figure it's totally awesome for Veterans' Day (Which ended a little while ago).

Hey Everybody, It's Music Time

I wanted to share this tune. It starts out like a pretty good Metallica cover, then takes a left turn into bizarre.

Make sure you stick around at least through the first verse.

It's amazing how well this fits together.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans' Day Turnabout

Today is Veterans' Day and I thought I would turn things around here a little bit.

I spent over four years in the Navy, though I'm almost embarrassed to admit it. Why? you might ask. Well, I feel I got so much more out of it than I put in. In my time, I got an education, an Associate's Degree, on the job experience and I got paid while I was doing it all. Essentially, I got the tools necessary for the job I'm doing to this day, more than 15 years after I got out. (I'll be 20 years (!) from my ship-out date on Wednesday.)

So, I get a little embarrassed by all the people thanking me. What I want to do is take this opportunity to thank YOU.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Thank you for the experiences and education I had.

Thank you for giving me a nation worth serving.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Building a Testimony

Today in church, I ha a chance to share the story of my alcoholism, from its inception 20 years ago to my eventual sobriety in 2005. Through the last 6 months or so, I have done a lot of reflecting and a lot of praying, which is a very new experience for me. However, it has given me a lot of insight into my past and the places and times where the Hand of God has truly had an effect in my life.

It's funny, really. I have known my story for years. I ought to: I've lived it. But in the past six months, I've come to see it from a new perspective, sort of like the second Back to the Future movie, where we get to see future Marty McFly running around behind the scenes while past Marty McFly is doing all the stuff from the first movie. Or maybe those Making of Star Wars specials they had on TV when I was a kid, where you'd think, "So THAT's how they did that!" I look back and see where the Holy Spirit has rewarded me for making difficult decisions, often nearly immediately, and I can see where bad decisions have resulted in negative effects.

Lots of bad decisions. I've made a few recently that I would give pretty much anything short of my soul to make right.

It's a little like that old Footprints poem, where God says, "Where there is only one set of footprints is where I carried you." I have some perspective now to see those places, and I can see a good number of them, as well as a number where he dragged me kicking and screaming.

As I looked back, I could see numerous inflection points where my life had been improved by Divine intervention, and if I were to plot a curve through those points, that curve would lead straight to the baptism I have now scheduled for the 23rd of November. I don't know what lies beyond that for me, but I've learned you can never see the top of the mountain before you actually attain the summit.

It felt really good to tell everyone about the trouble I'd had, and the help I'd had in overcoming it. There are a lot of converts like me, and one gentleman told me that I'm "not alone" in the troubles I'd had. There was a lot of support and many comments afterward. I felt relieved. I wanted the people there to know that the guy they're getting isn't perfect, not even close, but he's trying.

For the first time in my life I've found a church that I can believe in. A church that makes sense to me. A church that feels right to me and FOR me.

And for the first time in a long time, I can see a future beyond the next few weeks.

P.S. If anyone is going to be in the Akron area on the 23rd of November and would like to attend, you can feel free to drop me a line. We would love to have you.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reading List: Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury

In his collection of short stories, The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury included one entitled Kaleidoscope.

The recent movie Gravity is similar enough in concept to have a number of people wondering if the movie was based on the story. I suspect that the concept was inspired by the story, as so much of modern science fiction is influenced by the works of Bradbury, but the two are dissimilar enough to warrant no more than an "inspired by," rather than a "based on." 

Go ahead, click the link and read the story. It's a worthwhile read.

See the movie as well. In 3D. Definitely in 3D. The story is alright, but the cinematography will blow you away. The feeling of utter isolation and despair is palpable, and one I am very familiar with.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Double Entendre Theater

This conversation actually took place, between my 7-year-old son, El Boyo Loco, and I.

We were discussing a rather difficult trail on our annual Fall Hiking Spree.

Boy: I bet you and me are the only ones in the whole family who've been on that trail.

Me: No, your mom hiked it once, but she won't do it again.

Boy: Why not?

Me: Because it's too hard.

Boy: Mom doesn't like hard things?

Me: Um. I didn't say that...

Hooray for Boobies!

Whenever I get to feeling down, which seems to be every day recently, I I go to my computer and look at pictures of one of my favorite photographic subjects: Boobies.

Thanks to the internet, I can look at boobies any time of the day or night, at home or at work. Heck if I had a smart phone, I could look at boobies on it while I was on the road.

I thought that, if it works to cheer me up a little, it might work for you, so I'm going to post some of the pictures of boobies that I like the best, that keep me from going insane.

Here they are:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fraud Alert: Fake Websites

I've heard a report that there are over 700 fake Obamacare websites trolling for victims.
Supposedly, most of them look almost exactly like the authentic version except for one critical feature: You can actually log on and apply.

Caveat Emptor.

Bad Day at Work

What a crummy day.

If you don't know, I work in a medical lab, with lots of high-tech equipment and computers and stuff. Even when things run smoothly, it can be challenging. But when things go awry, it can be insane.

Today when I got there, they were changing the tanks that purify water for our chemistry analyzers. We need our water to be very, VERY  pure, in order that it doesn't affect the analysis of the whatever's being analyzed.

So, the day starts out with me having to carry jugs of water across the lab and filling the reservoirs by hand. And those analyzers go through water by the gallon. 

And one of the analyzers was just starting to go out on me, which it proceeded to do right about the time first shift left.

And my quality control wouldn't work, so I had to recalibrate, which is time consuming.

And I kept running out of water, because I had to keep filling the jugs and lug them out and empty them. Which makes the analyzers stop cold. And to get them to work correctly again they have to be shut down and restarted. Which takes 15 minutes.

So, I had an analyzer I couldn't use, because it was starting to throw out random values, which is an indication that something ain't right. I had analyzer that kept running out of water and needing to be restarted. And my "automation" line was lighting up and screaming at me from one end to the other.

I put automation in quotes because I really don't think it's very automated when you have to keep getting up and fixing it every time it malfunctions, which is about every five minutes. I'm pretty sure the concept of automation is to AVOID doing everything manually.

And then all the interfaces went down. The lab computers couldn't communicate with the control system, which was having trouble communicating with the analyzer. Which meant, again, everything had to be done manually.

Add to that the fact that the user interface on the analyzers appears to have been programmed by a bunch of chimpanzees pounding on keyboards and it gets frustrating. The "troubleshooting" "help" is like something out of Lovecraft: If you look directly at, it you'll go mad. I'm pretty sure it's translated from some foreign language by someone who thinks throwing random English words onto a screen is the same as actually writing instructions in English.

I am usually pretty cool under this sort of pressure, but almost everything that COULD go wrong, DID go wrong. I didn't panic, but I sure was on the edge of losing it.

It was truly a testament to the fact that our second shift ROCKS that the work left for third shift was negligible, except for the analyzer that was down, which would have had to go down anyway for maintenance when they got in. I love my supervisor.

So, I hope your day/evening went a little better.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No One More Than He

Has anyone else noticed that in ever speech, TOTUS forces Obama to use the phrase, "Nobody's more _____ Than I am?" The most recent example was the botched rollout of Obamacare, following which he informed us that :No one is more upset over this than me." He absolutely must be the angriest, most upset, smarter, what ever than anyone else, every time.

I've thought of a few more that would fit the pattern that likely won't show up on TOTUS:

Choose your favorite:

Nobody is more _______ than Obama.

  • Angry
  • Unqualified
  • Unvetted
  • Incompetent
  • Mis-educated
  • Of a cipher
  • Opaque
  • Profligate with other people's money
  • Devoid of Actual Accomplishment
  • Overrated.
I'm sure someone out there can think of a few more. Feel free to leave some  in the comments!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beggar's Night

Well, I finally got my wife and kids through the door of my church on Friday night for their annual Halloween get-together. It went better than I expected.

There was a potluck dinner, followed by games for the kids, then trick-or-treating through the building. There was a pretty good turnout, from what I understand (I'm fairly new to the church), and there were a lot of kids for my kids to play with.

The kids got so much candy they could barely carry it all, and when I told them that that's what every Sunday is like, they ALMOST believed me.

For my wife's part, she met the wife of one of her co-workers, and some of the people I know from Sundays, and she talked with a number of them. I think she was a little surprised our heads weren't spinning around, or that we weren't chanting backwards in Latin.

It's a good thing we put of the sacrifice of the virgins until next week.

Anyway, some small hope for the future...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bending the Cost Curve

When the democRats forced Obamacare through Congress, they kept telling us they wanted to "Bend the cost curve of healthcare downward." Well, now that people are finding out how much their new policies are going to cost (because the old ones they could "keep" suddenly went away), let me remind you of why healthcare costs are so high in the first place: democRat government programs. Here's an illustration:

Those are real numbers by the way: For a unit of blood cells to be transfused, the government reimburses the hospital less than the hospital pays the Red Cross for that unit. And consider that at my hospital, approximately 60% of transfusions are to Medicare patients. 

So, where does that extra $17 come from? Take a wild guess.

This happens in other departments, as well. Ever wonder why a hospital charges $3 (or more) for a Tylenol pill? The government reimburses the pharmacy less than the pharmacy pays for a large variety of medications. 

So the democRats get the credit for "providing healthcare," and you get stuck with the tab.

And this is just ONE example of how liberal policies have CREATED the "crisis" that the democRats now claim that only more government can "solve."

Never let a crisis go to waste. And if there's no crisis, create one. It's the liberal Alinsky way.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Metaphor of the Day

It's been quite a while since I captioned this picture, maybe a year or so, but I think it is still not only relevant, but captures the subject matter perfectly.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Rumor

I heard a rumor that the old rumor that Cookie Monster from Sesame Street was going to be renamed Veggie Monster to coincided with Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" Program.

Apparently, all the fourth graders at my local school HATE her, because Cookie Monster is COOKIE MONSTER, darn it.

When you've lost the fourth graders...

Monday, October 21, 2013

In Praise of RINOs

I still like to consider myself an independent, though I have sworn never to vote for a democRat again. That doesn't mean I will vote for the Republican. It means he or she will have to earn my vote before I will mark my ballot for them. But, I have to admit: I've taken quite a liking to some of these RINO Republicans. You know, like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

Wait, I hear you say, "Those are the people who are standing up for the conservative cause, all the stuff on the Republican platform!"

Okay, I'll grant you that, but answer this: When was the last time you heard the Republican Party actually fight for what they say they stand for?

As far as I can see, since at least the late nineties, the Republicans have mostly been the democRat Party Lite. The government grows and grows and freedom slowly dies. While I would take Bush to Empty Chair any day of the week, we know we got more Medicare spending, and a behemoth Department of Homeland Security that seems to be doing everything but what it was supposed to be doing: Coordinating intelligence and security to keep the nation safe. Instead, we get Grandma felt up at the airport scanners, While burka-clad somethings get a Political Correctness Pass to go where they please. Does anyone really think an actual terrorist would have a problem putting on a burka to get through a scanner?

And despite being elected to the majority in the House of Representatives, the modus operandi for the past 3 years seems to be little more than SAYING they oppose Barry before they bend over and let him have his way.

Yes, the Republican Party is pretty pathetic these days. And they demonize those among them who who stand up for what the party ostensibly believes.

So, we now we know what a real Republican is: Some one who talks a good fight, but kneels before Caesar Barackus every time.

Give me RINOs like Cruz and Lee any day.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why I Hate "The American People"

Okay, so the title's kind of misleading. I don't hate the American People. I hate THE PHRASE, "The American People." It's typically used by some strutting, preening, posturing politician who wants to justify their latest piece of crap legislation by saying "But it's for The American People," as if that's justification enough.

For a prime example, you need look no further than Nancy Pelousy. This sad sack of something uses it constantly. The latest time I heard it come out of the rectal oriface on her face was when she was bleating about Obamacare. It went something like this: Finally The American People will be able to get the Healthcare they deserve.


You simply represent one district, and what a district it is: San Francisco. I will acknowledge that you represent them well, considering they're mostly drug-addled perverts who want to suck on the government teat. (Seriously, the fat old naked guys that walk the street are offended by the idea they might put a towel down before they sit. When did your "right" to wander around with your junk hanging out supersede my right not to have to sit in the snail trail of butt sweat you leave behind?) But the rest of the country? NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!

You'll hear the Searchlight Strangler himself, Harry Reid, talk about how the Tea Party Terrorists are holding the nation hostage, and they need to get out of the way, so our Benevolent Overlords can do the work of The American People. Well, you know what Harry? I'm one of those Tea Party Terrorists, I'm an American Person, and the only thing being held hostage around here is sanity, and it's the dumocRats on Crapitol Hill that have the nosse wrapped around it's neck.

For Harry the Pederast, it makes perfect sense to threaten to shut down the government while blubbering about Cowboy Poetry, but not over the takeover of one-sixth of the nation's economy.

You know what, Harry? I DON'T REMEMBER VOTING FOR YOU.

Of course, I don't live in Nevada, so I couldn't. Not that I would have. You know what? YOU DON'T REPRESENT ME, SO STOP PREDING YOU HAVE ANYTHING BUT ANIMOSITY TOWARD "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!"

And the Loser-in-Chief, in the Oval Office. Is there a speech in which the phrase isn't loaded into the teleprompter at least a dozen times? My favorite instance was the time he said, "The American People deserve better," and I thought, "You're right, we do. So. When can we expect your resignation?"

This moron trashes half the country he purports to represent and he does it on a non-stop basis. And then gets indignant when we complain. You know what over half "The American People" want? OBAMACARE REPEALED. So don't get into telling me what the American People want or need. You're nothing but a community agitator with no skills beyond that one speech you give over and over and campaigning. That's why the last four (almost five) years have been nothing but disaster after disaster, failure after failure, and YOU KEEP ACTING LIKE IT'S SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT!

This country is like a ship without a rudder, with a captain who'd rather play spades than steer.

And the Republicans have the same disease.

"The American People want..."

"The American People need..."

"The American People deserve..."


Maybe it's just me.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Descriptive Second Post

Okay, according to the Law of New Blogs, I'm supposed to write what amounts to the cover letter to a resumé and wow you with my bona fides.

Well, obviously, I'm Arik (note: see blog title), and I've been blogging on and off for years, most recently at Nuking Politics, where recent, stupid actions on my part made it best if I make a gracious, if abrupt, exit. Before that, the 2008 election cycle convinced me to try my hand at commentary. I wanted to be the next Thomas Paine, or maybe Ann Coulter, except mean. Instead, I ended up being the Dane Cook of political commentary. If you've ever seen Dane Cook, you know what I mean: He's up there doing SOMETHING, and it's obvious HE thinks it's funny, but no  one else can really be sure, either what it is he's doing, or whether it actually is funny.

Born and raised in Ohio, I've lived here all my life except for the four years the Navy sent my to California. I joined to see the world, and as far out of the country as I got was Avenida Revolución in Tijuana. However, while there, I learned the trade in which I continue to this day. I'm a med tech, and pretty good at it, I think. I work at a couple of hospitals, one full time, the other part time, and when I'm not working, I sleep. And sometimes do this. You may have seen some of my lolbamas over at IMAO.

Anyway, I think what I want to do here is more general and less political, about stuff that really irritates me. Some ranting, some raving, and maybe some sober reflection. But mostly the ranting and raving. I've got a lot of thoughts, and sometimes feel the need to share them, and all of you are going to be in the splash zone, so either bring a plastic tarp or be prepared to get covered in some sort of vegetable matter. Watermelons have totally been done, so not them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sucky First Post

According to "Harvey's Rules of Blogging for Beginners," this post should suck righteously.

So, here goes: I'm Arik, and these are my rabid rants, wherein I rant rabidly.

Me: Hey! I have a blog now!

You: Oh wow, how'd you get a blog?

Me: Oh, my folks drove it up here from the Bahamas

You: Oh wow, you're kidding!

Me: I must be, the Bahamas are island. Also, blogs don't have wheel.

So anyway, second, descriptive post upcoming, then some rants, some raves, and likely some googly eyed cute stuff.

All rave and no play makes Arik a cranky(er) boy.