Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pic of the Day: Beck's Goodbye

The Yoda of Batshit has left the studios at "Fox News" for the slimy mudhole he calls home.

I was hoping to think of more than that...but I got nothin'.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pic of the Day: Florida's Scumbag Governor

I figured out what's up with this skeezy criminal prick.

Thanks for nothing, to you idiots who voted for him.

Governor Voldemort Scott is so unpopular even amongst the Republicans in Florida's legislature that less than two months after he took office, they were tinkering with legislation to give Florida voters the ability to recall this teabagging corporate snake and other public officials:

HB 787: Recall

GENERAL BILL by Kriseman; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Bullard; Garcia, L.; Pafford; Randolph; Saunders; Steinberg; Thompson, G.; Williams, A.

Recall; Provides that Governor, Lieutenant Governor, member of Cabinet, or legislator may be recalled from office; requires that proponents of recall register as political committee; prescribes methods & timeframes for initiating & conducting recall; provides ballot language; provides that removal of Governor from office includes removal of Lieutenant Governor; authorizes adoption of rules.

EFFECTIVE DATE: contingent
Unfortunately, it was withdrawn from consideration in early May, 2011.

The Vac's Installed.

I got approved for the Wound Vac as a charity case; the thing arrived via UPS yesterday. Big, bulky box, mostly filled with smaller cartons of foam dressings and catch-canisters. The unit itself is about the size of a stack of 6 DVD cases.

The first dressing got installed this morning. All it is is a piece of foam cut to fit in the incision (which is about 1" x 1" by 1-1/2" deep now) with a sheet of plastic "drape" over it, something like Saran Wrap with adhesive on one side. Once that's arranged, you cut a hole in the middle of the wrap, arrange the vacuum fitting over that, and hook the tubing up to the machine.

My belly's been mostly numb around the incision site from day 1, so there's no pain involved, but when the vac is first turned on there's a moment where the suction is noticeable. Outside of that, there's no noise or anything. About the only time I notice the thing is when I need to move around--now I'm tethered to it by several feet of tubing.

So now I've gone from Frankenbelly... Vacu-Belly!

That looks a lot worse than it really is. The red marks are from the staples, which came out a month ago.

The Wound Care folks say this thing will have me healed up in about 2 weeks. It'll be about time--I've been aching to take a kayak trip up Bayou Texar, or even to take a simple shower.

Song of the Day: Cut to the Chase (Steve Morse Band)

This has been a favorite song from its release in 1991's "Southern Steel"; Steve Morse is one of those guitar players that other guitar players listen to, with an impressive resume (the Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Deep Purple) and some incredible chops.

In this track, Morse is joined by former Night Ranger guitarist Jeff Watson in a blistering southern-fried jazz-rock-country duet. The cartoon's got nothing to do with the song.

The part of the song that blew me away comes in at about 1:40, starting with bass player Dave La Rue tapping a triplet figure.

Then the guitar comes in.

For the past 20 years, I thought that the complex tapping was all Jeff Watson, who's known for his 8-fingered tapping technique. I've spent hours trying to figure out the pattern, wondering how the hell one man's 8 fingers was doing this. I've seen some transcriptions of his solos with Night Ranger, and there's nothing close to this among them.

Then, two nights ago, I stumbled upon this live clip of the Steve Morse Band playing the song...and Jeff Watson's no longer on the Guitar God pedestal. Morse and La Rue are playing The Riff themselves, and based on the Night Ranger transcriptions I looked at, Watson's contribution is the shorter riff that shows up at around 1:51 in the clip above.

Scratch one Guitar God--and install a Bass God in his place:

It looks like Morse is playing a straightforward triplet tapping pattern, but I'd like to see more of La Rue's hands so I can finally figure this thing out.

What a great song.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Song of the Day: Jump in the Fire (Metallica)

This is the only other good religion story I've got aside from "Burn in Hell" and Pvt. Preacher.

I really wish I had the patience to hang out with fundies, righties, teabaggers, and conspiracy kooks--I'd have so many more stories.

This one comes from a visit by a cousin who came to see my parents about 20 years ago. We were sitting at the kitchen table, talking family gossip and such. I don't know what spurred it, but she told us about a revival/bonfire she'd been to.

People were asked to bring any sinful contraband they could latch their mitts on--bad books, bad music, anything that might cause an uncontrolled or impure thought, anything that might detract from proper religious purity.

Basically, anything interesting, thoughtful, controversial, or fun.

She described one person who brought some Metallica records. When the evil vinyl was thrust into Christ's Purifyin' Flames...they jumped right back out!

They were SO EVIL that they couldn't stand the heat!!

Fortunately for all of us, those Satanic would-be escapees were rounded up and thrown bodily back into the Cleansin' Flames!

I'm amused by the stupidity of these people--but I'm disgusted, as well, by their need to destroy anything that might compete with their imaginary buddy in the sky.

It wasn't so long ago when such people were putting people into those flames over a difference of religious opinion. There are plenty of them today who wish they could bring those good old days back. They must look across the Atlantic at what the Taliban and other Muslim fundies have done and sigh wistfully, wishing they could ban music, books, games, anything of which they disapproved.

Fuck 'em. Here's the song: Metallica's "Jump in the Fire." The "Evil" tag's for those who would censor it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fuel Tank 1-Year Follow-up (with Product Placement)

For the past two years, the days surrounding June 3rd have been aggravating.

In 2009, I discovered a fuel leak in the X-11's gas tank and made what I thought was a solid repair using a sheet-metal screw, a Sobe soft drink bottle cap (before they switched to plastic), some J-B Weld, and the 2-part epoxy putty from a "fuel tank repair kit" available at any car-parts store.

Don't waste your money on that kit. The epoxy lifted and peeled off over the next year, and 6 days short of the anniversary of the first fix my car was incontinent again.

For the fix, I used only regular J-B Weld slathered and a pop-rivet to seal it off.

A year later, the patch is solid. That's some good stuff.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Song of the Day: Burn in Hell (Twisted Sister)

One of my favorite torture devices for the fundie mind.

When you're done with Basic Training, your next stop is AIT--Advanced Individual Training--where you learn the skills of your specialty. In my case, it was a Signal Corps (communications) job, 31N or Patch Panel Operator.

I was one of only two 31N students in the barracks building; most of the guys in my 8-man dorm were 31M radio operators, but we only ever had 7 guys.

One of them was sane for the first two weeks...but then the Dear John letter arrived that turned him into Private Preacher. His girlfriend left him for someone else. Pvt. Preacher melted down and found religion and in the grand tradition of religion-finders he wanted the rest of us--the entire Army base--to find it, too.

I wasn't digging, which made me into Pvt. Preacher's project. He couldn't understand how I could fail to be enthralled by the great sales pitches, impressed by the promise of Life Eternal, and all that. I patiently explained each time that I didn't believe in that stuff, and had the dog tags to prove it (granted, the Army in its wisdom only authorized me to be NO REL PREF, instead of ATHEIST, which is kind of close but not really many other government situations).

So Pvt. Preacher rebuked me each time, only to come back for another go.

Then I discovered Preacher's kryptonite.

I'd picked up a tape of Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry album (1984), the one with "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock," which were still getting pretty heavy airplay in early 1987.

Not a bad album--but that one golden track, the one that made the Preacher scurry around, was "Burn in Hell."

He tried several times to get me into deep philosophical discussions over this one song. DEEP?! Twisted Sister, deep?! Bahahahahahahaaaaaaaa! Thoughtful, maybe, but not deep.

"Aren't you afraid you're gonna go to hell, listening to that?"

He couldn't understand the song's message even after I pulled out the lyrics and read them to him. Sad:

You can't believe all the things I've done wrong in my life
Without even trying I've lived on the edge of a knife
Well, I've played with fire, but I don't want to get myself burned
To thine own self be true, so I think that it's time for a turn

Before I burn in hell
Oh, burn in hell

Take a good look in your heart, tell me what do you see?
It's black and it's dark, now is that how you want it to be?
It's up to you, what you do will decide your own fate
Make your choice now for tomorrow may be far too late
That looks like a cautionary tale to me, not a "Hey, come join me, let's eat some Christian baby BBQ and piss in the holy water fountain!"

After a few weeks, Pvt. Preacher gave up on his mission to convert me, rebuked me a final time, and moved on to annoy other people. I still get a chuckle out of the song.

Kind of a pity, though, that Marilyn Manson wasn't scaring fundies yet.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wound Vac.

I'd never heard of such a thing before, but the Wound Care folks are trying to get me set up with one.

It's not much more than a little vacuum pump that draws fluid out of an open wound. It's supposed to increase blood flow to the injury and help it close up. There's some question (see the link) whether it's even effective for non-diabetic treatment, but I was told that it could speed my belly's healing by a few weeks.

Medicaid doesn't cover the rental--and I can understand why: this little handy-dandy wonder of modern medical technology is a grand or two a WEEK. I'm working on the "financial hardship" paperwork for one of these, but in the meantime I went looking for cheaper alternatives and found a story about an MIT student who worked up a hand-operated device that costs...three bucks.

Three. Bucks.

Danielle Zurovcik was going to test her invention in Rwanda, but took 50 of them to Haiti at the request of Partners in Health in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

Three. Bucks. (There's followup of the Haiti trip at this link.)

The basic design came from an accordion-style toilet plunger. There's a good picture of it at this link. That's pretty damn cool. "Heroes" tag goes to Zurovcik and anyone working with her on this gadget.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I knew I'd end up having to change out my own dressing eventually. I already knew how it'd feel--the incision site's been pretty numb from the beginning, so dressing changes haven't been painful at all. Just creepy.

When the various nurses and doctors were doing their things, all I felt was a sort of tugging, but below the skin.

The Wound Care Center is closed on weekends; so is the Urology office. In a pinch I could hit the Emergency Room, I guess, but this isn't an emergency. It's just a folded piece of alginate carefully teased into the opening, a piece of gauze over that, and an absorbent pad taped over the whole thing to keep it together. The alginate absorbs whatever drainage there is from surrounding tissues.

Doing it myself wasn't as bad as I was thinking it'd be--and I knew it wouldn't be, once I got past the fear and squeamishness.

Only 3 to 5 weeks left....

Ignorance is Unforgiveable.

Y'know, with that big Internet out there, there's no real excuse for the Alaska Idiot's ignorance of...well, everything.

Her recent howler about Paul Revere--claiming that he was riding to warn the British that Merkins was ARMED and they wasn't gunna take our guns--is just the latest shovel-full from the failed beauty queen. She also visited the Statute [sic] of Liberty. I wonder where that is.

The sad thing is, this imbecile was GUIDED in tours of these places and she STILL couldn't process the data except in talking points.

And this idiot is president material, according to stupid Republicans.

All the Alaska Moron has to do is get the "Schoolhouse Rock" box set--or go to YouTube:

Goddammit, there's just no excuse for ignorance.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Four to Six More Weeks.

I've been referred to the hospital's Wound Care Center; they're taking over from the Urology staff who were packing/repacking my slowly-healing belly.

It's not a crisis; there's no out-of-control infection or any other excitement. Just my big Buddha belly. A deep fat layer slows the healing process.

The Wound Care folks started in on me yesterday, taking pictures and using a long swab to map out the incision site, poking & prodding. I'm getting used to that--but these new nurses are using the same "When you do this yourself..." wind-up as the Urology people.


I can sit through "Trauma: Life in the ER" and similar shows with no problem. I've seen blood flowing out of a guy, taking his life with it. I've seen a disarticulated knee joint, with the top of the man's tibia shining white and clean in the midst of the torn hamburger of the rest of his leg. I've seen bikers with both femurs snapped like matchsticks, their lower legs at odd angles. An old woman with emphysema who lit a cigarette, then tried to smoke with her oxygen mask. I was fascinated by all of it, watching the ER teams put these people back together, watching the montage of their recoveries. One of the most amazing accomplishments of humanity.

I can watch it on TV. I can't see me poking gauze into this hole in my belly. It's got to be done, whether I do it or not; the Wound Care folks say 4 to 6 weeks more, less if I load up on protein.

Talking myself into it isn't going to be that easy...I'm such a chickenshit.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I wish they wouldn't DO that!

Since I'm too chickenshit to repack my own wound, I've been running back once a day to the Urology center to let friendly non-squeamish nurses do it instead.

The day the last staples came out, it turned out that the 3-inch incision (used by the surgeon as a "hand assist" for the two smaller laparoscopic cuts for popping the bad kidney out) hasn't closed completely; there's an inch or so to go...and there's a small pocket in my belly at that spot.

The first "Hey! Uh...don't." moment came Wednesday when one doctor swabbed the incision to get a sample of the fluid that's been dribbling out for the past 2 weeks. I didn't feel anything, but I was watching as he ran the swab along one spot...then plunged the swab about 3" deep. He freaked out (quietly) and went looking for a doctor with laparoscopy experience; second guy told him it's fine, you see this sort of thing with "big guys" like me. The pocket's in the fat layer, not down in the muscle, and it'll just take a bit longer to heal up. But it's fine as long as I keep the area clean and change the packing and bandage (looks like a maxi pad).

Nobody did any poking yesterday, but this morning, a different doctor came in to look things over. This one stuck his finger in there to feel around (yes, he had a glove glove, no love, right?) and while I didn't feel it, I could see what he was doing.

It's still creeping me out, 9 hours later.

At least it doesn't hurt. I'm looking forward to a weekend of no poking or prodding or doctors going belly-spelunking.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Staples are Out!

Tomorrow will mark three weeks since I willingly allowed myself to be opened up.

The last of the staples came out this afternoon, but I've got a way to go still with that incision. The nurses who popped the staples ended up having to pack gauze into my belly--about an inch worth of it hasn't closed up and there's still significant drainage.

No pain, but the gauze-packing felt weird as hell.

The doctor expected me to do this myself, after the first time. I don't think so. I'm as chickenshit as they get when it comes to doing stuff like that. I'll fearlessly dive into a complicated carburetor rebuild, rebuild an engine in my back yard, get shoulder-deep in oil and grease all day long. But blood and living tissue leave me queasy...especially if it's mine.