Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Elvi has pneumonia and has spent pretty much two and a half weeks in bed.
I’m doing a lot of seeing doctors, a lot of preparation to teach, a bit of teaching, a lot of chauffeuring children, and a bit of taking care of Elvi.
The CPAP machine is tolerable, but I don’t see too much benefit from it yet. I still need a nap, although that nap is earlier than it used to be. For some odd reason, I only sleep four hours with the mask, wake up for an hour or so, then go to sleep again. Also, the mask has made me break out in pimples on the bridge of my nose.
In spring, Elvi noticed a poster for an upcoming sleep study. I love bending the path of future medical science in my direction, so I signed up. In return for an evening in a sleep lab, I would get an assessment of my sleeping and $50. What’s not to love?
I went in the night of August 11. I had electrodes on my chest, head, and legs, along with a blood-oxygen sensor on a fingertip and a microphone on my forehead. Bands around my abdomen and chest recorded expansion and contraction. They don’t let you sleep naked, so I wore boxers that, I later discovered, were somewhat crotchless. I went to sleep around 11:30 p.m. and at 2:00 a.m., the tech woke me to hook me up to a CPAP machine with a nasal mask. They woke me and kicked me out at 6:00 a.m. The group offered me another $50 for a follow-up experiment in which I’d hook up a home-based kit with the bands, microphone, and oxygen sensor – I did that, too.
So, here I was, $100 richer off the fat of the scientific land. I had a hunch something was up with my results since the nice lady running the study said I should soon hear from a sleep doctor. Today, I saw him.
The doctor showed me my results and the squiggly lines were dramatic. I have pretty bad sleep apnea, so bad that I never entered Stage 3 deep sleep. With the CPAP mask on, my sleep was normal and deep. He measured my 18.25″ neck and looked in my throat, which, he discovered, is unusually narrow. (Sorry, boys, I’m taken.)
He suggested a host of possibilities, from a fitted mouthpiece through CPAP through surgery. He says I’ll live another 40 years and thinks surgery to remove my tonsils and widen my throat is worth a try over 40 x 365 = 14,600 nights hooked up to an air tube. For now, though, I’m going to try CPAP – starting next week, when I have an appointment for a fitting.
The doctor said it’s possible that my sleeping problems have been causing my depression rather than the other way around. Once I start my sleep therapy, he told me, I may be able to stop taking the citalopram.
My dad is stable. He’s steady at a poor quality of life and bedridden, but things aren’t any worse.
He’s on the waiting list for a long-term-care facility and meanwhile spends his time in a bed at the Royal Vic.
We know what’s wrong with my dad. I hinted at it, but to my surprise I never posted it. He has a blockage in the vein that drains the thalamus. At this point, no one has any hope that he’ll recover at all.
A month and a half ago, my brother Jeff played with the results of my dad’s various imaging tests. He’s produced some amazing 3-D models from them (QuickTime required).
Here‘s my dad’s bones, kidneys, heart, and major abdominal blood vessels.
This one shows my dad’s skull. I don’t think it really has wood grain.
This last image shows the veins that are causing the problem. It’s kind of zombie-riffic.
One heck of a storm blew in this afternoon. I have my office temporarily in the dining room to take advantage of the central air conditioning, which we used to have. Our heat pump decided to not turn on last week, just after the company that installed and would service it went on a two-week hiatus for the construction holiday. So did our lawnmower-repair shop of choice.
Whose idea was a midsummer construction holiday and why do lawnmower repair shops and air-conditioning companies shut down for it? Good thing they’re open all of February.
So there I was, tapping away in the dining room with the glass doors open to let in some of the cool air – the temperature had dropped ten degrees (Celsius) in a minute. There was a lot of cool air and it was moving at a good clip. I heard a tremendous clunk from outside the front of the house but I didn’t hear the house falling (further) apart so I ignored it.
What happened, I just learned, is that a limb fell off a tree belonging to the house across the street. It fell, hit the road surface, and toppled uphill. It fell 15 feet from my car, which was parked on the far side of the street. Had the limb decided to keel over downhill, my car would have been covered in branches and foliage at best, and probably would have stopped one of the thicker branches with something dentable or breakable.
I dropped the two younger kids off at the bus to camp. Elvi is at a conference in Quebec City. Child One and I are going to par-tay!
Hey, bicycling asshat,
As you can see in the following Google Maps, de Maisonneuve has four lanes, one for bikes on the left, one for parking on the right and two for cars in the middle.
Last night, around 9:15, I passed you in my Mazda while you cycled in the right-middle car lane. I returned to the right lane and stopped at the red light, as drivers in Montreal sometimes do, at St. Marc. So did the car to my left. You had no room to pass me but instead of waiting behind me or USING THE FUCKING BIKE LANE, you squeezed yourself between our two stopped cars, scraping your handlebars along the side of my car in the process.
I opened the window to hear you sneer, “Je n’avais pas de place pour passer.”
I helpfully pointed out, “THERE’S A FUCKING BIKE LANE RIGHT THERE! CARS HERE, BIKES THERE!”
You dismissed me – “Asshole.” – and cycled through the red light on down de Maisonneuve. Apparently, you were too mentally retarded to decide to use the bike path then, too, and that forced me to drift into the left lane to pass you yet again. I may or may not have been completely over into the left lane.
Best of all, was five blocks later at the corner of Wood and de Maisonneuve when I again chose to stop at a red light. You caught up to us and this time with lots of room decided to press your face on my window and scrape your handlebars against my car again.
Other than the drunk who accosted us on Crescent street a few years back – and that was just a shove – I haven’t been in a physical fight since high school, but you’re lucky my kids were in the car. You may have been a little taller than me, but you can bet your doughy ass that I otherwise would have torn your smarmy Brazilianed facial hair off your chin after I tossed your bike into Alexis Nihon Plaza.
Seriously, you lame
fuck up jackass – why the hell do you think they have bike lanes?
And people wonder why the rest of us hate cyclists so much.
I spent two weeks at my dad’s while Marion went back to the Bahamas to settle and organize those things that needed to be settles and/or organized. While my dad has an attendant with him during the day, I was still responsible for meals and of course 15 or so hours during nights.
It’s not that tough to do, especially for two weeks, although the Claritin I took to cope with my cat allergy knocked me out. I would sleep for 12 hours through the morning and top it off with an afternoon nap of two or three hours, before or after driving carpool for the kids. My dad cries a lot these days and even though the attendant is there on the front line, I couldn’t concentrate enough to work through the sound.
I haven’t gotten a lot done this month, although I did grab every opportunity to leave the apartment to shop.
But here we are at the end of another month, and that means a baseball update. My team is improving. I have David Wright and now Roy Oswalt on the DL, but my hitting hasn’t missed a beat. Heck, it’s added beats. My pitching has held steady but more importantly is now more properly balanced. My decent pitchers are pitching decently. I have half a season to make up ground there, and to help, I picked up Paul Maholm (desperate times call for desperate measures) for my monthly add/drop. Wave goodbye to Adam Laroche.
Jason Bartlett and Roger Bernadina have stolen 11 bases for me so far.
.264 batting average (3rd)
125 HR (1st by 20)
480 runs (2nd but two out of first)
510 RBI (1st by 88!)
66 SB (5th)
3.98 ERA (8th)
1.32 WHIP (8th)
524 K (9th but six out of eighth)
40 wins (tied for 6th but five out of second)
4 saves (9th)
I have nine starters and Sergio Romo going now. I will move up in strikeouts and wins.
As promised, me at karaoke.
Elvi has already remarked at my resemblance to Julian from “Trailer Park Boys”, although my rum and coke is in a taller glass.
Bonus tech solution:
The video embedding function native to WordPress will not work properly with unlisted YouTube videos. Use the Viper’s Video Quicktags plug-in instead.
Operation Nibbler has landed. Here’s the debrief.
As I related two months ago, AutoXpressions sent me plastic shark teeth to try to fit into Nibbler, my copper-red 2011 Mazda 3 Sport (hatchback for you Americans) GS. The teeth are meant for a Miata/MX-5 so I knew there would be some fiddling to do. Now that we had two days of warmth and sun, I have completed my fiddling.In my original test fit, the teeth seemed to fit. I had to break some of the plastic tabs to get the teeth into the grill, but that’s what they’re there for. I cleaned the car, let it dry, and used the adhesive pads to attach the teeth. There were two problems, one with each row of teeth.
The upper teeth needed to bend with the curve of the grill so much that the stress in the plastic was far too strong for the glue. The outer ends would spring out of the grill no matter how much adhesive padding I used. I had to snip the top row of teeth in half and attach each half on independently.
In my original test, the bottom tooth row fit more or less fine, although they are a bit scraggly. The outer teeth point away from the car and the middle tooth points in. It’s not a big deal; they look fine from the front. I used the rainy weather to drive around with them in for two weeks and the tooth row stayed in place. The problem with this bottom piece, though, is that the white tabs show through the grill. It doesn’t look as neat as it should.
My solution to that was to mask the teeth and paint the tabs with high-heat, black spray paint. Once I was doing the bottom tooth row, I figured I might as well paint the tabs on the top teeth, too.
The paint dried during two rainy days and yesterday, we had sun again. When I did my original test fit, I had put the adhesive pads on the top of the tabs on the top row of teeth, but I had a brainstorm. When I place the teeth for good, I put the adhesive pads on the bottom of the tabs. They are attached to the bumper section of the grill, which is much wider than the narrow inturned rim of the body metal above the grill. The top teeth rest on the bumper in a triangular fashion, with the apex of the triangle being the bend between the teeth and the tabs. It looks great.
Here are the sizes and locations of the adhesive pads I used. I had my own roll of adhesive padding to replace the pads included with the teeth kit, which I used up in my initial testing.
Coming soon, video of me at karaoke!
April flew by, and took the beginning of May with it.
I spent part of one Thursday night in the hospital. My Imitrex and Dilaudid just don’t seem to work on my migraines anymore. Fortunately, the IV anti-emetic in the emergency ward does. In triage, they took my blood pressure and it was way high. I normally have slightly low blood pressure. I asked the nurse about it and she told me, “That’s how we know you’re not faking.”
I talked to my doctor during a check-up on my knee and he prescribed Maxalt and Ralivia. I’m not sure about Ralivia, which is an extended-release pain reliever (my migraines rarely last more than ten hours) but the combo knocked out the migraine I had last night.
Speaking of my knee, the doctor told me that there was a lot less joint movement. He thinks the ACL is healing and that I don’t need a surgical repair.
If this is start of a month, that means it’s time for a baseball update.
Led by Lance Berkman, my sluggers are creaming the ball – when they hit it. Too many hitters are struggling, and bringing my batting average down. Most of my pitchers are performing as expected except the two I thought would be best, keepers Chris Carpenter and Mat Latos. They’ve continued to pitch as poorly as they did last September. C’mon boys, step it up.
.256 batting average (6th)
49 HR (1st by 5 HRs)
208 runs (1st by 15)
209 RBI (1st by 45!)
29 SB (tied 6th, four out of second)
4.14 ERA (7th)
1.35 WHIP (7th)
200 K (9th)
14 wins (7th but four out of first)
3 saves (9th)
I have the worst pitching and second best hitting of all teams. I have 56.5 points and sit in fifth place overall. The standings are volatile, however, and every week sees nearly random shifts among the top top eight teams.
For May Day’s add and drop, I dumped Sam Demel and picked up Daniel Murphy. He better outperform Jason Bourgeois is all I gots to say about that.
My pitching can’t stay this bad, can it?
Spring is a time for the new, and this first week of spring brought many new things to me.
Friday, we went downtown and bought our tickets for the second Thunderdome nostalgia party (here’s a link for you Facebookers). That’s not new, but I’m counting it as a renewal, so there.
After we collected the tickets, we went to Fossil so I could buy a new money clip. I likes the one I had, which did not fold but kept my cards and money in a slim package. The clip on that one had given out, though, so it needed to be replaced. Fossil is the only brick-and-mortar place I found these things being sold. I normally don’t mind shopping online but I like to handle or try out items of comfort in person.
Fossil didn’t have exactly what I wanted, which was a money clip whose clip had a low profile. I had to choose between a bifold with a low profile clip on the outside or a money clip with a high profile. I went with the bifold. It feels a bit large in my pocket but I hope it will compress with time.
New wallet in pocket, we headed to Laval to fetch the new car. It’s a copper red Mazda 3 Sport GS (Americans, that means a mid-trim hatchback) and I love it. It was dark, so I got to try out my optional high-intensity discharge (HID; Mazda calls them Bi-Xenon) headlights. Yowsa! And the Bluetooth audio connection to my iPod touch is about as good as one of those flying cars the 1960s promised us.
I love the way it drives. The manual transmission is smooth and forgiving, although the clutch may be a bit too precise. Best of all was out salesman, a young natively bilingual guy from the boonies named Alexander Mosseau. If anyone is interested in a Mazda, ask for him at Mazda de Laval. It’s worth the drive.
After deciding on a Mazda a few months ago, I sent an e-mail to the following dealerships: Bourassa Mazda; Brossard Mazda; Longueuil Mazda; Mazda Chateauguay; Mazda Fairview; Mazda Gabriel; Mazda de Laval; and Spinelli Mazda. Alexander at Mazda de Laval was the first to respond, Chateauguay was second by a few minutes, and Fairview was third a few days later. Even though we chose Alexander on the basis of his quickness, I can’t imagine a better choice.
The main fault of Mazdas is a tendency to rust, and dealer rustproofing means a check-up every six months to maintain the warranty. I prefer the standard yearly inspection and application offered by third parties. I’m down to two choices and I’m wondering if anyone has advice. Nelson Garage applies the popular Krown treatment, which is drippy and annual – and they drill holes in your car. It costs $110. My second option is Barry’s Rustproofing, which uses a thicker, non-dripping grease. It will cost $400 initially and then a less expensive underbody treatment every three years. I’ve heard good and bad about both treatments. Do you have any tales to share?My next consideration is the teeth. The 2011 Mazda 3 has a huge front grill. It looks like a giant smile. What good is a huge smile, I thought, without teeth? AutoXpressions in California makes teeth for Mazda MX-5 Miatas. I contacted them and asked if they would make anything for the 2001 Mazda 3. They weren’t sure, but they offered to ship me a set of teeth for free. If they fit my Nibbler (the new car’s name), we could pay them; if not, no charge. I’m going to try to fit the teeth (seen on a MX-5 in that tiny graphic) using masking tape as soon as it warms up. We’ll see. People are divided on the teeth. They either love them (Children Two and Three) or hate them (my JOUR 528 students this year, who say they look douchy). That wasn’t all the new things we got Friday night. Saturday morning, Elvi went to look at January the chinchilla. January has occasional tooth spurs that need grinding and she’d been acting odd. Elvi yelped,”Oh my God!” (which is something she tells the children not to say). January had given birth to two babies! We had been trying to breed her for a year without success so this was a shock. Apparently, the only way you can tell a chinchilla is pregnant is by her elongated nipples and that’s just not something we look for too often.
Unlike the young of many other rodents, newborn chinchillas hit the ground furred with eyes open, walking and climbing. Each is about four inches long. Baby mammals have relatively large heads but the body length of these things is about a third head. They resemble Triceratops in that regard. We’ve decided to name them Walrus (the white one) and Grommet (the one with the gray head).
There’s still more news! I have contracted a terrible cold, with a side dish of pink eye. I guess I’m off to the doctor in Nibbler tomorrow.
Speaking of shopping online, I snagged the original Civilization board game on eBay, the first time I’ve owned a copy. I can’t wait to play it again.