Thursday, January 31, 2008

Police Log

I just now got done filing my taxes for 2007. I think this is the fastest I have ever gotten it done, and I am surprised that I got all my documentation on time this year. I'm getting a good refund, which makes me happy...but it is almost all spent already. I have to get new tires and brakes, plus a new water heater.

Anyhow, I don't do a lot of web surfing. This is because once you see one website, you've seen them all. Well...almost.

While reading a favorite blog, Jalopnik...the blog for cars, there was a link to a newspaper in a small town in California. Arcata, California, to be exact.

The newspaper, the Arcata Eye, bills itself as "the mildly objectionable weekly newspaper for Arcata, California." This is a great independent newspaper that has news in it that real people could get in to. I wish the papers here in the Dayton area were so good...

Anyhow, the best part of the paper is the Police Log. Every small newspaper has a police log that points out some of the more interesting pieces of information that the local constabulary makes available from their reports.

This is some of the funniest stuff that I have ever read. It is filled with gems, like this...
2:16 p.m. She’s not getting along with her ex-boyfriend, and now her rear-view mirrors are broken. Coincidence? One wonders. Well, she does anyway.
8:59 p.m. He may have been the most drunken man to ever stagger the earth, and he added to his repertoire of senseless activity by banging on the walls of his Alliance Road apartment and screaming. Police advised silence as an alternative to jail.
12:06 p.m. In retrospect, it was sheer foolishness to leave a portable computer, wallet and other valuables in a car at Fourth and J streets over the weekend.
• Sunday, January 6 10:24 a.m. A damaged raccoon on Samoa Boulevard was ministered to (see story, page B4).
6:12 p.m. A man in a red jacket ranted and raved at an electrical box on H Street.
3:34 a.m. A man on the Plaza had an argument with himself until asked to debate his inner demons elsewhere.
2:07 p.m. He left his wallet in his sweatshirt with his backpack in front of a Westwood market for “just a minute.”
4:41 p.m. A suspected sub-genius in a long black trench coat whiled away the afternoon pointing toy guns at cars entering a Uniontown parking lot.

Makes you think that police work in Arcata, California is really fun!

The author of these tidbits of gendarme reality is Kevin Hoover, and he apparently has several books out of his famous police logs, detailing some of the greatest bits and pieces of Arcata police history.

I must warn you, however, that if you go to the website to read the funniest police logs you will ever read, you may just spend hours reading. You have been warned!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

School Daze

I was reminded this morning of my elementary school days.

On the radio this morning, the dee-jays were discussing a contest in which someone would get to meet two members of the band Duran Duran. They stated that you can enter as often as you like. This lead to a math difficulty. One of the dee-jays said that if 10,000 entries are recorded and you enter once, then you have a 1 in 10,000 (1/10,000) chance of winning. If you enter 200 times, then you have a 200 in 10,000 (200/10,000) chance of winning. One of the other dee-jays told him to reduce his fraction.*

They couldn't figure it out right away. They even looked around for a calculator.

However bizarre the circumstances, I was reminded of elementary school. Specifically, some of the irritating and aggravating things that I experienced while suffering through.

I went to elementary school in a suburb of Dayton, but not the place I live now. I believe the education therein to be sub-par, but I am of a prejudiced opinion.

In second grade, I had a haggard, old bitty of a teacher, Mrs. N, who delighted in reigning over her class with an iron fist. Her method of getting attention was to blow a gym whistle with all her might right in our small classroom. I have to wonder if this lead to my tinnitus, perhaps? Regardless of whether we behaved in class or not, when released for recess, she would make us "stand on the line." This was a punishment in which we would have to stand on a line painted on the playground pavement parallel to the building. Every few feet, there was a short perpendicular line crossing the longer parallel, and it is on the point where they crossed where we were required to individually stand, facing the building. Sometimes it would be for a few minutes, sometimes for the whole of recess. I believe the Geneva Convention specifically forbids this type of treatment.

In third grade, we had a somewhat different setup of a classroom. We shared a large classroom with another class, and Mrs. M and Mrs. O shared responsibility for teaching different subjects. The evil of this grade level was the inane busy work we were assigned. I had to wonder if teachers actually taught in elementary schools. Every week, we were given about 30 words that we had to define on paper. From the dictionary. Verbatim. These were words, such as "run" which when written out longhand took about 500 pages of notebook paper in the typically large and uneven handwriting that is normal for third graders. The words were always ones that had ridiculously long definitions. While I understand that this can help children to learn the meanings, both primary and alternates, is it really necessary to copy from the dictionary verbatim? Is this not a violation of copyright?

In fourth grade, our teacher Mrs. M (a different one from the 3rd Grade Mrs. M) was an unpleasant individual. Any time one of us would tell her something that she found uninteresting, which was most of the time, she would belt out a heartfelt "Thrillsville." and look at us like we had a third eyeball. It was also in this class that we had one of the most awful things ever...

"The Mad Minute"

If you have never heard of "The Mad Minute," count yourself lucky. This was a quiz of sorts dealing with easy mathematical problems, and they filled a letter-size paper horizontally. There were 60 of these problems. Each page dealt with a different operand, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We were expected to complete as many as possible within the one minute time period. After which, we traded papers with another student and they graded them for the teacher and announced the scores to the universe, while the teacher wrote the scores on a chart. Click here for downloadable evil.

I never did very well on these quizzes. I'm not really good at math, so I would often get only a few because I would have to count on my fingers. I believe that I was one of the worst in the class at this. The one thing about this test that I thought was unfair was that as soon as you got one wrong, that was it. Grading stopped. So, if you managed to answer all 60, and got the last 59 correct, but the first one wrong, you got a big fat 0. Yeah, that will stimulate learning.

The one thing I remember, though, was my evil side coming to bear on one of these tests. After the 60 seconds, we were to write our name on the back of the sheet and hand it to someone else in the room. She would say "Ok, write your John Hancock on the back and pass it along." So, I did exactly that...I wrote "John Hancock" on the back and passed it along. It went ok until she called out for my score. No one answered. She asked a couple more times, and the dingleberry that got my paper said, I have John Hancock's paper. I then admitted to her that that was, indeed, my paper. To which she looked me over like I had a third eyeball.

This is also the same teacher that initially thought that I could not read. In the fourth grade. Hmmm. She broke the class up into groups based on perceived reading level, and I was with the remedial group. We got a special easy-to-read textbook called "Superkids". Very simplistic. She went around our group and had us read aloud. The others read slowly and carefully, sounding out words and such. They read, at most, a paragraph. When she got around to me, I belted out about two pages before she stopped me and sent me to her "advanced" group.

Never mind that the standardized reading and comprehension tests we were given placed me as a college-level reader. In the fourth grade.

I can deal with my math issues. I am still not good at math, but I understand quite a number of advanced mathematical concepts that I learned over the years. But with reading, and reading for comprehension, I had an early start. My mother read to me constantly. She read me anything and everything she could, from typical children's books (my favorite being "The Giant Jam Sandwich") to newspapers and magazines like Newsweek and National Geographic. I could read at 3 years old. The second word I learned was "TV Guide". (The first was "porcupine", for whatever that's worth.) I knew how to read the TV Guide so I could find my favorite cartoons and shows. I just didn't want to read what these teachers put in front of me to read. Old boring crap like "Dick and Jane" books and goofy stories from textbooks just did not interest me. I did, however, read our science textbook cover to cover multiple times. I would read Star Trek books constantly, and did up until I started college. I loved electronics, computer and photography magazines and always had some in my backpack to read during recess or on the walk home.

I am certainly glad that school daze are over. I don't think I could deal with it. But sometimes I think back on my time in school and think how great it would be if I knew then what I know now, and had the same flip and cynical attitude that I enjoy today. I would certainly have been expelled...several times.

Even today I get depressed around "Back to School" time. I don't know why, since I've been out of school...even college...for a number of years. I have to remind myself that I don't have to go to school anymore. Sometimes I have awoken in the night around back-to-school season with cold sweats and heart palpitations thinking that I have to go back to the hell that was elementary school.

Thank God junior high and high school were much better!

*The correct answer is 1 in 50 (1/50).

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Third Dog

I already blogged about the other two dogs. I didn't want to leave out dog number 3.

This is Murphy. She is a Tibetan Terrier, a relatively rare breed that is not, in fact, a terrier. She's something around 12 years old now, and is now more gray than black.

Fig. 1: Murphalene Hydroxide. Use only as directed.

Her full name is "Murphy Brown", named for the television character of the same name played by Candice Bergen. Back in the day when we got her, Murphy Brown was on all the time. It is still a program that I enjoy watching. I love the dry humor! The two Murphys are so alike!

Murph has gotten sweet in her old age. She used to be a stand-offish little pain in the ass when she was younger. After her rival Sassie, the cocker spaniel, passed away, she sweetened up quite a bit. She gets along famously with Mr. Data, and intimidates the hell out of Gryffin.

Fig. 2: Murphy in the Yard

How we got her is an interesting story. There are very few breeders of Tibetan Terriers in the US. My mother's boss, SG, wanted one for his family. Well, his wife and three daughters wanted one, and he's a pushover and fully whipped. It is these four women that are to blame for his follicle difficulties. i.e., he's as bald as an eagle.

A breeder in California was contacted and stated that she had two female puppies available. One black and white, one white and black. Unsure of which color scheme would be more suitable, they opted for the black and white one. The black and white one arrived and they liked it alot.

He asked my mother if we would benefit from the additional canine companionship, and offered to purchase said functional opposite for us. This, to the tune of $500. Some bonus, that.

Fig. 3: Murphy vs. Gryffin.

The soon-to-be Murphy was shipped from California via Delta Airlines Cargo. On a flight that was delayed. Twice. We waited at the cargo counter for three hours past her scheduled arrival time. She finally arrived. A tiny ball of what we thought was lint was at the back of a huge dog crate. I said, "They sent us THAT?"

She is definitely a momma's girl. She follows mother around all over the house. Sometimes mother will sleep in the spare bedroom upstairs if father starts snoring badly, and this "little bed" is Murphy's preferred sleeping option. She will often sit in on the little bed and bark incessantly until either a) mother goes to bed in the "little bed", or b) mother tells her to shut the hell up.

Fig. 4: Murphy, the demon.

She really is a great little dog. It is really cute the way she plays with Mr. Data. I often will egg her on, "Bite Data, bite him! Bite that dog!" They don't bite hard, and it is really funny to watch them play.

Thankfully, the little princess doesn't shed. We'll occasionally find a long, black or white hair around the house, but there is absolutely no shedding. This is because Tibetan Terriers have a silky coat of hair rather than a fur topcoat/undercoat. She is quite soft and smooth, but like a typical dog, gets in to her share of muddy messes. Since she has hair, she gets matted quite easily so we have to keep her brushed and groomed all the time. Our groomer sees dollar signs when we walk in.

All in all, she really is a joy to have around.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Everybody Loves Michael

I watch Everybody Loves Raymond pretty much every night. It is on TBS around the time I eat dinner. (when I eat...see previous posts)

I make remarks all the time about how defective their family is, how much of a doofus Ray is, how overbearing his father is, how much of a bitch Deborah can be, how nosy his mother is. The only one that doesn't really have a problem is Ray's brother, Robert. Well, except for the severe mental imbalances caused by the defective family.

Tonight there was an episode in which Deborah's parents came to visit, and the group went out to a four star restaurant to eat. Ray's parents didn't want to go because they "don't go to places like that." When they finally did get there, there was nothing but loud, boisterous complaining. The prices were too high, even though Deborah's parents were paying. There was no rye bread..."what would the restaurant do if someone Jewish came to eat?" There were too many glasses, five forks when they need only two, etc. It is as if the ides of a fine restaurant was completely alien.

This is a program that is a sitcom...a situation comedy...that is written in a specific way as to be funny. It is not supposed to reflect real life. Really, it is NOT. Truth is stranger than fiction.

This episode reminded me of the time my parents and I took my dad's parents on vacation with us to Nags Head, North Carolina. Nags Head is a great little town on route 12 on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We used to vacation there quite often until it got really touristy. Anyhow, it used to be a great place to visit, and we would stay in a little place right on the ocean side beach.

The trip started off uneventfully. We arrived in the evening and got settled in. Then it started getting bad.

There was no coffee ready the next morning. When dad did get the coffee ready, it wasn't worthy of their consumption. "Oh, that is not very good coffee, oh, not good at all."

We went out to eat pretty much every night at some of the best restaurants in the town. Every restaurant was the same. "Oh, this isn't very good, is it? Not good at all. I don't like this, it is not good at all." This went on all week. Day in, day out.

There was one particularly great restaurant we ate at, I cannot recall the name, where I had the best stuffed grouper I have ever had. As I recall, dad had the lobster and steak and mom had a platter of scallops, clam strips and crab. It was at this restaurant that the most interesting part of this story happens.

The grandparents wanted rare hamburgers.

In North Carolina there is a health law that states that any ground meat must be cooked to well done and have an internal temperature of 160°. I don't know about you, but I like my ground meats (when I eat them, which is not often) to be well cooked. I don't really want to spend any more time in the hospital than necessary.

There was a lot of unhappiness at this wonderful dinner. The grandparents were very dissatisfied at this answer. "I've have never heard of anything like this before, no I have not." "I can't believe it, I am not happy at all." "Oh, this is terrible, I cannot eat overcooked meat like this, no I can't."

They did order the hamburgers, overcooked, at a seafood restaurant. And they complained, constantly, about not being able to get their rare hamburgers. For the rest of the week.

Dad babysat his parents often during this trip. Mother and I would swim in the ocean, walk on the beach, go shopping in town. We did it so we could get away from the complaining.

Everybody Loves Raymond isn't do far off the mark after all.

This was the one and only time we vacationed with the grandparents. I should also add that 80% of the complaining was the grandmother. That is dad's step-mother.

Also, the reason we haven't been back to the Outer Banks is because of the tourists. You know who you are. You dingleberries with those obnoxious, idiotic oval "OBX" stickers on your gas-guzzling SUVs like it is some kind of foreign country. I was vacationing in the Outer Banks before it became popular. It is you, nasty tourist, that ruined the Outer Banks for all of us that don't do the touristy things. You should be ashamed.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cancer: Part 4 - PET Scan Results

I got the results from the PET scan I had a week ago. I, and my mother, met with Dr. M2 this afternoon.

The scan results indicate that the three tumors in my neck, all lymph nodes, have reduced in size significantly. The also have much less "uptake" than before. The "uptake" reading indicates how fast the cells are eating up the radioactive sugars. Mine were listed as a "3" on the scale of 0 to 9. 0 is dead, 3 is normal and 9 is a very aggressive tumor. There is also a small indication of something in my right side neck, and a nearly invisible micro-spot on my right lung.

Some of this sounds good, some bad. I assure you, the news is pretty good! The indication is that the tumors are now nothing more than scar tissue-filled lymph nodes, which will often show normal on a PET scan but still be visible on the adjoining CAT scan. Scar tissue is oftentimes more dense than normal tissue, so it is more visible on CAT scans. Due to the normal uptake of the glucose, there is a great chance that the cancer has been eliminated. The spot on the right side of my neck is most likely damage from radiation, and the spot on my lung is related to an incident of severe pneumonia I had back in 1989. The largest tumor started out at 1" in size, it is now less than 2/3 of an inch, so the treatments have had a definite effect.

I am to get in to see the E, N and T doctor, Dr. S, sometime next week, and he will make a determination whether to operate and remove the nodes, or if they think waiting it out and seeing if they reduce even more is an option. Either way, as of now there will be no more radiation or chemotherapy. The plan in the beginning was to try to reduce the size of the tumors, and if they are not completely gone, then at least surgery to eliminate them will be considerably less invasive.

I have also lost more weight, I am down to 210 lbs. As a friend of mine said today, this was both a blessing and a curse. I now, officially, have no pants that fit. A visit to JCPenney's is in order!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BMW Ultimate Drive 2006

I love BMWs. About two years back, Chris and I were invited to the "BMW Ultimate Drive", which is to experience BMWs, at none other than a local BMW dealership.
Fig. 1: The refreshment spread.

BMW has a great program. The Ultimate Drive benefits the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Every mile put on the sample BMWs is one dollar that BMW donates to the foundation. Chris and I were proud to do our part because we like BMWs and boobies. They have a couple of trailers full of their various cars that they tote around to, eventually, every BMW dealership to give everyone the chance to drive.

Fig. 2: The 330i Signature Car

The neatest thing is the "signature car" that was displayed in the showroom. It was silver and all gussied up in a pink ribbon motif, the trademark of the foundation. What makes it even more special is that anyone that drove a BMW for the cause actually got to sign the actual car with an actual Sharpie marker! I put my name, of course, and Chris put down his number one son's name, Dan. The names are forever etched on a 2006 330i to be displayed in, I think, the BMW Zentrum museum at their factory in South Carolina.

Fig. 3: Writing on a BMW

We sampled a large number of vehicles. Chris rather enjoyed the 530i wagon, and I fell in love with the 645i convertible. These are, of course, cars that neither of us can afford. It is nice to have dreams though. Chris brought his digital SLR and took most of the pictures. He is the photographer, after all.

Fig. 4: Chris driving the 530i wagon.

Fig. 5: Chris' favorite part - the HUGE sunroof!

The thought of a large number of people hooning all over northeast Dayton in BMWs might frighten some, but they didn't seem to care. There was not one single cop anywhere to be found. The route took us on city streets, backroads and interstate. With a BMW, getting up to speed is quite easy. I have wonder how much BMW paid off the local police...

Fig. 6: Me (when I was larger) enjoying the 645i convertible.

Fig. 7: Someone going fast.

Chris and I had a contest as to who could drive fastest. I won with 120 mph in the 645i. Chris had 114 mph in the 745i sedan. Just don't tell anyone, mmmkay! This was out in the country and there was no traffic, so it was at least a bit safe. Relatively speaking.

Fig. 8: Me and Chris in the 645i convertible.

Fig. 9: Me driving the much smaller 330i convertible.

Chris drove the 745i sedan, the pinnacle of BMW luxury. This is a remarkably advanced car. The driver's seat has a function that will massage your butt cheeks and raise and lower the cushions under each cheek to help prevent seating fatigue on long drives. Those crazy Germans!

Fig. 10: Chris enjoying the 745i luxury sedan.

It was a lot of fun and for a good cause. We were going to go in 2007, but there was the little matter of my coming down with cancer. We will, however, be going this year come hell or high water.

BMW knows how to make a car. Even though they are pricey, I think they are well worth it. Any car that can put up with me or Chris is a well made car! Upon leaving, my Chevy didn't quite feel the same...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Big Dog

Since I posted about the Pillowhound, I thought it only fair to post about Big Dog. Big Dog is, like his brother, a golden retriever. The difference is that he has a different mother, and he was the largest puppy of both litters.
Fig. 1: King-size puppy.

Big Dog is huge. I don't mean fat, he is not over fed and gets lots of exercise. He is just BIG. The average golden is supposed to weigh about 80 pounds. Big Dog is well over 100 pounds. Add that to the lap-dog mentality, and you have the makings of some quite painful and amusing events.

Fig. 2: Big Dog, older.

His name isn't really Big Dog. He is my mother's dog and she is a huge fan of Harry Potter. To wit, his name is "Gryffindor Seeker", or Gryffin for short. So much does she love this dog, that dad bought her a vinyl window cover for the back window glass of her car with a golden on it, and she has personalized plates... "MYGRYFN". (Though the picture looks more like Data.)

Fig. 3: Goofy Portrait of a Big Dog.

The most remarkable thing about him is his coat. It almost like he has no overcoat, or the hard fur layer that most large breeds have. His fur is extremely soft, his coat smooth. Every square inch of him is covered in this wonderful softness; he is a joy to pet or cuddle with.

The fur, however, is a curse. There is a lot of it, and he and Data leave it all around the house. Mother has to vacuum daily. We wore out one vacuum with dog hair. Mother and father invested in a Dyson vacuum, which are so great I got one, that picks up even more fur. But, vacuuming is still a daily chore. It doesn't help matters that the house has no central air and it is sealed tighter than even recommended in this day and age, so there is little air flow to help control some of this stuff. Hair sticks to everything. I regularly have to disassemble their big screen TV to clean the mirror, projector lenses, screen and circuit boards because of the dog hair.

One of the cutest things about him is his whiskers. The left side of his face the whiskers are white. On the right side, towards the front of his snout, many of the whiskers are jet black. He also has a black birthmark on his tongue just like his father. I refer to him as defective, but I really think that these things are adorable.

He is also quite lazy. While Data is a very active dog, and little Murphy runs the whole show, Gryffin would rather lay back and do nothing. Well, not nothing...he'd like to get petted and loved on. If we are in the kitchen, he will lay quietly at mother's feet under the table. He is big enough that if we don't wear shoes to the table, he can keep all of our feet warm. When it is quiet time and they are all laying around the house, they will not move when you walk by. We have to step around or over them. We've gotten used to that. Gryffin, though, is the king of laziness. I tell mother to poke him every once and a while to make sure he is still alive.

He's quite smart, too. He knows how to shake hands, and will desire to do so without even being asked. He will present his paw, like the Queen of England, to anyone that stops to pay attention to him. When he doesn't want to do something, like go outside to potty, he won't. If you try to make him, he will sigh, turn over and give you his paw as if to say "piss off!"

He is definitely my mother's dog!

Monday, January 14, 2008


My family have always been dog people. There has rarely been a time when we did not have a dog of some form. After our beloved Sassie, the little black and white cocker spaniel passed away, we were left with only Murphy, the evil Tibetan terrier. Also black and white.

Murphy is good company, though. But mother longed for a puppy to replace Sassie. I was against it, based on that mother always says "when 'x' passes away, there will be no more dogs!" and that no dog could replace Sassie.

We're all hypocrites.
Fig. 1: Baby Data

A friend of my mother's had three golden retrievers, two females and a male. All gorgeous and well cared for. Unfortunately, when you get males and females together, they do what comes naturally. So, we went and visited with the litters. I chose the pup above, which I named Data after my favorite character in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

He's very smart, in a conniving sort of way. I should have called him "Q".

Fig. 2: Data, older. Sans pillow.

Being a typical golden, he has to have something in his mouth at all times. This means that he retrieves anything and everything, including clothing and pillows. He has not learned, despite our best efforts, to give us back that which he retrieves.

Any time he goes into the living room, he will make a beeline for the couch and pick up one of the two cream-colored pillows situated thereon. We keep trying to break him of this, to no avail. We have plenty of toys all over the house, so it isn't like he should be bored. We play with him and Big Dog and Murphy quite a lot. Big Dog doesn't do these things, and Murphy is too small to play with the pillows...not that they interest her anyway.

Since he has a fascination with pillows, we now call him the "pillowhound".

They live at mom and dad's place, because I don't have a fenced yard. When I said that I would like to get a fenced yard, mother stated quite clearly that I could not have my dog. Data is mine, as I paid for him, but mother and father have taken care of vet checks and food. Plus, I couldn't bear to separate him from his brother Big Dog, or his best friend Murphy.

And I don't have to deal with the hair in my house. I shed enough on my own, thank you very much!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do Your Job!

My friend Chris at work takes a lot of abuse from me. Generally it is unintentional, and I try to shield him from "harm" as much as he does me. We run interference for each other a lot, and sometimes I wonder if my boss thinks that we tag team him to get things done our way.

On Friday, after our staff meeting and on the way back to the building we work in, I started getting madder and madder. One of our illustrious colleagues failed to do something and used an excuse that I had done something to the system to prevent it from working properly. This is, unfortunately, par for the course for this person. Chris has experienced this a number of times, and had called him on it time and time again. I have had issues once or twice myself. If there is something about his software that is not working, he instantly blames the Windows installation and tells Chris that he needs to reload the PC. This, to date, has never been the is usually a part of his software that needs configuration or installation. Thankfully, previously none of these issues have ever been so visible as the one from last week.

In our passenger waiting area we have some large LCD displays to note the arrival of buses to our downtown stops. Way back in the day, I did the setup of these things. I bought the four large monitors and had them installed, I setup the computer and the associated software. I even did the background graphics to give it some real class. This was at a time when there was no real person in the position that is supposed to handle this type of setup for the software system we use. You see, one of our colleagues jobs is to maintain this software system for our transit dispatch functions.

Even though it is not my job, over the years I have managed to soak up quite a bit of intimate knowledge about the software and hardware functions of our dispatch system, from the computers to the radios to the software...everything is very tightly integrated. The system has its flaws, and stability can be an issue at times. With the complicated nature of the entire system, it is a wonder that it runs as reliably as it does. Microsoft would do well to make Windows so reliable.

The issue last week was that another one of our colleagues who takes the bus to work regularly reported to "A" that the monitors were not working. Without even taking the time to look at it, he blamed me instantly, saying that it was because of a piece of software that I had loaded. He said that I would have to be the one to fix it since it was my problem.

Now, this software that I loaded is a small program designed to scroll messages "stock ticker" style across a narrow band at the bottom of the screen. It is tiny and non-invasive. Not to mention that this software had been run on this same system off and on for years with no ill effects.

The person that reported the problem "D", then sent an email to me and our boss telling of the conversation she has with "A". I got the email and sent a rather poignant email back to my boss explaining to him everything that went on and how this is typical of "A".

The software that displays the arrivals frequently stops responding...generally about once a week. All that is required is to exit the program, bring it back up and load the configuration file. It takes about a minute. How hard would it be to do this? We have complete remote access to every single computer on our network, so "A" would not even had to move.

In the staff meeting, our boss asked "A" about the monitors and he responded that it should be my responsibility to fix it since I had loaded the software. I, quite vocally, disagreed. He stated that it was my problem since I loaded the software and didn't tell him that there was new software on the box. (To which I will agree I should have done.)

We went back and forth a number of times in this manner, and he said that he never received the email from "D" about the problem and didn't know about it. Then "D" interjected that she actually walked up to him and told him about the problem as soon as she discovered it, and he instantly responded that I would have to work on it...not him!

I started coming unglued.

My boss stated that it was indeed the responsibility of "A" to make sure the display software operates which he was visibly annoyed.

The conversation then turned to an issue regarding a clock in the dispatch center that was off the correct time. This is an issue that I had heard nothing about. The clock in question connects to a computer in the dispatch center via a serial port, and there is a tiny piece of software on the box that sends the time. Our boss interrogated us as to why this was not fixed in a timely manner. I couldn't say anything because I didn't even know about it.

I found it amazing that "A" did not know about the clock. It is integrated with our dispatching software, and I had to explain to him all about the clock and what computer it is connected to. He stated that none of the computers have any connections to any clocks. The only connections to any computers are the radio consoles. To this, I had to explain to him that, No, the consoles are not connected to the computers in any fashion! He then stated that the dispatch software did not have a module for the clocks. To this, I had to explain that the software is indeed included and that the dispatch software vendor had sold us and installed the clocks to begin with! I called him out in the meeting about it. "What, you don't know how the software you are supposed to maintain works?"

In the end, it was discovered that the computer that the clock was connected to had been moved, against MIS policy by a person in the dispatch center. We were not told about this. The computer that was put back into place did not have the software, so all it would need is the software installed.

I am getting really fed up having to be the expert in all things in our department. I end up having to perform some of the most mundane tasks that anyone in the department should be able to handle. Now, doing this is part of all of our jobs, but some others frequently turn over these tasks to Chris or myself without even trying to solve the problem or answer the question because they are oh, so busy with their own work.

"A" as become the biggest problem in the department in this regard. Rather than learn more about the system that he is supposed to maintain, or help with the general helpdesk calls (in which he IS the backup for the helpdesk position), he spends time talking to friends on his cell phone or chatting with them online.

On the way back from the meeting, I was really hot. Chris was pleased to see that "A" is finally getting called on the carpet for his misdoings, which have been long in coming. I hollered to Chris about "A" all the way back to the building, in the garage and into our office. I shouldn't holler at him, but I was not happy, and he understood and agreed with me.

I am getting really tired of doing everyone else's jobs. Why can't they do their own? I don't get paid enough for my own job, and I certainly don't get any extra for doing theirs. We all slack off some, it is to be expected and our boss can be very relaxed about it, and I certainly do my share of non-work. However, some of my colleagues take too much liberty with this and need to start taking responsibility for their own projects and helping with our multitude of shared responsibilities. Chris and I cannot possibly do everything.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Latest Obsession

Sometimes I get completely absorbed by something. I get to the point where I get so obsessed that I cannot live without whatever the subject of my obsession is.

When I was young, I, of course, had video games. I had a Nintendo system and played the likes of Tetris (which I was very good at) and Super Mario Brothers. In fact, my dad and I would play marathon sessions of Mario, at one point we would play about 6 hours straight!

As time went on, many house moves and familial tragedies forced me to give up video games. I could play, if I desired, but I had so much other stuff on my mind that playing games was the last thing I would thing about. I feel like I missed a lot of what childhood is all about.

Years later, my mom and I helped my dad outfit his truck with a new TV, and to keep him occupied we got him a Sony PlayStation 2 so he could play games and watch DVDs. I played with it for a bit, and thought that it would be fun, so I got one a few weeks later. I got a few games, and played with it on occasion. I just didn't really get into the whole gaming scene, as there was little on the PS2 platform to interest me.

Last weekend I took all my old video games and consoles (including the PS2) to our favorite local resale shop and sold them. Since I didn't play with them anymore, there was no sense in keeping them.

The one system I did play with is a Nintendo GameBoy SP. This is a little handheld system that I got years back because it had several of the original NES Mario games on it, like Super Mario 3, which was my favorite of the Mario series on the NES.

As an after Christmas surprise, mom and dad got me a Nintendo DS. This is a nice unit, as the screen is much clearer than my little SP, and newer games are available. I have been playing with this quite alot. The more I played with the variety of games that I have for the handheld system, the more I began to think that I missed out on something great.

The two popular consoles when I bought the PS2 was, of course, the PS2 and the Nintendo GameCube. I had not considered the GameCube, because of the overwhelming advertising push that Sony did to make the PS2 stand out. This is where I made my mistake. I should have gone with the system that had my favorite game characters, something that I could relate to.

Last weekend I broke down and bought a GameCube at our favorite resale shop. I got as many of the pre-owned goodies with it as they had, which included a module that allows one to play games from their GameBoy systems, of which I have quite a few. I also bought a few games on the little GameCube CDs. I thought that a few Mario games would keep me entertained.

This is where the obsession comes in.

Two of the games I purchased for the GameCube are StarFox Adventures and StarFox Assault. I had never had the opportunity to play StarFox on the Super Nintendo, and I never owned a Nintendo 64...another piece of childhood that I'm missing.

Fig. 1: The StarFox team
(l-r) Slippy, Peppy, Falco and Fox

I have not stopped playing these StarFox games.
I don't even watch TV anymore.

I cannot believe how much of a stress reliever they can be. The game play is great, the graphics amazing. I've never been a real "shooting game" kind of person, but I have really enjoyed these games...especially StarFox Assault. When I am at work, I long to get back home to play some more.

One of these days, I will have to pick up a Wii. The GameCube games are compatible with the Wii, and should look just as good as on the GameCube. But as of now, I am having much too much fun with it. Perhaps if and when they come out with a StarFox game for the Wii I'll take the plunge!

I think I came by this addictive, obsessive-compulsive personality by genetics. My mother is the same way...don't ask about her "Beanie Babies". We don't speak of that. Ever.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Smart People and Math Jokes

I just realized today that I hang around a lot of smart people. I think I do so, so I can try to feel like I am in kindred company. I don't think I'm very bright...sure, I'm a college grad, and I have both Microsoft's MCSE certification and Cisco's CCNA certifications...but, still. A chimp could pass the MCSE, and I know quite a few of what we call "Paper MCSEs"...people that just studied the books and tested, rather than having real-world experience to back up their certifications. I am rather proud of my Cisco certification, though. That was a tough one.

Anyhow, I was looking over geeky jokes this week, and sent my engineer friend RDW this...
Little Poly Nomial

Once upon a time pretty little Polly Nomial was strolling across a field of vectors when she came to the edge of a singularly large matrix.

Now Polly was convergent and her mother had made it an absolute condition that she must never enter such an array without her brackets on. Polly however, who had changed her variables that morning and was feeling particularly badly behaved, ignored these conditions on the ground that they were unnecessary, and made her way amongst the complex elements.

Rows and columns enveloped her on both sides. Tangents approached her surface; she became tensor and tensor. Quite suddenly two branches of a hyperbola touched her at a single point. She oscillated violently, lost all sense of directrix and went completely divergent. As she reached a turning point she tripped over a square root which was protruding from the erf and plunged headlong down a steep gradient. When she was differentiated once more she found herself alone, apparently in a non-Euclidian space.

She was being watched however. That smooth operator, Curly Pi, was lurking inner product. As his eyes devoured her curvilinear co-ordinates, a singular expression crossed his face. Was she still convergent, he wondered. He decided to integrate at once.

Hearing a vulgar fraction behind her, Polly turned round and saw Curly Pi approaching with his power series extrapolated. She could see at once by his degenerate conic and his dissipative terms that he was bent on no good.

"Eureka!" she gasped.

"Ho Ho," he said, "what a symmetric little polynomial you are. I can see you're absolutely bubbling over with secs."

"Oh, Sir," she protested, "keep away from me, I haven't got my brackets on."

"Calm yourself, my dear," said our suave operator, "your fears are purely imaginary."

"i,i," she thought. "Perhaps he's homogeneous then."

"What order are you?" the brute demanded.

"Seventeen" replied Polly.

Curly leered. "I suppose you've never been operated on yet," he said.

"Of course not," Polly exclaimed indignantly. "I'm absolutely convergent."

"Come, come," said Curly, "lets off to a decimal place I know and I'll take you to the limit."

"Never!" gasped Polly.

"EXCHLF" he swore, using the vilest oath he knew. His patience was gone. Coshing her over the coefficient with a log until she was powerless, Curly removed her discontinuities. He started at her significant places and began smoothing her points of inflection. Poor Polly, all was up. She felt his digit tending to her asymptotic limit. Her convergence was gone for ever.

There was no mercy, for Curly was a Heavyside operator. He integrated by partial fractions. The complex beast even went all the way round and did a contour integration. What an indignity. To be multiply connected at her first integration. Curly went on operating until he was absolutely and completely orthogonal.

When Polly got home that evening her mother noticed that she was truncated in several places. But it was too late to differentiate now. As the months went by, Polly increased monotonically. Finally, she generated a small but pathological function which left surds all over the place until she was driven to distraction.

The moral of the story is this: If you want to keep your expressions convergent, never allow them a single degree of freedom.

Pretty funny, that. Such a horrible story line, but told in a geeky, funny way...I just had to laugh. RDW thought it was funny, but in his typical fashion, he had to come up with a corollary to the make it a happy ending...

RDW's Response to Little Poly Nomial

All seemed truly lost. Poor Poly Nomial. Poor Bi Nomial! It seemed that there entire life was tied up in knots.

But then the mother of Poly Nomial, Bi Nomial, remembered that her husband, the father of Poly Nomial from whom Poly Nomial had been differentiated and derived would return home soon.

Multivariate Polynomial expanded into the space with a myriad of rational functions and all sorts of extensive sensitivity analysis.

Bi Nomial described the Poly Nomial conundrum and replicated the data into his cognizant set until the information was complete and congruent.

He knew that multivariate interpolation could resolve remainder formulas on interpolated knot sets. At Multivariate’s core expression, he knew that there must be a way to restore symmetry to Poly Nomial.

He remained unified and singular at his point of origin and hence was aware that the roots of any polynomial can always be expressed as multivariate hypergeometric functions. Poly Nomial was not just an arbitrary Poly Nomial. She had always been symmetric and rational and hence always consisted and expressed rational functions. Even the quotients of her derivative polynomials therefore must also be rational expressions. Any function that could be used to evaluate the situation at hand would evaluate rational expressions and hence would also be rational functions.

Multivariate decided to apply the Null Set, power sum symmetric polynomials, hyperbolic rational functions and complete homogeneous symmetric polynomials to the situation. Poly Nomial knew that she was being transformed, but was confident in Multivariate’s ability to neutralize dysfunctions and to restore rational functionality to he space. She began to experience an expansion of her matrix as Multivariate restored, applied and truncated her problems by exposing her to numerous infinite series, and by causing transformations rotations, inversions, permutations, combinations and transcendent functions.

This process indeed took time, but Multivariate increased the memory, expanded the bus width, increased the clock speed and utilized sets of multiple processors and coprocessors to minimize Poly Nomial's discomfort and divergence. Her problems were expanded to infinity. She began to experience a concept of googleplex. But just as she felt she was losing rationality, Multivariant dispersed the fragmented fractals into imaginary space and re-established singularity and unity.

Within mere moments, the infinite series had reached it asymptotic plane. All dysfunctions were normalized as the null set and imaginary space absorbed all discontinuities and hyperbolic space twisted the matrix back into normal Euclidian space once again. Poly Nomial's problems had all been transformed into imaginary expressions and sent to the void of the nulls set.

Poly Nomial was singular again with undefiled secs. Her brackets were restored and were symmetric again. Multivariate saved the day! And now there was little Quadrinomial that would need to be raised to a power. Multivariate, Bi and Poly were singular knowing that Quadrinomial could be raised to a power and could easily be integrated into their family regardless of the cause of his deviation and derivation.

All had been differentiated and normalized. The constants were clearly identified. Poly Nomial was rational and symmetric again.

And somewhere in the space, the sound of "Eureka" reverberated in the singularity.

Geniuses can have great senses of humor! I just wish I understood most of this stuff!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Radioactive Man: An Addendum

While I was getting radiation treatments, a number of people asked if I was still radioactive after the treatments.

No. I don't glow in the dark, either, though it would be cool if I did!

There are quite a few different methods of radiation treatment. The most common and typical treatment, which I underwent, is x-ray therapy. This involves a machine, not unlike an overgrown x-ray machine, that shoots x-rays at you. These are, of course, hundreds of times more powerful than what is used to generate an x-ray image. Similar to this is a treatment called HDR, or High-Dose Radiation. This is similar to what happens in the typical radiation therapy, excepct it is even stronger. These machines are computer controlled and can deliver a precise dosage of radiation to specific areas in three dimensions.

Another type of treatment is the implantation of radioactive seeds around the affected area. They insert little tubular reservoirs down to the affected location, then drop in the seeds...oftentimes particles of material suspended in a liquid...for a predetermined amount of time. This type of therapy allows a higher dose of radiation in a shorter amount of time. This is generally used in areas that need more localized treatments, such as prostate cancer.

X-rays are, essentially, waves...electromagnetic radiation just like light. Think of it as a microwave oven, just much stronger, more specifically directed and of a much higher frequency. Any form of electromagnetic energy can cause problems to a body, just ask any ham radio operator that has gotten an "RF Burn"...they'll tell you right quick.

For interests sake, it is important to know that microwave ovens operate in the 2.4 GHz band. This is because water molecules oscillate at 2.4 GHz...thus causing heating. Other items in this area: cordless phones and 802.11b, g and n wireless network devices. This is one reason that the FCC has limits on the field strength of both licensed and Part 15 unlicensed transmitters in this frequency range. Your wi-fi could be cooking you! Not really, though...the power is so low that it wouldn't really affect anything. Now the internet flowing through the wi-fi just might kill you, however.

You may have heard in the news about people being exposed to antennas or something similar and being hurt or killed. I seem to remember hearing a story a while back about a security guard that worked somewhere where there was a microwave a telecommunications microwave link tower or TV station link. This dingleberry found out that they could stay warm if they stood in front of the antenna. Of course, this is true, it will keep you stay warm because it is cooking you like a morning bowl of oatmeal! They supposedly found him dead on the ground, and exploded beer cans next to the antenna. This may be an urban legend, but could happen. It is not just the frequency that can determine the safety of a generated signal, but the power of the transmitter and the distance to the antenna and type of antenna. This is why the FCC has, and enforces quite severely, rules pertaining to radiation exposure from transmitter antennas...both licensed and unlicensed.

Interestingly enough, my engineer friend McA has a complete set of 6 GHz radios from an AT&T microwave relay station that was upgraded. Now tell me he's not planning something...

With regular radiation therapy, there is no residual radioactivity. Once the beam is turned off, the radiation is completely gone, just like turning off a light switch. Other than the side effects that develop over time, no one would be the wiser that you were getting any treatment at all.

With therapy using radioactive seeds, these are highly radioactive materials and they stay radioactive. If the seed materials are not handled properly, there could be radioactive particles left to float around in the facility where the treatment happens. Of course, any radiation technician that is good will take all required and necessary precautions.

So, don't be afraid of anyone getting radiation therapy. They won't radiate you, they won't fog your film, they won't erase your credit cards, they won't mess up your TV...

Now, someone that just had a PET scan...yes, they are radioactive for a short time after the treatment, usually about 18-24 hours. The radioactive materials are not dangerous, and are eliminated quickly through pee-pee. The radioactive materials are such a low level emitter that only really sensitive detectors would know, like the ones at a nuclear power plant or a nuclear-materials-enrichment facility. If you didn't have a "get out of jail free" card, like in my last post, they would go all Silkwood on your ass.

There is a very slim chance, however, that they could fog camera film. I came across a website about a guy that experiments with a variety of low-emission radioactive sources to make "x-rays" using Polaroid film. One of his subjects was a person that had a cardio stress-test, and this poor guniea pig walked around with a Polaroid film cartridge strapped to him for hours. It was all in the name of science, after all. You can read more about this here: This is pretty cool stuff. Just be careful with anything radioactive, otherwise you may just need that stuff to give yourself some do-it-yourself cancer treatments!

Here is a tip from an amateur photographer who still loves film, and used to manage a photo lab. When traveling, use a lead lined bag to hold your film. In the US, the x-ray machines are pretty powerful, but won't really hurt any film lower than 800 speed. In foreign airports, the x-ray machines can be much, much "hotter" and can ruin film as low as 200 speed. I had a relatively expensive roll of Kodak T-Max P3200 black-and-white film completely fogged by the newer x-ray machines at the Dayton airport. Specialty films, like black-and-white and infrared-sensitive films, can be especially sensitive.

So there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Radioactive Man

I just now got back from my post-treatment PET scan. This one seemed to go faster than the last one, which was very nice.

My appointment was this morning (January 8, 2008) at Miami Valley Hospital, our premier humongous hospital just outside downtown Dayton. My office is about 1/2 mile from here. There is always a lot of activity around the hospital, not necessarily medical-wise...but construction-wise. There is always something under construction here.
Fig. 1: Main Hospital Entry Courtyard

They have a pretty good system to get people registered for outpatient procedures. You go to a central registration area and get a pager. Then, when your pager goes off, you are sent to one of fourteen private niches to get your information taken. Then the registrar directs you to where you need to go.

After registering, I made my way to the Medical Imaging department.

Fig. 2: Orders and ID stickers.

Before the PET scan, they install an IV so they can administer the radioactive glucose. The syringe is a typical plastic syringe, but it is jacketed in a thick, heavy lead liner.

Fig. 3: Nuclear medicine at work.

After getting the radioactive injection, you are left in a comfy recliner for nearly an hour to rest in a darkened room. This is to allow the glucose to spread throughout the body. The idea is that since cancer cells take up sugars quite rapidly, they will take in the radioactive materials. The PET scanner detects the particle emissions of the radioactive material. The greater the concentration of radioactive particles, the more likely the area is cancerous.

This stuff is seriously radioactive. On the way out to where the PET scanner is located, there is a Geiger counter on a little shelf with a sign that instructs employees to check themselves to make sure they aren't "hot". As I passed by, the little machine went bananas.

Fig. 4: The GE Discovery PET/CT Scanner

You lay on a long table, and have a CT scan first. The front 2/3 of the scanner is the CT scanner. The CT spins around an takes x-ray images of thin slices of the body. This gives information as to what is where. The CT takes only about a minute or two.

The PET scan take a lot longer. Strapped down to the same table, you stay aligned just as with the CT scan, then pass through the rear 1/3 of the donut. The PET scan I had today took about 40 minutes. This is because it takes a while for the detectors to receive enough particles. During all of this, you have to remain still. Because they wanted to make absolutely sure of everything, they had to do an additional precision "neck study", which is a slower CT scan to get clearer, more detailed images, then another 20 minutes in the PET scanner.

The scans are then sent to a radiologist that scrutinizes everything. The PET scan is overlaid on the CT scan, so the actual locations of any tumors can be discovered. They will then submit a report to my oncologist.

The hospital's PET scanner is in a trailer outside the hospital, so you have to pass through a tunnel to get there. The machine costs about $1.2 million. I suspect that since the machine is in a trailer, the bank can come and get it real easy if they miss a payment.

Fig. 5a: The front of the "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

Once the procedure is complete, they give you a little card that tells that you received a medical dose of radiation. If I were to go to an airport, the air force base or a Department of Energy facility today (none of which are likely), then I would set off every alarm they have. Without the card they would ship me off straight away to Guantanamo Bay, where I would never be seen or heard from again.

Fig. 5b: The back of the "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

The text in the box on the lower half states:
Michael received a medical dose of radioactive material (18FDG) on 1-8-08. This person poses no risk to the public. The release of this patient is allowed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and meets the required regulations of the State of Ohio. If you have questions, call the Nuclear Medicine Department at (937) 208-2220. This card expires 1-9-08.

The radioactive material will be gone by the morning.

18FDG is actually, in scientific jargon, 2-deoxy-2-[18F]-fluoro-D-glucose. Originally developed in the '70s for brain imaging, but discovered to be useful in detection of cancerous cells in the '80s, leading to PET scans being the norm for many cancer patients.

Brookhaven National Laboratory has a short article about "FDG" at
Harvard Medical has a great website that outlined pretty much everything about the PET/CT procedure, located at

The radiology techs were amused that I took pictures of everything. They had never had anyone do that before. They were all very nice and friendly, as per usual. The first PET scan I had, I did not know what to expect, and they all made me feel quite at ease. This go around I knew what was going on, so I wasn't apprehensive or nervous and could be a great deal more chatty.

So, I will get the results late next week at my next oncology appointment!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Butterscotch Supreme

My mother makes an incredible dessert around the holidays. She made two or three of them for us, and make me one to take to the RTA Christmas Party. She is pleased to make this dessert because it is something that we actually eat. When we have cakes and pies as desserts, we usually only eat up to a little more than half...and the rest gets thrown out.

There is an incredible number of just depends on what pudding you like. My favorites, in order, are Peanut Butter, Pistachio and Butterscotch.
Butterscotch Supreme

Layer 1:
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 sticks Margarine

Layer 2:
1 large package Cream Cheese
2 cups Cool Whip
1 cup Powdered Sugar

Layer 3:
3 packages Instant Pudding
4 cups Milk

Layer 4:
1 large tub Cool Whip
  • Beat flour and margarine together into a dough and press into, and up the sides of, an 8x12 pan. Bake 20 minutes at 325°F. Let cool. Prepackaged pie crusts work really well, too!
  • Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip together into a thick cream and pour into cooled crust. Allow to set up a bit in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Mix pudding with milk (generally according to package instructions) and pour over cream cheese layer.
  • Cover with Cool Whip. Coordinating toppings optional.
  • Consume with fervor.
Peanut Butter Option:
1 small/medium jar Peanut Butter
Powdered Sugar
  • Combine peanut butter and powdered sugar together into a crumbly mixture.
  • Spread crumbly mixture on top of each and every layer.
  • Use plain, instant vanilla pudding in layer 3.
This recipe is divine with just about every flavor of pudding, and even seems to work well with sugar free puddings. I don't know about that because I can't eat artificial sweeteners.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Getting Back to Normal

On Monday, I had to work. It was kind of lame, there wasn't a lot of people around and I did manage to get some needed work done.

Chris, RDW and I went to a local mexican restaurant, Elsa's, to have their buffet. They make the greatest enchiladas, a whole mess of them, for their buffet. They are cheesy and moist and go down real easy. Especially with a nice smattering of sour cream and a splash of Cholula hot sauce. I really wanted to have their complimentary chips and salsa, but chips are still too hard for me to handle. It is too bad, really, because I used to destroy some chips there.

Anyhow, I digress. On the way, since it is a pretty long drive (and well worth it) there was a bunch of old computers and stuff in my trunk. Every bump and corner, no matter how easily I took it, the crap would shift and make a bunch of racket. It grated on my nerves! I would cringe at every move, but wouldn't say anything.

When we pulled into the parking lot, the junk shifted again. I couldn't stand it any more and I said, out loud, "That racket is starting to piss me off!" I got out, and as Chris and RDW got out, Chris looked at me an said something to the effect of "I was wondering when you were going to say something about that!" RDW started laughing, Chris started laughing and so did I. They both said that I am seemingly getting back to the normal, old Mike.

That made me feel good. I think they were pleased. I really haven't felt like myself since I was sick. From the above exchange, it is evident that my friends have noticed. I know Chris and his family were concerned for me for the longest time, and RDW seems to still be worried about me.

As I return to being some of my old self, it seems my friends are becoming more at ease with my situation and becoming less worried about me. I don't really like that everyone was so concerned about me. Sure it is nice, but I don't want people to feel bad around me or be overly concerned. I prefer to be worried about others and have others unconcerned about me. As I slowly return to normal, I am starting to feel better about myself and feel better that people are becoming less worried about me.

I am all too happy, now, to go back to being my old self. But I sincerely don't want to be the severe, old curmudgeon that I was, and I don't think I will. I have been changed, I think, for the better. At least I am going to try really hard to keep the best of what I have become.

I have noticed that I am going back to making the snarky little editorial comments to my friends and coworkers. My boss seems to enjoy the commentaries that Chris and I make about life at the RTA. I think he likes it because he has to tow the party line all the time and it just reinforces that which he is thinking. Every job has its issues that people don't like or can't help but comment to their peers about, so it is not like we are isolated. I find it comforting to remember this fact, and remind myself that while the pay might not be the greatest, but the benefits are outstanding and I am proof of that.

With life, there are always little things that bother people. I think keeping stuff bottled up is not really helpful for a person, but being aggravated about everything isn't healthy either. I think I have found a good balance.