Monday, June 29

Still Here

Laptop took a dump late last week. Other than the wife's portable - which never goes anywhere - I'm a bit "down" right now.

Parts on order, should be back to full blogging by the end of the week.

Friday, June 26

Seen On The Intarwebs


Years from now, my [grand]children will ask me, "Where were you when Michael Jackson died?"

"On the internet with a bunch of strangers, making snarky comments."

Thursday, June 25

Don't Hold Back

Taylor just came upstairs from the basement.

"Bob! You hear about Michael Jackson?"

"Yeah - numerous reports. One source says he's dead, another said he was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived, another said LaToya was sobbing at the hospital... No one knows what's going on."

As he turns to head back to the basement, he says "Well, let me know if he dies."

I say "Do try to hold back your emotions, OK?"

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words


The x-ray image above was taken yesterday afternoon. Yes, that's MY neck. And MY titanium plate. Replete with screws. I was able to keep the x-ray - a souvenir of sorts.

Maybe I'll have it printed and carry it around in my wallet.

Proof I'm not carrying contraband in my neck for screeners.

Wednesday, June 24

Twitter Can Wait

No Tweeting in the tub, OK?

Girl dies Tweeting in the tub

Tuesday, June 23

Taylorsville Dayzz

It's that time of year again, folks.

As we head off into the latter part of June, the fireworks stands are already being set up, ready for the 4th of July. But there are other fireworks coming our way, and I don't mean for the 24th of July. While fireworks won't be set off in the neighborhood driveways this weekend, these fireworks will be going off for Taylorsville Dayzz.

The professional kind - on the 27th and 28th at 10pm each night.

Living virtually across the street from Valley Regional Park, we're in a prime location for all the festivities of Taylorsville Dayzz. And not just the fireworks. June 27th, this Saturday, there's a parade that actually closes 27th West from 54th South to 47th South. This is a big deal.

More information about Taylorsville Dayzz can be found here.

I Play This Game Far Too Much

You should, too.

After all, some addictions can be good for the soul:

Crush the Castle

Great Words

Got an interesting email today.

Seems Ben Fulton of the Salt Lake Tribune is now following me on Twitter. And I'm not sure why.

After all, he is local. Then again, maybe it's something he read.

As far as reading goes, here's his only post - which bears repeating, if only because it's so true of social media:

"Now begins the arduous but delightful task of building a following."

So true.

Monday, June 22

Crazy But Not Stupid

Found this on Fark:

Half of you are going to try this next time you get the opportunity, and all of you are going to hurt yourselves

Lost In The Translation

A local Spanish television station has been broadcasting, for the last week or so, an announcement that they've switched to high-definition digital, on channel 619.

Their content is no longer available on Channel 22.

OK, locals, if you're still using a "standard" TV - in other words, one that has a 4:3 aspect ratio - go take a look at channel 619. Most, if not all content on the left and right sides of the picture are lost. Which is typical. For example, digital channel 652 is channel 4 (KTVX) in HD. During most shows, that "ABC" logo is offset from the right by about a quarter of the screen size. But display that image, using the controls on your remote, at 4:3 and the ABC logo appears in its pre-June 12th position.

Just like a "standard" TV.

But there's another, uh, aspect to this that's not immediately apparent - what if you haven't gotten around to buying an HDTV? And you don't have a cable company HD box?

(There are SO many combinations of boxes, TV's, HDTV's, cables, cable companies, antennas, ad nauseum, that I wouldn't want to be anywhere near a cable company help desk right now.)

Anyway... Comcast - as well as cable companies nationwide - said that if you were on cable, you didn't have to worry about your old TV working, because the cable would still provide a signal your TV could use. Except for one crucial factor - if your TV doesn't know what a channel 619 is, then what?

All you get to do is watch a test pattern.

TeleFutura should be ashamed of turning their back on an entire block of the population - who may not have gotten all the information on the HD switchover in the first place.

[About the title of this post]

I originally was going to make this post about channel 22 switching to all-HDTV. Being a Spanish-only station, the text displayed on channel 22 is thus: PROGRAMACION DE TELEFUTURA PUEDE SER ENCONTRADA EN EL CANAL DIGITAL 619. Using Google Translate from Spanish to English, that turns into the following:

"TeleFutura's lineup can be found on digital channel 619."

Wow - translation software has come a long way, hmm? Not only is that apostrophe in the right place, but the extra capitalization of TeleFutura is rather impressive.

In other words, WTF?

Dads Get A Bum Rap

Never let it be said that you don't find factual information on my blog. OK, maybe a little bs here and there. But still.

Happy Father's Day one day late!

At Jenn, Chris and Ramin's yesterday for Father's Day. Burgers and cake. My kind of party!

While the gifts were nice - and appreciated! - the cards I got were over the top.

From Jenn and Chris:

Outside: free beer here. Inside: Now that I have your undivided attention, happy Father's Day!

From Taylor: Dad, I've always admired how, unlike so many wimpy guys these days, you always make the tough decisions, lay down the law, and rule the castle the way a man is meant to rule. Inside: (I thought Mom was going to split a gut when I showed her this one.)

I did actually get a six-pack of Guinness from Jenn and Chris, and the tongue-in-cheek admiration of Taylor's card made me sort of weepy. Until I opened the card, that is.

I made comment during the festivities that you'd never see cards like those for Mother's Day. Give any such card to Mom, well, all you need do is remember the Golden Rule of families: "If Mom's happy, everyone's happy."

And what card did my lovely wife get me?

Outside: Fathers will tell their kids that they know what's best, but when you get a group of Fathers together, they bond over the fact that none of them has any idea what they're doing.

After that, does the inside really matter?

That said, the inside does say "Hope your Father's Day is the best! (Whether you like it or not!)"


Friday, June 19

Recovery Update

Stopped by the "office" today to drop off my truck, phone, access card, and laptop. It's an asset management thing.

Enough about that - at least it got me out of the house for awhile.

Took my Steri-Strips off last night - the scar isn't bad at all, since there were no stitches. Looks like (and Marilee concurs) that no one will be the wiser that I even had spinal surgery. Which could be a bad thing...

"So you've been off for how long, you say you had surgery, yet there's no surgical scar?"


"Yeah, riiiight."

Thursday, June 18

Most Trusted Man in America

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Walter Cronkite may be signing off soon:

Legendary CBS journalist Walter Cronkite reportedly gravely ill

This has been verified by multiple sources at CBS and other published reports, according to the Times' website.


It's time again for Logan Summerfest!

To be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 19-21, the Summerfest Arts Faire offers fine art, great food and entertainment to it's visitors. From the Summerfest website: "...Local and regional visitors will have the opportunity to purchase fine art and gifts at great prices, and a delightful variety of food, snacks and drinks. All vendors are carefully selected for quality and variety and visitors will not be disappointed."

Located at Logan's historic Tabernacle Square, Summerfest is easy to find. Parking's difficult, but not impossible. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, and maybe bring a lawn chair or two to sit on the shady lawn and people watch.

Marilee and I are going on Sunday to help celebrate Father's Day.

You should plan on going, too!

Wednesday, June 17

Caveat Blogger

Found an interesting ability of Blogger this evening - called Blogger Play, it displays a slideshow of images recently posted to other folks' blogs.

Fair warning, though - there is a possibility you may see an inappropriate image - NSFW, in other words.

The FAQ for Blogger Play can be found here.

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 16

On My Healing Process

Overall, doing well. At least I think so from my vantage point. I've been able to (mostly) stay off the Lortab, though there's been a few evening muscle spasms and I take Carisoprodol for that.

No pain, though I get pins and needles in my fingertips from time to time. At least I'm not as bad off as this guy.

Just have to lean my neck to the left to make mine go away, probably still some irritation in that C6-C7 bundle. But not as bad as it once was.

I have a follow-up scheduled for next Wednesday and an X-ray an hour beforehand which sort of surprised me, but this is a new experience for me.

Maybe the X-ray is to make sure my screws aren't loose.

Though that's a whole 'nother branch of medicine.

Monday, June 15

Price Breaktrhough

No, that's not a typo. On my part.

The following image was contained within an email today:

Wonder if they include a spell checker.

[It is a nice price, however.]

Dooce Had Her Baby

Just sayin'.

Updates are at Twitter accounts @dooce and @blurb.

Also at and

Congratulations to them both!

Sunday, June 14

Language Barriers

And the problem is...?

Love this article from the Associated Press:
CINCINNATI (AP) — A Hindu father from Ohio has filed a complaint with the Justice Department claiming his son was forced to eat a beef taco in the school cafeteria.

Ashish Gandhi says the taco incident occurred at the Academy of World Languages [AWL], a public magnet school in Cincinnati. Eating beef is considered a sacrilege to Hindus.

Cincinnati Public Schools attorney Gary Winters told investigators the boy chose the taco himself, and the employee who gave it to him was unaware of his dietary restrictions.

Gandhi, who moved to the U.S. from India in 2007, calls the taco meal an "intentional act of religious bigotry." He filed a separate complaint claiming the school has refused to offer his son services for students who don't speak English.

Nearly half of the academy's students speak foreign languages."

Now wait a minute. Since this sounds like a "typical" charter - read alternative - school, with ESL (English as a Second Language) courses available, shouldn't Dad have asked if they did indeed have someone who spoke the requisite language to teach his son?

And what, exactly, has sonny learned thus far if he didn't speak any English?

The Academy of World Language's website says there are "...foreign-language learning opportunities including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian."

Enrollment forms, however, are available not from AWL's site, but from the Cincinnati Public Schools' website, and are available in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.

Is it just me, or is there a bit of a disconnect here?

In AWL's defense, though, they do say "...Students in all grades receive foreign-language instruction at least 150 minutes on a weekly basis."

In this case, however, it's just not English.

Flag Day

How interesting is it that Six Flags filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the day before FLAG DAY?


Friday, June 12

Maples In Living Color

I'm hoping my recent readers from LDS Hospital are still "listening" - I have a question for you all:

Do the maple trees around the hospital and surrounding medical office buildings turn red or yellow in the fall?

The backstory:

Last October, I posted a bit about the maple trees we have growing around our house.

Mentioning only briefly about the little one off in the corner in the backyard, I figured it was about time to snap a photo:

With the weather the way it is, not to mention the sprinkler system installed last year, the "little one" is doing fine. While not ten-plus feet high as the ones in the front, I'm sure its root system is rather well-developed.

During one of our outings during a doctor's visit, Marilee and I commented on the number of maple seeds that had dropped from the many maples around the hospital and surrounding medical buildings.

Unfortunately, all of the ones around that area were immature seeds - they hadn't quite gotten to "helicopter" mode yet.

Maple seeds are amazing creations of nature. Once you see how a maple seed is "engineered", you'll wonder how something like that could be created and Who created them. Yes, "Who" is capitalized for a reason.

A few weeks ago I found some mature seeds outside, and for the heck of it, planted them in an unused pot in the back yard - haven't yet "intentionally" watered the pot; Mother Nature's been taking care of that lately. They're doing quite well:

As Marilee and I are "into"ornamental" trees and plants, we've been talking about getting another maple, but this time one that turns red in the fall, since all the ones in our yards turn yellow - a red one would be a great contrast.

We'll be heading back in the direction of the hospital in the next week or so for a followup visit and will be looking for mature seeds. But want to make sure we're getting "red" ones, not "yellow" ones.

So again, that's the question: Do the maples around LDS Hospital turn red or yellow in the fall?

Thursday, June 11

Interesting Yet Disturbing

I think I'll be looking into watermark programs that embed copyright information into the images I post on the internet. If the following can happen to an ordinary family in Missouri, it can happen to any one of us who post our pictures in our blogs - or anywhere else for that matter:

How did Christmas photo get in life-size ad in Czech Republic store?

The link to see the picture in the store window is here.

Scary sh!t.

Tuesday, June 9

Father's Day Gifts

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift? This may not be it, unless Dad is very single:

I picked up an analog weather forecaster - that's one with dials for you youngsters - at a yard sale several weeks ago before all these thunderstorms started in Utah. I'd mentioned that it would be really cool to get a forecaster that's digital.

"Maybe you'll get one for Father's Day."

The one above is from Wind and Weather and is only $39.95.

I bet there's a caveat to the image shown on their website, though. You wanna bet what the girl will be wearing when that cloud goes away?

You also wanna bet I will not be getting this one?

Monday, June 8

The Respiration Technician

I'd like this guy's job. I met him if only for a brief moment a couple hours before I checked out of the hospital last Wednesday.

He goes around to every patients' room and checks their blood oxygen levels. The device he used was a "finger pulse oximeter", and I want one. No, really.

Bulky it's not. In fact, he was carrying it in the palm of his hand - but it was even smaller than that.

Similar in function to the stethoscope-less clip-on-your-finger device many care facilities use nowadays, this thing also clips onto your finger and measures not only your oxygen level but your pulse as well. Even had a damn EKG-like display. Had a bright OLED display and can be read in just about any ambient light.The one he had was rather spendy - he said the hospital got them for about 200 bucks a pop, but there are less-fancy ones available without the EKG function. Some even have a USB port for long-term diagnoses.

One rather minimalistic model just has large characters a la old-school LED's and can be had for about $50.

No, I don't want one for Father's Day.

Just sayin'.

About Post-Op Meds

This is more of a "Words to the wise" than about specifics.

Specifically, watch what you read when you're on your post-operative medications.

As said previously, a book I'd heard about but put aside for another time to read has been getting my attention late at night in my dreams.

I've never had problems dreaming and/or getting into REM sleep. In this particular case, though, the subject matter can give you the heebie-jeebies if put in the wrong context, that context being under the influence.

Of what? The mere fact that - in Utah at least - that one needs to show ID when picking up one's meds from the local apothecary if said meds are a narcotic, then all you need do is think Timothy Leary. For my generation, that gets the point across pretty easily.

I've already written about some of the travels I've done (read trips) about other meds I've taken and what the thankfully non-negative outcomes were. But those were conscious travels; rather these past few have been in my sub-conscious. Not sure that since I was in deep sleep I was therefore unconscious.

The book, by A. J. Jacobs, is titled "The Year of Living Biblically". The subject matter wouldn't otherwise have got my attention if not for a report done by the Bryant Park Project on NPR in late 2007. It sounded interesting, if only that the question comes up occasionally whether the the Bible should be taken literally, or as literature?1,2

I imagine that since none of the Bible should be considered as fantasy (I suppose it depends on who you talk to, or even if your beliefs are of the Creationist/Evolutionist/Flying Spaghetti Monster variety), but since my mind lately is muddied a bit by my prescribed narcotics, bits of reality have been interspersed with that of the book.

Listen to the piece at NPR about the book, then imagine what your mind might do with it.

Yes, I'll probably finish reading the book, but I'm not one to comment on it in part or in full.

Particularly if I'm under the influence.

1 OK, I admit I had to look up the word literal: Pertaining to a letter of the alphabet. More typically, it means “based on what is actually written or expressed.” A literal interpretation gives an exact rendering—word for word— taking words in their usual or primary sense. It is also used to describe thinking which is unimaginative or matter of fact.
2 There was even a class in high school called "Bible as Lit". Thirty-four years ago. Imagine how far we've come.

Saturday, June 6

No Where Near Normalcy Yet

It occurred to me this morning that I'm not feeling at all "normal". Not particularly because someone last week was digging around in my neck with sharp instruments and a SCREWDRIVER, but because my routine has been altered in ways too numerous to mention.

And trying to get back to something approaching normal has been a real challenge.

Yesterday, for example, though my blog post had to do with sleeping, and the challenges involved with that, I had actually written most of that on Thursday with my manual Bob's BS.

Yesterday, I couldn't come up with anything new to write about - I was in pain most of the day, couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep in, there were constant dog interruptions, couldn't "get into" any of the movies I tried to watch, et cetera.

And as far as pain, no combination of my meds seemed to do the trick.

I awoke this morning at 4:15am and could not get back to sleep. Came downstairs, watched a bit of TV, and still had pain1 I could not control.

Marilee was up at about 5am - which surprised me for a Saturday. I was having a "constitutional" out on the porch, and she startled me as I rose so as to go back into the house. Turned and ran smack dab into the post on the porch, leading with my arm. Yes, THAT arm.

After stumbling back inside and meandering around the kitchen and family room and trying to decide whether to go back upstairs and trying to sleep some more, somewhere in the back of my drug-muddled mind I began to wonder just what the hell was going on: Thursday had been so much more "normal", but Friday everything turned to crap. I even had headaches that hadn't been present in the last two days, even with all the dru...

Then it hit me, as if headlong into a brick wall.

Thus this blog post.

Normalcy - or something approaching it - is achieved with a drug I had none of on Friday.

It's more commonly referred to by its non-generic name: COFFEE.

1 I suppose I should mention just what pain means in my current post-op state. Pain is a shooting pain more so from my right shoulder through the elbow into my hand. Yes, the same damn pain that I had the surgery for in the first place. But since all those nerve routes have now been relieved of herniation or whatever, it will just take time for those routes to heal.

Friday, June 5

Just Sayin'

From the Associated Press this morning, a better headline would have been:

Muslims want action to back up Obama's tone

The "other" way just doesn't sound right. Look it up.

Just sayin'.

Taking Things For Granted

Something as simple as sleeping.

Sleeping has become an interesting experience all on its own. After sleeping just one night at LDS Hospital on the standard-issue hospital bed - no doubt designed by the same guy as the medieval "rack" - and having to sleep at an exact 30-degree angle as decreed by my neurosurgeon, I have found that position to be nearly impossible to maintain.

Being a left- or right-side sleeper all my life, adapting to anything other than a 90- or 270-degree attitude (pitch, yaw, whatever), is quite challenging. And for me to keep in that position requires a foam cervical collar, also likely designed by someone in the dark ages.

The "log-roll" is the accepted method for getting into the left- or right- axes described above, provided that there's a flat spot.

This log has no flat spot.

[In hindsight, it appears that Marilee's decision to purchase a two-ended recliner for the two of us has become a Godsend. With Lexie as a counterweight at 2am, I was able to sleep quite comfortable at an approximate 30-degree-ish angle. Or was it foresight?]

Thursday, June 4

Free Time

I seem to have an over-abundance of free time - I'm only at my first full day of post-op and I'm just a bit stir crazy. Call it cabin fever if you'd like. I could drive if need be, but Marilee would rather I didn't. But considering all the neat-o meds still coursing through my system, maybe I'll just stay put.

Sitting here with not much else to do but heal, it occurred to me that it would be a great time to catch up on some long-put-off reading. Having just picked up a few tomes from my basement library, and realizing that "The Word Museum" and "Casual Lex" aren't exactly War and Peace - the Salt Lake Valley white pages would be just as riveting - I grabbed a tome I'd heard about last year on NPR called "The Year of Living Biblically" by A. J. Jacobs.

I had just gotten to page 9 of the hard cover edition when I was overcome by the urge to grab my Bob's BS journal and make a few notes and quickly ran out of room on a full page.

Having just reached that point and realizing that all this time I have on my hands that I can garner quite a bit of useful stuff or worthless crap.

Or pure BS.

Thus the grabbing of my BS book.

It had me remember that in my hospital room, there was not only nothing to write ON, but nothing to write WITH. It took my nurse-on-duty a bit of time to track down some paper, once she inadvertently left a pen in the room with me. Just a simple Bic stick pen, it had me wanting to write something. Anything.

If only to make note of things to write about in the coming days and weeks of myself nursing my sore neck.

Interestingly enough, when I was making those notes earlier in my manual notebook, my arm was not hurting one bit. Now, typing on the notebook, the pins and needles are starting to remind me they've not entirely left my system. Yeah, I know, give it time.

So using a simple PENCIL in my BS journal, I was able to stop a pain from occurring.

And what does that mean to you? You wouldn't have been able to read this until MUCH later.

But do YOU need a Bob's BS book? Why not? Manual notebooks work just as well as their electronic counterparts, and don't crash.

Tempting, isn't it?

Lately I've Been Watching Chelsea

Only by sheer accident have I lately been watching Chelsea Lately, one of THE coolest late-night talk shows around. The TV-Content warning label in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen when the show starts suggests just what to expect - typically, just underneath the large TV logo is DSL. There's no violence, hence the lack of the letter V. Something you'd expect from a movie.

But this is a talk show.

I TiVo her show since I don't stay up late, pre- or post-op. So this morning I'm watching last-evening's show, and she's just said she's not going to even mention a certain reality-show any more.

Nor am I, not that I've ever mentioned it anyway.

But as with my comment last year about the Jonas Brothers and Volcanoes, I'm going to mention the other thing just once, just to see what happens to my reader count.

There's nothing to see here. Move along:

John and Kate Plus 8

Oh Negative

There are many things hospital people ask you when you check in for any given procedure. The one I find interesting that they don't ask is what blood type you are. Marilee said it's likely that they wouldn't take your word for it; they draw blood anyway during that initial insertion of a catheter, and they're going to find out soon enough.

And, again, there I was, checking in at a hospital (last time was for my gall bladder removal), and again, they did not ask.

I'm a popular guy in that regard - I'm O-Negative.

And I only know that because I donated blood a few times back in the 80's.

Do you know your blood type?

Anyway, the first time I donated blood way back then, I talked to my Dad about the procedure, and he said something I've not forgotten since then and likely never will forget: "How could that be?"

No, I don't know what type he was, nor do I know what type my Mom was. Maybe then, like now, not much is known by the layman about what happens when one blood type meets another in the whole genetic world. After all, the only time that topic comes up is if you're in need of a transfusion, or that there's a likelihood you'll want to make a baby.

In fact, the last time I was asked what my blood type was, was in a bar in Tokyo in 1985 at 3am.

But we'll leave that story for another time...

Wednesday, June 3


I'm home from the hospital for some much-needed recuperation.

And now pain free, at least the pain for which I went in for. Now the pain to get rid of is from the surgery.

I want to thank the staff at LDS Hospital for taking such good care of me, specifically Rochelle, Jeff, Angie, Tiva, Laura, Maria, Elizabeth, Ondira, and Breanne. Through the haze of anesthesia, I might have missed a few names; for those I missed, I thank you, too.

And thanks particularly to Dr. Robert G. Peterson, my neurosurgeon.

And in case you're wondering, his middle name is Gordon.

I'll have more in the next few days but for now I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, June 2


I'm actually writing this post Monday at about 3:30pm, but having it post at Tuesday, 9:15am.

The reason? At that particular time Tuesday I'll be checking into LDS Hospital for my surgery.

So although there won't be any "real-time" blog post on Tuesday, I'll be taking my cell phone with me so as to "Tweet" once I'm coherent enough to do so.

How will you know I've "tweeted"? It'll be over there in the right-hand sidebar under "@bobsbs", which is oddly enough my Twitter username.

My surgery dictates I'll be spending the night at LDS, so nothing much will be forthcoming Tuesday evening, either. Again, look for a tweet or three.

All for now - I'm going to go nap some more before tonight - tomorrow's going to be a loooong day...

Type to you all soon!

Monday, June 1

Lightning Storms

Theoretically, the image below should show the current real-time lightning strikes across the United States. It's lifted directly from the United States Precision Lightning Network's home page.

So theoretically, if you bookmark the image - not the page - you can always see the current lightning strikes across the country.

If not, just bookmark the page - not the image - and revisit it whenever you want to see how flashy the US is at any given moment.


Something To Look Forward To

With all the great rain we've had thus far this spring, I'm happy to say the weeds are doing quite well in our back yard. And even though our front yard has one less tree, the weeds which had been surrounding that patch were expertly pulled recently by Jenn.

There's still much that could be done in both yards, but since I have a black thumb - though I still want to know how to make our Virginia Creeper propagate - I can't even imagine where to start the process of where, what, and when, as far as actual plants go.

But there's hope on the horizon, and will likely be just in time for me to venture out after my neck surgery.

Coming up on June 12th and 13th will be the Hidden Garden Benefit Tour in Utah County. For $13 you'll be able to traipse through fourteen private gardens from Alpine to Orem to really see how to do "it".

More information can be had at the Tour's website at

News You Can Use

This morning there's an article in the Deseret News - yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I've been a bit harsh of late - that I can actually relate to.

While Ann Cannon's wrist armor will be setting off metal detectors all over the place, my hardware will be located in my neck. She cannot type due to something resembling a wrist rocket; I cannot type before my surgery.

Anyway, I fully enjoyed the article, and I think you will, too:

Broke wrist. Had surgery. Life stuff hard.
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