Wednesday, June 30

Doc Peterson

"Doc Peterson" refers to my neurosurgeon. MY NEUROSURGEON. Sounds quite impressive, doesn't it?

I'd met MY neurosurgeon last year before I had my spine surgery. He was the one who cut into my neck and did some hardware repair. Replete with screws and a titanium plate. You'll likely remember this photo:

You may be asking yourself "Why is Bob bringing THIS up again?"

Sad but true, folks, I'm having "issues" again.

This time, however, it's not so much the pain as the lack thereof. Oh, sure, there's pain. On a scale of one to ten, previously, the pain in my right arm was about a twenty. Since I don't do pain at all well (I'm a guy, after all), if what I felt before topped out at a ten, what I feel in my left arm now is about a five. So far, anyway.

It's the "lack thereof" is what's bugging me now. Since all those nerves are so intertwined, what can be felt as pain by one nerve bundle can also cause numbness. It's not constant, and usually wakes me up at night. Thus, I haven't been sleeping well. For depending on whether I lay on my left or my right, the numbness occurs in the opposite hand. And when I turn over in my sleep, the return of feeling is what wakes me up.

Laying on the right, the numbness occurs in my left pinky and half my ring finger. To the left, and it's my right index, middle, and half of the ring. And sometimes the same in my right hand as my left.

OK, I just heard a chorus of "HALF"?

[Cue the dermatome diagram]

Remember this? It's a dermatome. Dermatomes are diagrams of the human body and show which nerve bundles go where. Consider it a wiring diagram:

Yes, folks, half. Right there between C7 and C8.

"Wait, Bob, isn't that where your disc degeneration was last year?"

No, that was between C6 and C7. Directly above the one I'm having problems with, now.

So what to do? Well, this post is titled Doc Peterson. MY neurosurgeon, remember?

I've an appointment with him on July 15th. Hopefully the pain and or numbness doesn't get any worse.

Cause it ain't gonna get better in the next two weeks.

Monday, June 28

A Fine Line

I haven't written about my mental state of late, and now I feel it is necessary to put it out in the open a bit. What I had been feeling lately was a bit of writer's block; you may have noticed I haven't been as brilliantly stimulating as some of my earlier posts were.

For the past few months I've been on a new med that has helped immensely in my dealings with "freaking out" at the least little thing that would otherwise have upset me - like being on call with too many calls in my queue. The new med has simply not let me get that way. Take, for example, a recent weekend where I spent eight hours working on one [expletive deleted] that was eating me alive. I kept my cool for the most part - something that would have left me simmering in a puddle of goo had I not been on this med. Or that's what I think.

But, as I found out just now, I've been experiencing a side effect that I'd considered, but wasn't sure of - the new med has affected my creativity. You may have noticed.

As I had considered that the med was affecting me negatively, and that a recent refill was to blame, I set out to find if, in fact the prescription was filled wrong - it wasn't. But since I was on that subject, I did a simple Google search: anxiety and creativity. From Google, "About 5,350,000 results". Guess I'm not the only one interested in this topic.

Information galore, folks. One such search result goes thusly: In his book "Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity," Dr. Stephen Diamond, ...a clinical and forensic psychologist, works with many talented individuals committed to becoming more creative. "Creativity," he states, " is one of humankind's healthiest inclinations, one of our greatest attributes."

Further, Diamond holds that creativity may be a powerful and often dark endeavor: "The more conflict, the more rage, the more anxiety there is, the more the inner necessity to create. We must also bear in mind that gifted individuals, those with a genius (incidentally, genius was the Latin word for daimon, the basis of the daimonic concept) for certain things, feel this inner necessity even more intensely, and in some respects experience and give voice not only to their own demons but the collective daimonic as well."

[Above are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Diamond in The Psychology of Creativity from]

From that, it would appear, if one removes anxiety from the equation, creativity suffers.

I'm suffering - I think a doctor's appointment is in the offing.

Summer Dayzz

Brilliantly Stimulating conversation Saturday night:

Marilee: "Are those explosions louder than they were last year?"

Me: "Maybe they seem louder because we're older."

There, I said it. We are older.

While I would have liked to have had fireworks pictures from the weekend at Taylorsville Dayzz, there aren't any since a) once you've seen one fireworks display you've seen them all, or b) I couldn't find the base plate for my tripod. Or didn't look hard enough. Maybe a bit of both.

And that's not the half of it. Every year we've watched the fireworks, we had the whole fam damily over to watch; this year it was just Marilee and myself. Oh, Taylor came out from the dungeon a couple times, but not for very long.

But some of those fireworks - not the more-for-show oohs and ahhs fireworks - but the shock and awe booming fireworks took us by surprise. The ones that echoed off the surrounding hills for-ev-er actually shook us to the core.

The best thing about the weekend fireworks spectacle had to have been from Taylor Friday night - we were sitting quietly in the family room when the first report was heard...

Me: "Must be ten o'clock."

Marilee: "Oh, the dogs!"

The dogs - all four of 'em - began a whimper/cry/what-the-hell-was-that chorus. It was all we could do to keep them still.

Just after that, he came up from downstairs...

Taylor: "Are those fireworks?"

Me: "Yes."

Taylor: "Are you sure?"


Friday, June 25

Taylorsville Dayzz

Yes, again with the double ZZ's.

It's the beginning of summer, so that must mean it's time for Taylorsville Dayzz. Real, fun, family entertainment just around the corner from the bs factory.

The Dayzz were live this morning on Channel 13 with the Beatles' tribute band and Big Buddah. Looks like it will be just as fun (and hectic) as in years past.

And fireworkzz tonight and Saturday.

I even hear there will be an [expletive deleted] over there.

Monday, June 21

New Family Member(s)

The parentheses are necessary - allow me to explain...

After losing Princess recently, I thought I'd never want another dog around; Bambi and Lexie would have to be it for quite a while.

THAT was before I met Bowser.

Bowser is a purebred mutt. Somewhere in that gene pool is Labrador Retriever. And - I couldn't believe this when I heard - he may have Shar Pei mixed in for good measure.

Yes, HE.

Marilee has said in the past that she only liked girl dogs; tummy rubs were always, uh, nicer, as there wasn't anything to "get in the way".

Since he's only still a puppy, that's not much of an issue. Honestly, I don't think it'll be an issue later, either. But maybe it's just a guy thing.

Oh, yeah... the parentheses issue...

When Marilee found out about Bowser, she also found out about the Mom Dog, Mia. She'd had ten puppies - yes, TEN. Most have been adopted, but as is the case with most puppies turned over to shelters and humane societies, the puppies are adopted first, with the Mom Dogs left for... OK, we don't talk about that. But it happens, folks. The harsh realities of the pet over-population explosion.

We thought it would be an excellent idea to adopt the puppy and foster the Mom Dog. That way, they could sleep together; the puppy would have that bond with his Mom, keeping him content, and QUIET.

In other words, no late-night whimpering.

Yeah, THAT happened. The first three nights, we had them in an upstairs bedroom in a crate, and for the most part it worked. Until, of course, the bond between the puppy, Mom Dog, and us developed.

Yes, the Mom Dog, too.

Mia, the Mom Dog, has become part of the family, though not officially - thus the parentheses. Bowser is used in the singular; the plural hasn't happened yet.


Wednesday, June 16

BP Coffee Spill

Tuesday, June 15

BP Oil Well Video This Morning

What's going on down there?

A friggin' test pattern?

Get the Story Straight

This is NOT about work. OK, well, sort of.

So as to keep work out of this post, we'll use some aliases - this is about Huey, Dewey, Louie, and me.

Since Friday last, I'd had a catastrophic failure on the work laptop. Gravity played a part. Suffice to say the PCMCIA slot was rendered inoperable. A call to Huey was made.

I should probably note here that the reason for the PCMCIA slot to be so important is that in my job of working on [expletive deleted]'s, I must remain in contact with the cloud almost 24/7. That means having an "aircard", or more accurately, a cellular modem. So without an aircard, I must rely on Wi-Fi hotspots and more conventional means of communication like two cans and a piece of string.

So Huey said they'd contact Dewey to dispatch Louie out to work on my laptop the beginning of the week; if I did not hear from Dewey in 48 hours, to call Huey back.

Monday came and went with no call from Dewey, so Tuesday I was on the phone to Huey.

Turns out that Dewey had, in fact tried to contact me, but was given an old phone number I'd been issued years ago. Why Huey didn't know that is beyond me, as they were the ones who had given me the new number. Once I'd given Huey the number, it was only a matter of time before Louie was calling me. On Wednesday.

Louie was booked solid that day, so I was penciled in for Thursday.

On Thursday, since I had to go to the office for a mundane task anyway, I met Louie there. And at noon, my laptop was... still broken. Louie had not brought enough parts.

OK, I've been in the printer, computer, and electronics-in-general repair field for thirty-four (34) years. Repairs never go as planned. So it did not surprise me that this happened. After all, though I AM authorized to do such repairs myself - certifications and all - I am NOT authorized to repair this one. Being "on the other side of the repair counter" as it were, and being a "customer", it's not my place to judge. I was told by Louie that extra parts would be in on Friday.

And no phone call was forthcoming on Friday.

As I was not on call last week, I wasn't terribly concerned. I would be this week, as I am on call. So time was now of the essence.

During the oh-so-productive daily conference call yesterday, I was asked if my laptop was repaired yet. No. Though I did say I wasn't pleased, and would be on the phone to Dewey after said call. Not having any calls to go on immediately, I just happened to look to see if there were any emails to deal with, and there, in living color, was an email from Huey.

Paraphrasing here, "Louie tried to contact you, but your phone number has been disconnected."


"...and here's Louie's phone number."

Louie said he could be at the office by 1pm. Yippee!

I was at the office early, and, since the laptop would be out of commission for a while, looked to see if there was anything else I should be concerned about. Oh yeah. Another email from Huey.

"In reference to my previous email, please do not call Louie directly; instead, call Dewey to make an appointment."

Frustration? You betcha.

Dewey said they'd dispatch someone. For TUESDAY.

AAAAAAAAAAA... oh hell, see above.

A quick and dirty email was in the offing for Huey. "So I called Louie as you suggested, bypassing Dewey. Louie said he'd meet me to do the repair. Now you tell me to call Dewey; they are dispatching Louie for Tuesday. This is ridiculous."

"And, by the way, why are you giving Dewey (and Louie by association) my old, company-issued phone number? Do you people not have access to updated information?"

"Oh, and since Louie already said he'd be here by 1pm, I'm hanging around a bit to see if he comes."

And he did. By 2pm, I was off on a call, again in the cloud.

Now, the real question is, will someone show up at the office today to work on my laptop? Probably, but I'll never know.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie still have my old phone number.

Monday, June 14

Green Points?

THIS is for all you old-timers out there, and I'm sure there are plenty of you.

My Mom - and your Mom, I'm sure - collected them religiously. Maybe, just maybe, there are some of these in some long-forgotten junk drawer in your kitchen, but more likely in your parents' junk drawer.

What are they?

S&H Green Stamps.

And here's the shocker, gang: They're still around!

So they're now referred to as Green Points. But you can still cash in your old stamps. And for that next trivia night - S&H are the initials for Sperry and Hutchinson.

The kicker I suppose is that they weren't really all that economical, considering how much you'd have to spend to get the stamps.

$1200 in purchases for a ten-dollar gift card.

Such a deal!

Wednesday, June 9

Tuesday, June 8

If it Was My Home

Visualizing the BP Oil Spill Disaster

What would happen if the gulf oil spill was in our own back yards? How much of a reaction would we have?

Well, someone has merged the information provided by the NOAA with the technology from Google Maps and provided just such a visualization. Here's the map from today, centered on where I live:

Puts it all in perspective.

Take a look yourself at the website.

Monday, June 7

BP's Response to the Gulf Oil Spill

OK, I'm jumping into the fray here.

So BP has turned the Gulf of Mexico into a cesspool. And thus the states bordering the Gulf. And the response from the United States has been appalling.

But I have a question - a question that appears to not have been asked yet:

Can the British Government do anything about a company that has its roots from that country? Or is that too much of a long shot?

Should we all be checking out the BBC rather than CNN for the latest news?

Sunday, June 6

Lightning Storms

I posted the following graphic last year on June 1st. Since it's that time of year again for the awesome lightning storms we get in Utah, I'm re-posting that original entry, a real-time (OK, 15 minute delay) display of all US Lightning Storms:

Don't Buy This Book


Align Center

No bs here, folks.

The book pictured above (ISBN 1604592680) is supposedly a compilation of the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation. If that was all there was to this little tome, I'd have no qualms in recommending it. But look beyond the cover, and one sees what this travesty is all about:

The publisher, Wilder Publications, is a "print-on-demand" outfit; send them your text, they'll turn it into a book. Apparently, any text.

Whoever submitted this "compilation" to Wilder for publication should be ashamed. There is no need whatsoever to suggest these documents should be read with anything less than reverence, for what they say is why this country is the greatest in history.

I have personally not read nor do I own this book. What I have read are the comments left on Amazon's website, to wit:

"I don't know what to make of [this]. If it says what I think it says I think I want a Constitution from another publisher! That statement seems to say that the Publisher is telling us how to read it! They are saying that it's principles couldn't possibly mean the same thing today! What arrogance! I hope they don't mean these things but how can I not come to these conclusions?"


"Do not buy this product. The authors have put a disgraceful passage in the beginning of this book that represents the worst in progressive thinking and political correctness. The constitution is perfect as written and there is no need to apologize for it. The publisher should close it's doors and move to France. "

From what I gather from the comments at Amazon, the seventy-two pages of the book are not just of the three listed documents, but of commentary from someone picking them apart to satisfy their own political agenda. To make matters worse, the book has a sales rank of 500 at Amazon. I shudder to think just who is buying this book - politicians, perhaps?

Sounds to me that the publishers are the winners here and not the American People.

An Emptiness In My Heart

"You look like you just lost your best friend."

"No, my best friend is you. Maybe my best four-legged friend."

That was a conversation from Thursday afternoon Marilee and I had.

The absence of Princess has left such a hole in my heart I didn't think was possible. It's all I can do to not think of her. Even now, going out the front door, I have to watch myself that I don't trip over her... but she's not there.

In the final weeks of her life, she slept most of the time, never moving very far from her bed in the front room. But when I'd pass her by on the way out the door, I'd expect her to move into the family room because Little Bit would bother Princess to the point of him taking over the bed and making her move. That was the extent of her movement during the day; that, and her wanting to be let out and back in. Hardly a full life there at the end.

Did I do the right thing, letting her go before she would become so invalid that she wouldn't be able to move of her own accord? I like to think so. Right up to the last, as she was smothering me with sticky kisses as she passed, I know she could see my love for her in my eyes.

The emptiness remains.

Saturday, June 5


"So she sent you on another treat run?"

That was from the lady at the local convenience store just now.

Months ago, Marilee had sent me on a similar "treat run": "Just get an assortment". Not knowing what exactly that meant, I ended up spending twenty bucks or so on candy, candy, and more candy. That treat run's assortment lasted less than a week.

This evening, the conversation started out as it usually does:

"Do you need cigarettes?"

Yeah, I know, I know, I don't NEED cigarettes. It's a bad habit. It'll kill me. So will the Peterbilt with my name on it, what with the miles I drive.

"Yes, I need cigarettes. What do you want at Holiday?"

"How long have we been together?"

"Six years."

So I know what she wants.

On the way out of the house, I said "I bet they ask if I'm on a treat run."


Thursday, June 3


Dignity, in all it's incarnations, means a being has an innate right to respect and be assured ethical treatment.

Any being.

To live ones' life with dignity is a quality we should all strive for. And at at the end of our lives, we should hope for the same.

So, too, should our companion animals, our pets. Live life with all the energy God has given them, and when the time comes to depart, pray that there is no pain, only dignity.

We, as humans, have been given a most amazing gift; to release them from any pain they may have incurred in their lifetime and let them go with dignity.

We let one of our dogs go this morning, Princess. After taking a few too many tumbles down stairs, she wasn't getting around as well as she once did, and though she was still eating well and doing her business outside, the quality of life wasn't there any longer. She had problems remembering where she was, and would walk herself into a corner, not being able to rescue herself.

Last night, her last on earth, we gave her the best wet food, cookies and cheese. But where there once was a dog who would literally jump with excitement at her evening cheese, she stumbled and almost fell over.

Yes, it was time.

This morning, Princess went to Rainbow Bridge.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...


Early on in my relationship with Marilee, it was clear that one of my habits was going to be problematic. No, not that one.

Or that one.

Actually, it was a habit I was not even aware of. "What's the matter?" is what Marilee would say. Not knowing what the hell she was referring to, I'd say the classic maleness "nothing", perhaps with a not-too-subtle air of what-the-hell-made-you-think-there's-something-wrong attitude.

This went on for some time.

It all came to light when Marilee had told me something Jenn had said to her. Marilee enlightened me after one such occasion, when she related the following conversation:

Jenn: "What's wrong with Bob?"
Marilee: "Oh, that's just what he does."


Bob: "What the hell are you talking about?"
Marilee: "Huhhhhhhh"
Bob: "What?"
Marilee: "Huhhhhhhh. You are, al least five times a minute, exhaling really loud. People think you're upset."

On occasion, perhaps. But as I said, I'm not even aware I'm doing it.

OK, so I know I do this. Admittedly, I do catch myself from time to time. But I thought it was only a family matter.

Not so.

While in California for training the last two weeks (yes, you can see where this is going), someone - cannot remember who - caught on that I was upset somehow. Hardly. Though not a vacation, which is something the instructor makes perfectly clear at the beginning, I consider any time you're not working on that which you do on a regular schedule, a vacation. Even going to school. Sure, you're still on a schedule, but it's not your regular schedule.


Apparently, I was on the five-times-a-minute schedule and was exhaling rather loudly. We'd already commented on several of the attendees' habits - profuse use of the word "thingy", "Yo" used as an exclamation, and one person then said "Huhhhhhhhh".

I must have been red-faced, and busted up laughing.

During that evening's phone call home, I had to tell Marilee.

After she quieted down...


This Is NOT How To Fly Out Of DFW Airport

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