Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Soundtrack

I do this every year. These songs are what I loved this year, or what reminds me of this year, and are arranged in my preferred listening order. The playlist fits on an 80-minute CD.

Download the zipped folder here. If the songs get lost in your media library, just search for the ones with the genre labeled "Dan2012".



1. Hospitality - The Birthday

I am a huge fan most every song on this album, so I start off the 2012 soundtrack with the opening song from their local show.


2. Beirut - Sante Fe

A song from 2011 I didn’t get around to liking until 2012, after seeing it on someone’s best-of-the-year list.

3. Surfer Blood - I’m Not Ready

Barbara liked their first record, and I loved this song and “Miranda” from their recent EP. I did not love when their lead singer pled no contest to battery of his girlfriend. This led to a conversation with my coworker about how that should impact my enjoyment of their songs - the Chris Brown dilemma, if you will. It led to a classic thought on her part:
One of my favorite artists, Richard Buckner was caught up in a thing when his truck was found with a burnt up severed head in the seat. I was conflicted, but then thought, “maybe most of his songs are about cutting people’s heads off?” and then somehow I was okay with it, cause his songs are good. He was cleared of the charges later.

4. Andrew Bird - Sifters

There are two outstanding songs on this album, and I have chosen this one over “Eyeoneye” for the playlist. This song is a mixture of Benjamin Button and “The Luckiest”, and should resonate more than that song, seeing as how this guy isn’t on his fourth wife like Ben Folds.

5. Thao and Mirah - Folks

I dunno. This song is good. It fits well at this spot in the playlist, I think.

6. Fruit Bats - You’re Too Weird

See? It just fits between these two songs.

7. Sleeper Agent - Proper Taste

I first heard this album with the windows down on a bright spring day and I was super pumped. But this is probably the only essential song, unless you really like hearing guys who sound like Jack White.

8. Hot Chip - Flutes

Maybe you’ll hate this, but if you’re on the fence, I think you’ll find after the thirtieth listen that your head will bob along happily.

9. Tegan & Sara - Closer

I first heard this live on Conan, and was confused when the first strange lilt was sung: clo - saaaAAAAAH! A few weeks later I heard it on the radio while driving, and a few weeks after that I bought the damn thing when I saw the album wasn’t going to be released for another 90 days. The video is pretty fun, too:
Tegan & Sara // "Closer" (Dir. Isaac Rentz) from More Media on Vimeo.

10. Rolling Stones - The Last Time

When Mick Jagger was on SNL with Arcade Fire, I kind of heard this song for the first time, you know? It’s not a classic rock staple I’ve heard a billion times like Satisfaction, and while it sounded like a bit of a mess on the 30 Rock stage, I liked the energy of the performance.

11. Veronica Falls - My Heart Beats

Sort of like a British, gothic, surf-rock Mamas and the Papas. Sort of.

12. Fiona Apple - Werewolf

I have a lot to say about this song, but it is stuck in draft form until Alipete finds the mojo to email me back. To be continued.

13. We Were Promised Jetpacks - Pear Tree

Hearing him shout metaphors before the drums and guitar ramped back up was a highlight of the Kansas City show. There is no other current band that sounds as great when played at high volume.

14. Menomena - Pique

Failure / Genitalia wins this year’s Soul Asylum Memorial Funeral / Urinal Half-Rhyme Award.

15. Metric - Lost Kitten

You may find her voice annoying on this track, but I dig it. It’s a hell of a lot less annoying than Lou Reed’s appearance on the album. “Youth Without Youth” is also worth hearing.

16. New Cassettes - Silent Guns

These guys opened for We Were Promised Jetpacks. My immediate opinion of them was dampened by the singer’s appearance and enthusiasm, because I am an asshole. In my defense, dude was wearing a bracelet or two.

17. New Order - Age of Consent

We used to use the New Order song on the Trainspotting soundtrack when we came out of commercials -- err, underwriting -- on my college radio show. Every now and then I’ll hear  another of their songs and wonder if I should dip deeper in the catalog.


18. Sauna Youth - PSI Girls

I cannot comprehend a word of it, but I thank Fluxblog for the recommendation. It sounds like something that should be playing over a montage -- I picture a bunch of incorrigible teens running wild on a Saturday night.

19. Sak Noel - Paso (The Nini Anthem)

I guess our trip to Providence was weird. The most memorable moments were tossing glass bottles into plastic tubs, mowing a lawn, seeing Floyd whip a squid carcass across a stream, and being exposed to this song in a hookah bar after stuffing ourselves with fresh seafood. If you’re worried that you don’t comprehend the deep meaning behind this song, the video will explain everything concisely:



20. Brett Gelman - I Am Bane

The Gelmania podcast is one-third chuckles, one-third insane stuff that isn’t too good, and one-third comedy gold. This is from episode 10, which was pretty great. My all-time favorite is probably episode 2, which features Adam Scott and Megan Mullally in a super fucked-up play, recorded live.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

K-State Ninety-Eight

Last Saturday, the University of Alabama lost a football game, which meant K-State was now in line to play in the national championship game. This week, a lot of people have mentioned the last time such a thing occurred.

It was December 5, 1998. Shawn and I drove to St. Louis' TWA Dome to watch our Wildcats play Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship Game. We were sophomores.

St. Louis, as usual, looked like garbage.


The A&M band, as usual, made shapes with themselves.


After K-State took a 17-3 lead, the arena announced Miami's upset of UCLA. We all cheered, knowing we were now in line to play in the national championship game. The scoreboard was photographed for posterity with my cheap camera. You'll have to trust me when I tell you it read Miami 49, UCLA 45.


My pals bought "Big 12 Champions" T-shirts at halftime, because we knew WE GOT THIS THING IN THE BAG.


Then we fumbled and stuff, and we lost in the second overtime.


Our group of friends drove to our shitty motel and ate terrible food at the Shoney's next door and everybody felt like shit for, like, the next year or the rest of our lives or so.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

What Does It Mean When You

Sometimes you forget how many tweens are slamming Google each day with silly questions. Search engines are mostly used by tweens and guys who were recently kidneypunched.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rogue Wave

Next to my horrific, prescription-medicated acne, my hair was my teenage self-esteem’s biggest enemy. It was parted on the left side of my head. Below the part, regular brown hair fell to my ear. Above the part, a large wave sat on the top of my head, followed by relatively normal hair on the right. Look at the button at the upper left of your keyboard, and picture the tilde punctuation mark sitting atop my dome, the right side of the wave higher than the left.

If your imagination won’t conjure that image, look at this yearbook photo from 1995.


Granted, this is not a perfect picture for examining my hair. I looked through all yearbooks as well as my personal photographs from that era, and came to the following conclusions:

1. Almost all of my pictures are from special occasions, before which I would have cut my hair short enough to limit its waviness.

2. Very few photos feature the top of my head.

3. The rise of digital photography means the average infant has more pictures of themselves than I have of my teenage years.

4. Our yearbook photographers were still learning how to use their equipment, and the lighting levels of those images were not helped by the printing process of the yearbook.

While this picture appears to show my participation in 1976 physics experiment, it’s instead an after-school Scholar’s Bowl practice circa “Wonderwall”. Focus on the light reflecting off my brown hair. You’ll see the wave atop my head.

Freshman year, In the locker room after showering, Phil loudly asked if I took a combed it normally until I reached the just above the part, and then quit. Maybe he thought that was why the wave formed; more likely, he wanted to mock me in front of the rest of our basketball team.

As much as I hated standing out because of my hair, it never occurred to me that it could be better managed through a different style. My dad’s hair had the same “problem”, and I employed an identical haircut as him, assuming he had evaluated all the possibilities before discovering this best-case scenario.

I didn’t try a different hairstyle until 1998. I was away at college, but the bold move likely had less to do with my pursuit of excellence or newfound independence, and more to do with finding a new barber. Or maybe it was because I had a campus doppelganger, and I thought that dude looked dumb, and Phil would laugh every time he saw him, which felt like Phil was mocking me on a 4-year cycle. Or maybe it was my girlfriend’s suggestion, or maybe that was the first relationship I felt could survive a botched attempt, or maybe she gave me the confidence to try it. Or maybe I realized I wasn’t attempting to retouch the Sistine Chapel so much as I was demolishing the Kingdome.

I finally entrusted some foreign lady at a mall Supercuts to rearrange it into an approximation of the late ‘90s George Clooney Roman haircut -- removing the side-part and letting it flop down my head. My girlfriend broke up with me --- but that was months later, long after she whole-heartedly approved the new style. Once a girl told me she loved it, I wasn’t going to change it again, and that’s why I still have it 14 years later, and that’s why it’ll stay this way until my wife says otherwise.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Internet Browsing Club - October 2012

Mindy Kaling’s new show is good so far. Her mother died of pancreatic cancer as the show was being developed. In an interview with Vulture, she talked about some advice her mom gave her, which is very good advice, so much so that I’m surprised it isn’t a cliche? Why haven’t I heard this particular advice before?
she sat down with a pen and paper and asked her mother to give her all the advice she could possibly give her before she died, and Kaling realized she’d never be able to ask her mother for advice again. “I said to her, ‘Mom, I’m going to be so lonely without you.’” She’s crying now but keeps going. “And she just said, ‘You have to be your own best friend. If you always remember that, you will always have someone there with you.’”

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The AV Club provides these astounding Linkin Park facts:
Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory has been certified diamond, meaning it’s sold over 10 million copies since its release in 2000. According to Billboard, the record is just the 20th album to go diamond since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Hybrid Theory sold 3,000 copies last week alone, meaning there were 3,000 people dumb enough to buy a new copy of a record that they could get used on Amazon for $.01.

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NPR had an interesting interview with a guy about the MP3 format. Approximately every music format has had a lifespan of 30 years; the MP3 is about 15 years old.




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Some Utah inmates got botulism from prison wine, “pruno”:
Several batches of pruno were reportedly in circulation among inmates at the time of the outbreak. Pruno batch A was made with oranges, grapefruit, canned fruit, water, powdered drink mix (a source of sugar), and a baked potato. Among these ingredients, the baked potato was the only ingredient used in brew A that was not used in simultaneously circulating pruno batches. Consequently, preparation of baked potatoes in the prison kitchen and methods used to prepare brew A were the primary focus of the field investigation...
               
The inmate who prepared brew A reported the potato was removed from a meal tray, stored at ambient temperature for an undetermined number of weeks in either a sealed plastic bag or jar obtained from the commissary, peeled using his fingernails, and added to a plastic bag containing other ingredients a few days before brew A consumption. The ingredients were fermented in this bag for several days before being distributed to other inmates in resealable plastic bags. Toxin likely was produced when the potato was added to a bag containing low-acidity pruno ingredients under warm, anaerobic conditions during pruno fermentation. Warm conditions commonly are obtained by placing the bagged mixture in warm water and insulating the bag with clothing, towels, or bedding (2). Plastic bags and jars used in pruno fermentation are easily accessible to inmates. Laundry and items purchased from the commissary are delivered in plastic bags and foods packaged in jars and resealable bags can be purchased from the commissary. During the investigation, many types of plastic bags and jars were observed in cells.
               
In addition to clinical morbidity, the outbreak resulted in considerable cost to Utah taxpayers. These included hospital charges of nearly $500,000; secure emergency transport and correctional facility monitoring at hospital A; and local, state, and federal public health and correctional facility resources for the investigation.

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Anybody read the K-State Entomology Newsletter? Just me? The July 27 issue filled me in about the huge wasps I’d seen buzzing around my house:


We are receiving numerous inquiries regarding large wasps flying around. These are primarily the eastern cicada killer, Sphecius speciosus, which is actually considered a beneficial insect because it regulates cicada populations...The female locates and stings a large insect such as a cicada or katydid and then brings the “prize” back to the burrow. Observing a cicada killer female dragging a large, immobilized cicada across the ground to a nest is a very impressive natural event :)
 
The female then places the paralyzed insect into a chamber and lays an egg on the surface of the paralyzed insect; sometimes she places two paralyzed insects in a burrow but lays an egg on only one. The female cicada killer eventually covers the burrow, digs another, and repeats the process. The egg hatches into legless grub-like larva that consumes the paralyzed insect. Full-grown larvae overwinter in the burrow, pupate in the spring, and emerge as an adult during the summer; usually July and August...
 
Cicada killers are unlikely to sting a person.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Bagel Bites

Did you know bagels are like, 300 calories? And that's before you cover them with cream cheese? That doesn't seem fair. That's practically cinnamon roll territory.

Speaking of cinnamon, I tried apple cinnamon Cheerios for the first time last week. (Last week was pretty huge for me, breakfast-wise.) They're pretty good!

Did you know Ben & Jerry originally planned to make bagels, but the startup costs were too big, so they switched to ice cream? It's a fact, Jack.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Bowl Of Cookies

We didn't have a lot of sugary cereals growing up, and when I arrived at college Cracklin' Oat Bran stole my heart before that garbage could.

And that's how a 33-year-old man came to purchase and eat Cookie Crisp for the first time this past Saturday.

It really does taste like chocolate chip cookies! The worst kind! Like, the brand below the generic store brand.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

One Week

Saturday

I went to pick up a dresser that matched our vanity from Kim's brother.

It was the first day of rain in weeks, so we moved it in the rain.

Turns out the back left leg had been broken in the previous move. So free dresser, but also weekend repair assignment.

Got it over to my place. Cable guy got our cable installed.

Bought some gorilla glue, messed with the broken leg a bit, and pasted it back on.

The sebaceous cyst that is a always on the back right of my neck had been inflamed for a few days, and bothered me when I moved my head.

I wanted the glue to dry overnight before I screwed in some metal supports.

I can't figure out the best way to quickly filter out the bullshit channels among the U-Verse 200. Like, our 5 shopping channels and 7 religious channels and standard def channels I get in high def.


Sunday

The good people that manufactured this dresser were not exaggerating - this is hard maple. I have to drill pilot holes for the screws, and even then it's tough going. I take my time.

As I'm tightening the final screw of the second bracket, the head falls of from the rest of the screw.

More glue.

I'm not going to feel good about this until I make a little shim and glue it next to this leg's wheel. It takes me a long time. I should buy some real tools.

It's glued in.

The dresser is placed upright. The leg stands.


Monday

Work,

My primary care doctor can't see me until Thursday. I make the appointment.

I walk in to an urgent care right after I get home. I wait about 15 minutes.

I explain I've had this cyst infected before, five years ago or something. It was drained and went away for a few weeks and then it came back as the little bump it always is.

The ARNP says yeah. They should really be removed entirely, but you can't do that when they're inflamed.

He'll drain it now, but it's best to make an appointment weeks down the road with a dermatologist or something to remove it entirely.

I get face-down on a table. He numbs it with injections. He cuts and pokes and drains. Don't look up videos of this procedure on YouTube.

He works hard for 15 minutes. He places material in my neck to wick away more pus and junk. Gauze taped to my neck.

Five years ago, an annoying woman saw my neck bandage and reached for it and said "You have a tag sticking out of your shirt OH it's a bandage."

He gives me prescriptions for an antibiotic and a painkiller. "Lortab makes me nauseous. Last time I took it I threw up on the side of an idyllic Irish road." "Tramadol, then?" "That's fine." I had taken a few of those prior to chemotherapy.

My antibiotic is Bactrim, a sulfa drug.

I eat some leftover tilapia. I take the two pills.


Tuesday

At 3 a.m., I am cold. I start shaking. No fever.

I assume there is some sepsis due to the procedure. I take another Bactrim and an ibuprofen. I grab a blanket. I go back to sleep.

A few hours later I am sweating. I feel better and lose the blanket.

I get up with my alarm and decide not to risk driving to work.

Sometimes you just go, then you're a longish drive to go home, and that drive really blows when you are sick.

The cyst is very tender but okay. I change the gauze dressing. I play Playstation and watch sweet sweet cable. I iron the khakis I've been ignoring for the last 14 days.

I put the drawers inside the dresser. I remember the other quirks he told me about. One handle needs a new screw. One drawer needs a thing reattached to it - the thing that helps it slide.

I attach the slidey thing wrong, but fuck it cause it still works.


Wednesday

I hadn't taken an of my painkillers. I take one in the morning.

I go back to the urgent care. A doctor removes the wick in the cyst hole.

Five years ago, I did that myself in my bathroom. It hurt a lot, and was gross a lot. So I planned ahead and tood that single Tramadol pill.

I drove home and got ready for work. When I took off my jeans a quarter fell on the floor.

I bent over to pick it up. Drops of blood fell from the gauze behind my head to the carpet.

I needed to change the dressing. Where do I keep the gauze? I don't have any gauze.

I do have a white undershirt lying next to my white undershirt pile. It has been separated from the group because it is no longer worthy of work status.

I press the shirt against my neck and drive one mile to Walgreens.

The girl "working" in the makeup section of Walgreens smiles as I enter. She does not offer her assitance.

I walk straight to the gauze section. It's on the back wall. I now believe it should be the first display upon entering. Fuck this sunscreen shit.

She smiles again as I pass her going toward the checkout. Maybe she smiles at everyone that enters the store bleeding into improvised bandages.

Buy one get one half off. I get two.

During my second hour of work I feel lightheaded. How much did I bleed?

I break open some Chicken in a Biscuit I bought on sale after hearing Mike and Tom Eat Snacks discuss it three weeks earlier. When you give blood you eat stuff and then you don't get lightheaded.

My work neighbor brings up the valid point that blood donors give a PINT of blood. We agree it is unlikely I have bled that much.

I break out my meaty turkey sandwich. After three bites I can't look at it anymore. Nausea.

I almost fall asleep in my chair for thirty minutes. I call a doctor about H3N2v.

I have to go home sick. Driving 20 minutes home sick and sleepy is not good. I keep my eyes open.

I park in my garage. I dry heave at the side of my driveway.

I set an alarm for 4 p.m. I sleep for two hours. I go to an appointment made weeks prior with my gastroenterologist.

We talk a little about Crohn's. He says if Tramadol and Lortab both make me nauseous, insist on Percoset next time. He asks if I still have anti-nausea pills from my chemotherapy.

I forgot about those. And the Oxycontin.

He shows me to the clinic restroom so I can dry heave again.

I pick one of the two nausea meds I find in my closet and take one. I rest. I eat one egg and a bowl of Rice Krispies.


Thursday

My apps all stop working. I have to take out the battery to reset the phone. It has happened many times in the past two weeks.

I eat a bowl of Rice Krispies. I feel fine. I drive to work.

My phone stops playback of Uhh Yeah Dude when I hit Topeka. I park and see it's shut itself off.

I read android forums for Nexus S bugs. Nothing works. It won't reboot or recover.

I work on that and work-work until 1 p.m. This schedule allows me to avoid taking sick leave when attending my 1:45 appointment with my regular doctor.

I think I can squeeze in a drive-thru burger at McDonald's, but decide against it.

We talk. She looks at my cyst and tries to drain it more, but it's mostly draining blood, not pus.

The Sprint store guy tries to reboot my phone. He suggests trying the other Sprint store in town.

I go home and eat a tiny bowl of leftover jasmine rice with some chili olive oil on it.

The other Sprint store guy tries and fails to reboot my phone. I make arrangements for a new phone in a few days.

I go home and take off my shoes and socks.

Oh, right.

I get on Facebook and send a message about my dead phone.

I look up information about my feet.

I noticed small red spots on the top of my feet 2 days ago when taking a bath. No shower due to the bandage.

We use the term "petechial rash" at work,and though I don't really know what one is I figured I had one. Now I should check if I am correct.

I know that sometimes people get rashes when they take antibiotics. I am not concerned. It doesn't itch. Just little red spots on my feet. I guess there are some on my legs.

I learn that there is a term called Petechiae.

Huh.

I call my doctor's nurse. She was very nice a few hours ago. She felt bad because I had cancer and Crohn's at my age. She insisted I call if I needed anything.

It was almost 5 p.m. I looked up their hours - they are open a few hours yet.

I almost don't call. I call.

"How far away are you?" "Less than 10 minutes." "We want to draw some blood. Come back."

I give blood. The phlebotomist looks kinda like the smart sister from Modern Family. She looks that old, too.

I wait. I go back into the room I was just in hours ago. Thirteen months ago, she sat me here and told me I had lymphoma.

My blood showed I had no platelets. Zero platelets. "We ran the test three times." She had never seen this before. My white cells were fine, other stuff was pretty good.

"How is my blood clotting?" "It can still clot without platelets. You need to go to the ER." "I feel fine." "Maybe the test is just wrong, but the only way to check is to go to the ER and test there. And if it's not wrong, you need to be in the ER."

This is weird.

"Do you want me to get a different doctor so you won't have to tell me bad news anymore?"

"Not at all."

I am really hungry. Kim and I were going to make tacos soon. I drove past Spangles but really wanted to drive-thru. I got stopped at the minor light at Schwartz Road for the third time this week. Fuck that fucking light. That neighborhood doesn't deserve it.

I call Kim and leave a voicemail. Remember, you have to call me back on my work phone because the other phone died.

There is no reception in the ER. They plug in a landline. They authorize long distance for the 913 area code. Kim puts away the taco meat and drives over.

New blood is drawn by a paramedic student. My platelet count is now 6.


I am admitted for overnight observation. I am in a room by 9:30.

Kim goes to get some clothes and a meaty pizza from Papa John's, because the other day I was thinking, "That pizza is kind of garbage but pretty good."

As I'm eating the pizza 45 minutes later, Kim tells me she left it on the roof of her car for a few blocks before realizing the error. Roof pizza is pretty good.

The TV remote breaks and I have to swap it with the older model. No number pad - I've got to move up and down one channel at a time. The Washington State game is a huge disappointment. One channel above it is Mitt Romney's Disappointed Dad Face.

I get to sleep at midnight.


Friday

They wake me up at 5 a.m. to take blood. Once I'm up I usually can't get back to sleep.

I watch the first of many iterations of Law & Order. This one is Criminal Intent, with Neil Patrick Harris as a shy man who drugs and kills women and once ate a calf muscle.

My platelets come back at 6,000. I meet with an oncologist. He thinks they'll continue to rise if I keep taking steroids. He says it's Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), maybe caused by the Bactrim, maybe not. It happens sometimes to people with a history of lymphoma.


Right as I finish breakfast and the paper, a Big Gulp cup is set next to me. It contains radioactive iodine and lemonade Crystal Light. It's for my CT scan. I down it quickly.

Two hours later I get to the scan room, and they ask me to down a glass or two more. I guess they didn't expect it to take this long for me to get in there.

CT scans are really easy and not very unpleasant. They inject you with an IV solution that makes you feel warm and tingly, and can sometimes make you feel like you are peeing yourself. The great part is, you AREN'T REALLY PEEING YOURSELF. It only takes ten minutes once you're in the CT machine room.

The pharmacist assigned to the 3rd floor meets with me as a friendly formality. "From an organic chemistry standpoint, how would Bactrim cause me to kill my platelets? Bear in mind I got C's in organic chemistry." "I don't really know, but I will look it up."

Later he tells me the method of action is "idiosyncratic", which is a scientific way of saying nobody knows.

Black Dog is a 1998 motion picture starring Patrick Swayze as a trucker trying to get his life back in order, hauling a dangerous load alongside now-disgraced country music superstar Randy Travis, while Meatloaf and some other dudes attempt to seize his shipment.

EVERY SINGLE MOVIE ABOUT TRUCKERS IS GREAT, SO WHY DOESN'T HOLLYWOOD MAKE MORE TRUCKER MOVIES???

A guy on Jeopardy! does well enough to set a new one-day record, but elects not to bet it all in Final Jeopardy. He should have, though, cause it was super easy. Did Jeopardy! get easier or did I get older?

My count is up to 10,000. They tell me I'm staying overnight.

I live less than 10 minutes away from the hospital and could easily come back for labs in the morning. Whatever.

SVU. A close game of travel Scrabble.


Saturday

5 a.m. again. Every time they take blood, I'm left a purple spot called purpura. Blood bruises, kinda. I have junkie smack arms.

My count is up to 25,000.

I don't know why Notre Dame and Navy decided to air an 8 a.m. game they are playing in Dublin, but this blowout is much better than the Law & Order episode that's on.
 
The oncologist says he'll recommend I go home today. Eventually the hospitalist agrees. Eventually the discharge paperwork is processed and signed. I get free tape and gauze to take with me.

I go to HyVee to fill my prescriptions, a new antibiotic and steroids. Since I'll be on steroids, I buy snack food, because it makes you bounce around like a madman and hungry like the wolf. Summer sausage. Powdered mini-donuts.

I mean, did you read my prednisone-fueled March Madness blogs? Weird stuff.

I have a follow-up appointment Tuesday. I feel fine. I felt fine the whole time.

I have a new phone. The Nexus S is replaced by a Galaxy S III.

You can stop reading now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Enjoy Wheat Every Day

One excuse for not blogging is creating and hosting a presentation on wheat farming. You can see the all slides! Not that they make much sense without my narration, but there are some fun videos of farm accidents, and some swear words to spice things up.





Oh, and I guess I should point out that the first two title slides are JOKE title slides. Just some jokes! Relax!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Read What I Read

The next day, Eunice and I took the Long Island Rail Road to Westbury, Long Island, to meet the Abramovs. The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons --- it was systemic and it was complete.
 
--- Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

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Since A Hologram for the King was a new release, the library insisted I return it within 2 weeks instead of the normal 4. I hate having such deadlines for reading, but Dave Eggers is always a fast read for me, and I happened to finish it within 2 days, and I returned it to the library this morning since I had a dental appointment. Getting that novel back on the shelf in such a quick turnaround is practically charity work, and when the time comes to remember me at the funeral wake or in the New York Times obituary, this fine deed should be told as an example of my selflessness.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Internet Browsing Club - July 2012

Our pal Adrienne recommends the 2009 New Yorker profile of Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is still in the news from AZ's immigration law.
 
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Our pal Bobbo recommends this interview with Hemingway from the Paris Review.
 
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Our pal Nick recommends this profile of hot dog eating outcast Kobayashi.


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Uhh Yeah Dude mentioned this article about why people think they have something they saw on WebMD

The way gamblers say they have a “hot hand,” she says, cyberchondriacs believe they have “hot symptoms”: if they hit the first two in a list, they believe they must have the third one as well.

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After an NPR intern wrote she’s only paid for 15 albums in her life, despite an iTunes library of 11,000 songs, David Lowrey of “Cracker” wrote a lengthy, compelling response discussing why a generation that pays for fair trade coffee won’t pay artists for their work.


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Two articles from CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report are interesting. First, take care when cleaning your grill.
A man aged 50 years arrived at the ED with abdominal pain that had begun after eating steak at a backyard barbeque. Computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis revealed a linear object extending through the wall of a loop of small intestine into the omentum (Figure). Laparotomy was performed to remove the foreign body, which appeared to be a wire bristle from a grill-cleaning brush. The patient fully recovered and was discharged the next day.Five more patients visited the ED during August 2011–June 2012 after inadvertent ingestion of a wire bristle that had become dislodged from a grill-cleaning brush and embedded in food. In all of the cases, the bristles were initially identified by radiographs of the neck or CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis, and their origin was confirmed after removal (Table). Patient interviews revealed a common history of recent ingestion of grilled meat. After definitive treatment, all six patients recovered fully.
Second, motorcycle helmets are really good:

In 2010, motorcycle crashes made up 14% of all road traffic deaths, yet motorcycles accounted for <1% of all vehicle miles traveled. Helmet use prevents an estimated 37% of fatalities among motorcycle operators and 41% of fatalities among passengers. Compared with motorcyclists in states with a universal helmet law during 2008–2010, fatally injured motorcyclists in states with a partial helmet law were more than five times as likely not to have been wearing a helmet, and fatally injured motorcyclists in states with no helmet law were more than six times as likely not to have been wearing a helmet. Economic costs saved in states with a universal helmet law were, on average, $725 per registered motorcycle, nearly four times greater than in states without such a law ($198). Although approximately $3 billion in economic costs were saved as a result of helmet use in the United States in 2010, another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

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Reddit’s Ask Me Anything features can be great. A tobacco marketer did one, and a commenter chimed in with some stories about his time working at Marlboro during the beginning of the Marlboro Miles program, where smokers could collect prizes through proofs of purchase:
The first year of the program, Marlboro substantially underestimated customer response. They also didn't expect customers to team up for the bigger stuff. For example, whole bars full of customers would team up to get the pool table for their favorite bar - Marlboro was suddenly on the hook to buy way more pool tables than expected, and they had us calling everyone who had ordered a pool table to see if we could talk them into accepting something cheaper. (Nobody did.) But the worst was the kayaks: Marlboro found that they had enough orders that they basically were committed to giving away the entire world's output of kayaks for the next three years. We advised them to buy a kayak manufacturer, I don't know what ever became of that. Anyway that's why the big ticket items suddenly required massively more proofs of purchase the second year. They also changed the name of the program both in advertising and on the proofs of purchase to ensure no further orders could come in for the original stuff, and this made customers REALLY angry when they found out they couldn't mix old and new proofs of purchase. We had quite a few smokers freak out at us about that on the phone.

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K-State was just the second university in the nation to offer a bachelor of technical science degree with an emphasis in unmanned aircraft systems (AKA “drones”).

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Mark Titus is one of the few Grantland staff I always read. He’s from Indiana, and wrote about the Indy 500 experience:
Yes, I've been to the Kentucky Derby. And while I agree that it's also a kickass time, there's nothing the Derby has that the 500 doesn't except for goofy hats, less than half as many people, and a stupid rule that doesn't allow me to bring my own alcohol into the track.

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Bob Powers continues to write very funny, very short stories. “Your high school got together and named you boyfriend of the year” is my latest favorite.

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Chuck Klosterman attended a Creed/Nickelback doubleheader.

 
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Joe Posnanski wrote yet another good piece on how bad the KC Royals suck at baseball:

Royals, games behind at All-Star break:

2012: 7.5 games back
2011: 10.5
2010: 10.5
2009: 11.5
2008: 11.5
2007: 15
2006: 27.5
2005: 27.5
2004: 16
2003: UP 7 games!
2002: 15 games back
2001: 21
2000: 15
1999: 21
1998: 12.5
1997: 9
1996: 14.5
1995: 12

Look at that chart. That might be the most depressing thing I’ve seen in a long time. It isn’t just that the Royals have been terrible year after year since the strike. It is that they have been out of contention every single year by the All-Star break -- this in a division that has not always been particularly strong. Not counting that crazy 2003 season, they have trailed by double-digit games every year except 1997 and, perhaps, this year. Perhaps. At this point, if you are a Royals fan you are not even asking for a meaningful September. A meaningful July would do.