.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

I Hate Linux

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wedding Congratulations

Major congratulations to Dan and Fei (aka tdaxp and lady of tdaxp (now Mr and Mrs tdaxp?)) of tdaxp fame who apparently went and got married without telling anyone on Tuesday.

Interestingly enough I chatted with him a few hours ago and during a joking conversation he used the "Wedding + 1" to describe a meaningless company name... unfortunately it was not in any context to give me any clue as to what he'd done.

At least now there will be no more living in sin for Dan the good catholic.

That’s My Senator!

The junior senator from South Dakota, John Thune
said on the house floor today:

The die was cast long before debate began…process was bypassed by Grand Bargainers…blasts those playing the race card. It is not anti-immigrant to be for the rule of law. It is not xenophobic to believe that those who come to America should come here legally.

I'm sad to say that I haven't been watching his overall stance on this issue as well as I should be, but am happy to see this in a recent press release from him:

The immigration reform legislation before the Senate is a flawed bill and I cannot support it. This bill would grant immediate legal status to over 12 million illegal immigrants before a single border security measure is implemented. By not taking the necessary steps to secure America's porous border, this bill seriously undermines the security of our nation and the rule of law.

And has been voting consistently against cloture and the continuation of this flawed bill (1, 2, 3), secure borders before any kind of amnesty could be granted, keeping a merit-based evaluation system, establishing English as the official language of the United States government, and for the requiring of a photo id in order to be able to vote.

While I must admit that I did not vote for John Thune when he last stood for election in 2004, I've only been happy with his representation of our state since that time.

Keep up the good work Senator, and thank you!

One more thing about Fargo

After checking in at the hospital, I found this sign in the elevator and couldn't help but smile:

Lullaby sign in elevator

(the sign says: "We celebrate and share the miracle of a new life by playing a lullaby each time a baby is born in the Innovis Birthing Center")

Sadly I heard no lullabies while there and liked the idea... however I can only imagine that the use of the world 'miracle' could cause some problems if such a sign were to be seen in a hospital in a larger city.

Fargo: 468.5 miles and $10 later

At long last my much anticipated trip to Fargo has occurred.

Waking far too early in the morning for any sense of sanity:
2:36 AM

I left my driveway at 3:51:
3:51 AM

And arrived to the hospital (~7:20) where I was going to be seen at 8am:


Center of Hospital

Long story short... the neurologist didn't have any brilliant ideas and after a 20 minute examination (the sort of thing that could likely have been done by a nurse), he threw out the idea of writers cramp and wrote me a Rx for Baclofen which only cost $10 to get filled.

The one upshot of this trip (aside from being out ~60 for gas) is that we should know one way or another if the Rx is helping in about 3 weeks... which is not long before my scheduled appointments for the neurologists in Sioux Falls... so worst case, if/when that time comes and
I'm still having troubles, we will have one more thing ruled out.

While in Fargo I remembered why I'm not much of a fan of the town... despite being a decent sized city of ~90,000... I can never get over just how flat the place is. Take these two shots of the skyline:
Fargo Skyline

Fargo Skyline

There's just nothing out there.

Have some pride Fargo and build something tall! Here in Madison, SD, a town of only 6500 we've got an apartment building that is taller than anything I've seen in Fargo including the hospital.

Edit: Me thinks I need to sit down and work on a new blog template of of these days/weeks/months/years as this original template is just far to narrow and my basic hacking so far only makes it look worse.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fargo it is!

I just got off the phone with a gal from HD4's office as well as the neurologist in Fargo to confirm my appointment for Wednesday June 27th at 8am... it seems the 3pm appointment got taken since I talked to them Friday afternoon.

Now the big question... do I leave Madison @ ~4 am to get there in time for a 7:45 check in... or do I leave the night before and find a rest area to park the Aztek and sleep in the back?

Shame I still don't have the tent add-on.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A solution to future Nifongs and Mangums

The recent disbarment of disgraced North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong has got me thinking about the appropriate punishment for persons like him, as well as those who knowingly take part in falsely accusing persons of crimes.

While Dan over at tdaxp is advocating execution for this case of corruption, as well as an online sexual predator database that includes false accusers of rape... I wish to propose a simpler and broader based law that could help deter future cases like this...

What if... we make all persons involved in a criminal proceeding criminally liable if they are found to have knowingly given false testimony in court or report to the police that would or did contribute to the finding of guilt of innocence of the accused and have them be punished with the same sentence(s) that the accused would if they were or are convicted?

In the case of the rape-less Duke lacrosse rape case (aka Things That Did Not Happen in Durham), Crystal Gail Mangum would not only face jail stiff jail time that would be equal to what her victims would have faced if convicted of first degree forcible rape, first degree sexual offense and kidnapping, but also likely be forced to register as sexual predators upon release... not because of a law specifically tailored to false rape accusations but one that would apply to any false accusations.

Same goes for Mike Nifong, under my proposed law he would also face penalties equal to what the accused would have received if convicted... only that's not enough as in the case of Mr. Nifong as this was not simply a lie or two from him, but a prolonged abuse of his position of authority and as such I'd at least double the sentence because of this abuse of the position of trust he was given by the people of North Carolina. In some jurisdictions persons in a position of trust who engage in sex with a minor are punished even more harshly, should we not apply the same to non-statutory rape cases as well?

Some might argue that civil liability should be enough, that the victims should be able to sue the pants off of those who acted inappropriately. It's true, that's certainly one good defense mechanism; however that is by no means enough for the protection of the victim, nor for adequate deterrence as it puts the preponderance of the effort on the side of the victim who was victimized by the accuser, as well as knowingly or unknowingly though the power of the state.

What better way is there for a community to say "we apologize for allowing this abuse of power" than by using the same power that was inappropriately used, to punish the offenders? Doing so would not only remove such predators from the streets, serve as a major deterrent to future false accusations, but also go a long ways to help restore trust in the local government who so recently had its authority abused.

Hand Doctor #4

On Friday my much anticipated trip to hand doctor #4 (HD4) happened, in large part to see if he had any new ideas that HD2 had not yet.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have any immediate ideas, instead like HD1, wants me to see a neurologist and see if they can't find anything wrong.

If a neurologist finds something wrong I will be more than a little peeved as HD1 has scheduled me to see one when I last saw him in December... the problem was that the neurologist couldn't see me for 3 months and I'd called back to HD1 to see if there was anyone else I could see, which brought me to HD2. I'd actually had the carpel tunnel surgery a couple of weeks before the neurologist appointment had been originally scheduled and had thought that the appointment had been canceled... I was wrong.

I'm also sad to say that the diagnosis from HD3 who I saw in the Democratic People's Republic of Minnesota a couple of weeks back could not be confirmed by HD4, so there goes that hope of a known and treatable issue.

Shocked by the fact that the earliest the local neurologist could see me was August 1st (yes I know they are a specialist), I had HD4's office also make an appointment with another local neurologist to see if they could get me in sooner, either regularly or while being on the cancellation list. They can see me on August 10th.

Not to be deterred, I broke out my insurance companies website and began calling every single neurology office they listed as being 'in network' to see who and where might be able to get me in a week earlier. Watertown, Huron, Mitchell, Dakota Dunes. All local places were called and included "well into August", "best we could do is September", to even a case of "a couple of weeks for sure... but we'd first need to receive a referral from another neurologist."

The one glimmer of hope I did have was an office in Fargo, ND (~3.5 hour drive north) that actually had open slots the next week and the week after. Woot!

I'd go next week only I'll be teaching a VB.NET class in Sioux Falls this week (a test to see how well my hands can handle teaching a programming class before I agree to more) and have another engagement all of the following Tuesday... but if I can get a referral from HD4 to the clinic in Fargo, I'd be taking a road trip the next Wednesday or Thursday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More disappointment

While in the DPRM over the last couple of weeks I was talked into seeing a chiropractor (who was an utter quack (more on that another day)) to get an opinion on my hands as well as a proper doctor, a hand doctor.

The amazing thing was that I was able to see the hand doctor pretty quick, my dad new someone who was a patient and called in on a Monday to see about an appointment for me, I got a callback that afternoon and went into see them first thing Thursday morning (and spent 50 minutes in traffic going 20 miles (gotta love the Minneapolis area)).

Interestingly enough, the doctor had a pretty good idea of what was wrong with me a good 10 seconds after she began to examine my hands. Hopeful, I quickly called my regular hand doctor to get an appointment as soon as I could to see if he could confirm her findings before my visit for the proper local second opinion on the 15th.

Only one problem... despite my appointment having occurred on Thursday, the doctors notes are not yet fully typed up and due to her being out of the office this week so I've had to reschedule my appointment with my regular doctor that was scheduled for tomorrow, instead I'll be getting the proper second opinion on Friday, teaching a VB.NET class the following week (what can I say, I need the money and am going to see if I can teach a MOC programming class without major issues).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

About time for a new washer?


The washer and dryer I picked up from a friend for only $50 a few years back have never been the most reliable (you get what you pay for) and tonight the washer has struck again and stained 7 different shirts, 6 of which were new ones I purchased only on Friday.


Despite all attempts to explain it (short of tearing the entire thing apart (which I plan to do next weekend)), occasionally an article of clothing or three will be stained by some unknown black substance that I occasionally catch before putting a load into the dryer... usually it reveals itself as a large black smudge along a finger or two of mine at which point I break out some kind of spot cleaning detergent and try to treat the stain before putting it through again in the washer (after cleaning out any of the black crap that I can find).

Tonight it happened again and needless to say, I'm not the most happy.

While I never kept careful records, I can only imagine the amount of money I've saved having my own washer in dryer (in an apartment where I don't pay my own utilities) compared to going to the Laundromat... but this latest event gives me pause to consider either trying to find a slightly newer and more reliable unit (not likely considering my financial/work situation) or doing my washing down the road and bringing a whole bunch of quarters.

Damn it.

Here's hoping the spot stain removes have a 100% success rate for me this evening, but given the fact that I didn't notice the stains until after they got out of the dryer, I don't expect much.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

“You’re what? An XL?”

While still suffering through my stay in the DPRM (a place where the light rail has killed more than the conceal and carry law has) and having little to do while waiting for an aunt to arrive from out of state today, yesterday I visited the outlet mall in Albertville, MN with my mom where I was encouraged to take a look at some clothes at a non big and tall store... so I did.

As previously reported, my weight loss campaign has gone quite well and forced me to buy new and smaller clothes. Today I can even squeeze into 2xlt shirts, 3x's smaller than where I was when I started in May 2006. At last (in theory) I can buy clothes from non big-and-tall stores as 2XL isn't an uncommon size... however 2xlt is.

After looking me over, the saleswoman asked "You're what? An XL?" I was more than a little shocked and said "Not yet... 2XL...T." As it turned out, they had XLT shirts in stock and even some 2XLs... just no 2XLTs... so we did some comparison and found that an XLT shirt was only about an inch longer than a XL, quite from what I need (at least 2-3 inches).

Being the tall guy I am with a good chunk of my height in the upper body, I tend to require shirts that are rectangles (longer than they are wide) and those shirts at this store that were labeled tall were but squares.

A bit later we stopped by the Casual Male XL store (where virtually every shirt I've owned over the last 10+ years has come from) and I picked up a couple of well fitting 2XLT shirts and where under pressure from my mom even tried on an XLT shirt... which fit a bit tight (and not in the sort of way I like for myself) and ended up going home with me as well.

Why would I buy a shirt that I don't quite fit in today? To give me an idea of my weight loss and my fittings later.

Ever since I bought my first smaller sized piece of clothes I've made it a point to have an item or two of a smaller size on hand at home for comparison every month or two, to make it easier for me to be able to say "no wonder my pants are bunching up around the waste, this smaller pair fits far better. Dang it, I guess it's time to buy new stuff."

It's an imperfect system I'm afraid as sometimes you overdo it... back in April I picked up a couple pair of 46x30 jeans and a pair of 44x30 for later comparison. Needless to say the 46's aren't fitting the best these days so picked up a couple extra pair of 44's and found that they too didn't fit the best, I'd leapfrogged an entire size and found that 42's were the optimal fit for me. So now I've got a single extra pair of 44's at home which will be seeing eBay with the rest of the jeans at one point.