3625 messages still to sort

After some menacing e-mails about the size of my e-mail archive, I spent the last hour deleting. Since I started my blog last August, I've had 887 comments - thanks, guys.

I'm in lurve

New '06 M.U.S.S. from Bianchi - singlespeed, disc brakes, cro-moly frame, retro paneled paint, oh god I love it.

O, the healing

The itchiness of my lower back is reaching epic proportions. Missy says not to scratch while it's healing, but I'm not sure I have that much willpower.

Intelligent Design, stupid argument

Slate put up a couple pieces on the ID debate in Dover, PA this morning - one "for" the Dover school board's policy, one against. Hee, for Slate -

Let's face it: The problem with science has always been that each new discovery unleashes thousands of new questions and ambiguities. So really, the more we discover new stuff, the stupider we get. Clearly, that isn't working. ID says we shouldn't bother ourselves with resolving scientific inconsistencies or untangling puzzles. We should recognize that what God really wants is for us just to stop learning.

So here's what ID proponents are offering to teach your kids: They won't say how ID works. They won't say how it can be tested, apart from testing Darwinism and inferring that the alternative is ID. They won't concede it has to be falsifiable. All they'll say is that Darwinism hasn't explained some things. But that's what the first half of the Dover policy says already. So there's no need for the second half—the part that mentions ID.

O, the burning

Consider this an open forum for those of you who were at an Arcade Fire concert in the last 24 hours to post your stories.

Ghostbusters 3: Team Zissou in Japan

It's Wednesday funny from McSweeney's - script notes for the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel, starring (the new) Bill Murray.
Bill Murray moves into haunted apartment. Sits in chair, impassive. What is he thinking? Possibly about dead friends. He almost gets up. He doesn't. His face is blank, unreadable. Sounds offscreen. Flying plates? Bleeding walls? Ghosts? Perhaps. We never find out. Slow fade to black.

We're not here to talk nonsense to Bob Loblaw

Bob Loblaw - it makes me laugh no matter how many times (lots) I say it.

ZIP-a-dee-doo-da, ZIP-a-dee-yay

I know you depend on me for this kinda thing. I know you're not stupid enough to forget that, "Zip code data is derived from the census "ZCTAs (ZIP Code Tabulation Areas)" which may be different than the USPS defined zip code delivery routes. A USPS zip code is not a geographical area but a route which may not be definable as a polygon."

Predictive markets - where's it at. Bottles and cans, just clap your hands.

Google employees are set to forecast company profits, new product launches, the soup of the day, what color tie Bill W. will wear on Friday, whether Mark and Kirstin will hook up at the holiday party, whether Kirstin's husband will find out, etc.





Big congratulations to M.Bro!

Missy found out yesterday afternoon that, out of hundreds and hundreds of applicants, she's 1/12th of the EK Success Creative Artist team. EK is the largest scrapbook supply company in the U.S. and they decided this summer to hire independent designers on one-year contracts rather than as freelancers (which Missy has done for EK in the past. Your local scrapbook store has two of her pages on display next to the EK nesting punches). The group of 12 designers they're hiring are going to make displays and examples for advertising, promos, store displays, and trade shows. They'll also be flown to multiple trade shows per year as EK representatives, as well as to the EK headquarters in New Jersey in a few weeks.

I realize there's some stereotyping of "scrapbooking ladies" (having made it myself many, many times), but it's still a multi-billion dollar industry and a fantastic opportunity for Missy. It's nothing we have to relocate for, but it does open the door a little wider for Missy to get a job in the supply side of the industry rather than the retail side. She's very excited, and I'm very excited for her.

(Apparently, not excited enough to post about it the day she found out, but, you know, no blood.)

VAMPIRES please help me out

I think I need some blood - I've been exhausted and lightheaded and exceptionally emotional (crying during Six Feet Under) for the past couple days. The pain in my lower back and hips is retreating, although it's being replaced by some really impressive bruising.

You don't read just for marrow updates, though, so I'll tell you this - I just saw that the White Stripes are planning to re-record Get Behind Me Satan in one take for release on vinyl later this year. That, plus, y'know, a turntable, would make an excellent christmas gift for those of you planning your holiday shopping early.

Autumn Harvest

The following is rated PG-13 for graphic discussions of over-filled bladders and butt-shaving.

Yesterday started with a 4:30 alarm clock and a pre-sunrise drive to the UW hospital. Registration didn't open until 5:30, and an ill-timed trip to the restroom made me last to check in. A nurse took Missy and I to a curtained-off area at the end of the hall with a bed, gown, and bunch of hospitally machines. I put on the immodest gown and waited about 20 minutes for my turn to be checked in, "checking in" consisting of five different people asking me about latex allergies, being poked three times (twice unsuccesfully) for an IV, and having about a dozen little vials of blood drawn.

Around 7:00, they made me say goodbye to Missy and wheeled me across the hall into the epidural room. After much poking with fingers to find the right spot to poke me with the needle (which I didn't see, but was very, very large in my imagination). I thought one of the nurses was trying to spice up our sex life by running ice across my stomach and thighs, but I guess he was just checking for numbness. Did you know they have specially-shaped ice just for that? It's shaped like a thumb. Or a really small popsicle.

Successfully desensitized, and feeling a little foggy by now, they wheeled me into the surgery room. It may have been on a different floor. I remember going on an elevator, but that may have been a dream or it may have been on the way to my inpatient room after surgery. I know rolling over from my wheeley bed to the surgery table was real, though. It had two 3" parallel foam guides to cradle my torso, a special head pillow, and moveable armrests. The last thing I remember before surgery is a doctor telling me that the milky-white stuff (probably not actually milk) would put me out pretty qui.....

"Jason - it's over - how do you feel?"

"Urrrrrgg. Bllerrrrrrrggg."

The recovery room people brought me back around to semi-consciousness, although apparently not full consciousness yet, because I only have hazy memories of warm blankets and heat lamps and being wheeled down a hallway (and possibly the elevator - again, no idea if that was a real or dream elevator). Missy jumped out of her chair in my inpatient room, worried about me since my surgery had been over for an hour (!). Doctors, who may have been floating on invisible mini-hoverboards and moving too quickly for my eyes to follow, followed me into the room and explained that the surgery had lasted 2 1/2 hours, which was about 45 minutes longer than usual. The marrow had been flowing really well at the start, but then my pelvis dried up and the really had to root around to get all three units. "There's some muscle and tissue damage. Expect some soreness," they told me, in that voice doctors use on TV when they say, "Well, we've seen some things on your x-ray that we're not happy with."

I felt good, though, as I drifted back into normalville. My nurse, Molly, smiled a lot and made me roll onto my side to check my bandages. Or wanted to check out my butt and found herself a convenient excuse. Be honest, Molly. Satisfied (whatever her intentions), she explained the cafeteria and menu and talked me into ordering lunch. Not having eaten since 6:00 Monday night, I was an easy sell.

I apologized to Missy for showing Molly my butt. "That's OK," she replied, "but you realize, don't you, that now I have to show someone my butt?"

While I was waiting for my food, I asked whether I have the bathroom pass. Apparently not, since I was still bleeding, but I was welcome to pee into this tupperware container and then display it prominently on my bedside table. Here's one of the embarrassing parts - I couldn't go, even though I really, really wanted to. Molly said that was really normal after an epidural, and that I'd be able to soon. "Really soon, though? 'Cause I'm really hoping you mean really soon."

Around 1:30, while I was still feeling really well, my chicken stir-fry came. After just a couple bites, though, my ears started ringing ("WHAT? MY EARS ARE RINGING.") and the room began spinning on two different axes. "Ummm...Jas? Do you maybe want to call the nurse?" Missy asked. "No, no - I'll just lay down - I'm not hungry" "No - I think maybe you should call the nurse. Or I'm going to." So I pressed the little button, mumbled something to the person who answered, and started shivering violently to pass the time while I waited for Molly.

The next 45 minutes are kind of fuzzy. Missy would have to confirm this, but I think there were five people, excluding her, in the room - one holding my feet, one at each arm, two doctors asking in hushed (but insistent) tones about whether they had given me the right bag of blood (I'd donated a unit of my own blood two weeks earlier), and Missy holding my jaw to keep my teeth from chipping (a little phobia slash recurring nightmare of mine that I'm glad someone in the room knew about). As they were lowering my head, raising my legs, and smothering me in heated blankets and warm compresses, I heard Dr. Himati say that my blood pressure was 80/40. This may or may not have been a real medical thing or not, but I think they wheeled in something called a bladder scanner (can anyone confirm the real-ness of that?), and said (urgently) that it was flashing "greater than point-nine-nine-nine". That earned me an emergency catheter, which I only vaguely remember receiving, but which I'm told was pretty painful based on the animal sounds I made. They told me later my bladder was carrying twice its capacity.

Draining and warmer, the episode ended even more quickly than it started. I remember my body going still, lifting my head (which was well below my feet), and looking into a bunch of faces with raised eyebrows and serious expressions. I respond to tension with humor, so I asked whether it was a boy or a girl. Not a funny joke, but I think everyone gave my a pity laugh. Thanks, guys - for laughing at my joke, and for, you know, holding me down so a doctor could shove a tube where no tube should go.

And that was "the episode" - Missy was terrified, I was exhausted (from the shivering - Missy said my arms and legs were hard as stone), and the hospital staff bumped their pity up a notch. Molly, for example, made me a chocolate milkshake (I was in the cancer ward, and they use milkshakes to sneak protein to the regular patients).

That brought my food intake for the last almost-24 hours to two bites of chicken stir-fry and one chocolate milkshake, so I was excited when Spice and H.Go called to say they were bringing Qdoba. (Apparently they had called earlier, just after "the incident", and Stacey said something like, "Errr - I expected you to say he was fine - that sounds kinda serious and scary," after Missy told her about it.)

Fortunately for them, they just missed the period of maximum embarrassment and pain - in fact, I think they almost walked in during it, but Missy heard them outside the door and intercepted. Linda, the nurse in charge of the marrow donor program, and Molly came in together to check my bandages. They weren't happy with the amount I was still bleeding (what can I say? It's the hemophilia in my royal lineage), and wanted to put big compression bandages on instead of the gauze and tape. The compression bandages had some serious acreage, and Linda asked Molly to "prep my skin". Molly, the very nice nurse who I had been just chatting to about grad school and lecturing, was now shaving my butt, while my wife and friends waited outside. Linda and Molly thought I was kidding when I told them during the shaving that I was sorry, but I wasn't going to be able to look them in the eye ever, ever again.

Oh, but that wasn't all! I promised you shame AND pain, and I aim to deliver! After Linda left, Molly said if I thought I was ready, she could remove the catheter. Sweet Jesus, no one is ever ready for that. She apologized profusely in advance, pushed my blankets up, deflated the balloon (a baloon?!), and rammed a white-hot poker into me. I don't know if Missy, Spice, and H.Go heard my girlish scream from the hallway, but if they did, they were polite enough not to tease me about it later. After giving me a few minutes to compose myself and dry my tears while she gave me pain medicine through my IV (still, of course, without making eye contact), she told everyone they could come back in.

The burrito was excellent - thanks again, guys. I thought of a better hand signal for "eight" this morning - put up two fingers on your right hand, four on your left, hold your hands in front of you facing palms-out, and cross your thumbs in an X. Awesome, huh?

As long as I'm writing embarrassing stories, I can tell you that another big moment came around 8:00, just before the disappointing "My Name is Earl". With the catheter out, I was on my own for peeing - although Molly said that if the epidural was still holding on, she would have to put the tube back in. 8:00 was the test, and, honestly, I've never been so excited to see my own urine. It may have been the super-awesome pain medicine talking, but I shared my joy with many more people than wanted to be part of the sharing.

Molly's shift ended at 8:00 and Missy left soon after. That left me with Melissa, the night nurse, who talked like a very tiny mouse and smiled apologetically at everything she or I said. I got her apologetic permission to sleep on my side and dozed off before the interview on the Daily Show. She wanted to check out my booty around 2:30, and I couldn't fall back to sleep after that. Fortunately, TNT shows reruns of The X-Files at night. I have a hard time believing that guy's brother was cool with being turned into a Chupacabra too. Around 5:00, I got a little bit of sleep before a different nurse came in to draw blood around 6:30.

I thought I was going to be up for good then, but I must have fallen back to sleep, because I missed a call on my cell phone from Missy. She called on the hospital line a couple minutes later, a little bit of panic in her voice. Apparently I had also missed two calls from her while I was sleeping the night before, and she was worried that something had happened. Reassured that there had been no more "incidents", she told me she'd be at the hospital as soon as she could.

I ordered breakfast from the cafeteria, and while I was waiting for it, the two doctors who had done the surgery - Dr. Himati and Dr. Longo - came in to take a gander at my rumpshaker. Linda, another person from the marrow program, and a female doctor came in soon after, and I guess this was my last checkup before they OK'd me to be discharged. Dr. Longo is a proud Nebraskan from Creighton University in Omaha, and the rest of the people in the room were teasing him for some comments he made in the hallway about me being "good, hardy Nebraska stock". Moooo.

There was also a lot of awkwardness (from me) when they started talking about what a brave, noble thing I'd done - how do I respond to that? I know I'm doing a good thing, but it's awkward when people exaggerate the "amazingness" of it - like any of you wouldn't give a couple days of discomfort for the same thing.

I must have been fat and tender enough for their liking, because they gave me the OK to get out of bed, walk around, and take a shower if I wanted to. Yes, yes, I want to. It must have been really tough for her, but Molly passed up an opportunity to help me take my bandages off in the shower. I did get a little help from Missy, though, and the crying was minimal. Showered, unbandaged, and clothed in something other than a hospital gown, Missy helped me walk up and down the hallway for a while. I got some terrible coffee from a vending machine, checked my e-mail and blogged from the consult room, and picked up some prescriptions (more Tylenol with Codeine!) from the nurses desk. Molly came back to the room with us and bandaged me up a final time. I thanked her for taking such good care of me, and she sent us on our way.

Since then, it's been ice packs and episodes of Six Feet Under on dvd. Missy says my incisions are still bleeding some, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it stops overnight and I don't have to call the hospital tomorrow. When I'm up, I'm teetering on stilts and taking baby steps to keep the weight off the muscles in my butt and lower back. I like sitting, but getting there from a standing position is a chore.

Missy asked me on the drive home whether I'd do it again. Definitely. Yeah, definitely.


I'm posting from the consult room at the UW hospital. I'll write more later, but the short version is that this has been a more painful, more embarrassing experience than I expected. Thanks to Spice and H.Go for the burrito, though, and I'm even more embarrassed that I told you the embarrassing stories. I blame the painkillers.

Tomorrow's the big day

My marrow harvest is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and frankly, I'm dreading the 4:30 alarm more than the big needles. My schedule is -

5:30 - check in at first-day surgery desk
7:30 - anaesthetized, sliced, and poked
10:30 - surgery over
11:00 - out of recovery room and into inpatient room
11:00-midnight - bored, recovery, possibly drunk from anaesthesia
next morning - go home

Wish me the surgeons luck!

MATEYS if he be a monk then where be his robes?

Yarr - television won't be invented for 500 more years, but e'en I kner tha' Jason Bateman deserved him that awarrrrrd! An' I'll keelhaul ye if ye say different.

Hustle & Flow

Happy birthday, J.Brice

I think the J.Bro-Spice combined birthday extravaganza last night went swimmingly.

High points -
-Finding out that ELF's father-in-law and I make fun of her in exactly the same way. It's OK, princess, I'll get that pea out from under your mattress!
-A delicious red velvet cake that was so red everyone recoiled from it. Yum - recoil.
-Two very cool surprise gifts
-An overall warm reaction to the shirt, although I still won't be wearing it to lecture
-No vomiting

Low points -
-Adam & Melissa totally standing us up. Jerks.

LCD Soundsystem

Here's the plan, kids - we meet immediately after I lecture on Thursday 10/20, walk to Union South, stand near the stage, and rock out to LCD Soundsystem. And we'll do it all for free.

Update: Wolf Eyes is playing the night before. God, we're going to be so hip by Friday morning.

Apparently, it's "shah-meh-gone" not "check-a-mee-gwone"

I'm jealous

You say you want a revolution

Nintendo released pictures of the Revolution controller yesterday. According to the press release, it's a sight more complicated than it looks from the photo -
-3D Pointing: Sensors understand up, down, left, right, forward and backward.
-Tilt Sensitive: Controller can be rotated or rolled from side-to-side.
-Buttons Included: Has a trigger on its backside, face buttons, and a D-Pad.
-Multifunctional: Has an expansion port which can be used with different types of controller peripherals. Analog stick with two trigger buttons planned for left hand.
-Wireless: Totally wire-free. Currently there are no details on the max distance, source or power, or otherwise.
-Rumble Built-in. Included standard in all the controllers.

I think we can all agree, though, that no gee-whiz doo-dads will help it live up to this -

New haircut in the family

M.Bro's hair is shorter and highlightier, and apparently when it's thinned out, naturally curly -

Thank you, Dr. Thorpe

5-bladed razors and a new Your Band Sucks article on the same day? Is it chanukah?
All I ask is that you think critically about the music you listen to. It’s not so hard. Next time you put on a record, close your eyes and ignore how cool the band’s logo would look on a t-shirt. Allow the music to be processed by the part of your brain that does your taxes (or your math homework if you’re too young to work for The Man). After a few minutes, ask yourself “is this terrible?” If you’re listening to a System of a Down record, you will either think to yourself “wait a minute, yes, this is terrible,” or you will be unable to think things to yourself because you were kicked in the head by a horse when you were a child. If the former is true, congratulations. You’ve graduated. You’re now a discriminating non-idiot, and you can fend for yourself in the big scary world of adult tastes. If the latter is true, you can probably consider yourself exempt from this article, because you’re an adorable man-child halfwit who just wants hugs.

More googlemapping fun!

This googlemap application is tied to census data - navigate to a point on the map and click to get income, age, race, and gender data for 1-mile, 3-mile, and 5-mile circles. Total souls within one mile of my boyhood home? Eleven. Of my current home? 8,549.

Least populous spot I found? 0 within 1 mile, 1 within 3 miles, 13 within 5 miles

Wealthiest? Mean income $153,065

Oldest? Median age 50.9

...and the seventeenth blade peels the white from your cheekbones

Fuck everything, we really are doing five blades! Which is the press release? Which is the The Onion? I don't know!
Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of shaving in this country. The Gillette Mach3 was the razor to own. Then the other guy came out with a three-blade razor. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the Mach3Turbo. That's three blades and an aloe strip. For moisture. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened—the bastards went to four blades. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling three blades and a strip. Moisture or no, suddenly we're the chumps. Well, fuck it. We're going to five blades.

Sure, we could go to four blades next, like the competition. That seems like the logical thing to do. After all, three worked out pretty well, and four is the next number after three. So let's play it safe. Let's make a thicker aloe strip and call it the Mach3SuperTurbo. Why innovate when we can follow? Oh, I know why: Because we're a business, that's why!

The razor, known as the Fusion, has blades spaced 30 percent closer than Gillette's current MACH3Turbo system. It also has a single blade on the back of the cartridge for precision when shaving sideburns or under the nose.

"We have high expectations that it will break the sales records previously set by Gillette MACH3," Gillette's Peter Hoffman said in a press release.

I shave with the jagged edge of busted jack daniels bottle because everyone knows that the government can use those parallel blades to listen to your conversations. Another blade just means they can listen BETTER.

Take neoliberal institutionalism....please!

I know my students don't pay tuition to be entertained, and frankly, if they did, they'd probably want someone funnier than me anyway - still, I feel like I have an obligation to not bore them. I lose my train of thought when I look over 110 faces of utter blankness - why aren't they nodding at my point about defensive realism? Why aren't they writing down the definition of transparency? Should I make a joke? A pop-culture reference? If I did, would it sound like pandering? Should I just ask them, flat-out, to be less bored?

Kewaunee XC Adventure

It doesn't explain the lack of posts on Thursday or Friday, but here's what I did with my weekend. Aaaaarrrrggh!

Dude - I totally forgot I had a blog!

Too easy, too quick?

I've expressed an affinity for music that I can hold in my hand over digital music, but that doesn't really make sense, does it? Is it any more "real" to hold a CD of digital music than a small, well-designed white box of digital music? This post starts to answer that question -

If I was better, I'd never need new pads

Look at those - don't they get your heart pumping just a little faster? They'll be here on Friday, baby!

And then I re-engineered my hard drive's alternator

I had myself a very computer-ey morning, what with the reinstalling video drivers (so my screen wouldn't be upside-down anymore), uninstalling my expired copy of McAfee, and installing Symantec. I wish I knew how to work on my own car.

No funnel cakes?

Are abandoned amusement parks the greatest inventions ever, or what?

Damage claim

I just read about the steps needed to file a disaster claim with FEMA - (1) call (800) 621-3362 or log on to www.fema.gov, (2) request to have a claim form mailed to you, (3) (apparently) wade back to your house (or your mailbox, if in different areas of Louisiana) to wait.

Of course, now isn't the time to start laying blame...not yet....not quuuuitee....oops, too late - stop living in the past!


Back to the bloggin', back to the schoolin', back to the never stopped the nose-blowin'. The little elves making mucus inside my head are pounding red bulls, working 14 hour days, shaving in the car on the way to the office, and missing their kids' oboe recitals - all so they can make the 13-gallon quota by the September 10th deadline. I admire their pluck.

Whew - what a relief!

“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again.""

And perhaps the best web comic of all...


On our own, by choice

A link from MeFi - as they note, it's not immediately obvious that this is a credible source, but if it's true, it's troubling...
Being kept from these American people also by their Military Rulers have been the uncounted offers of assistance from Nations all around the world, including: Venezuela has offered their Medical Airlift Command for the evacuation of peoples trapped in these devastated regions; Holland has offered the resources of their Public Works Ministry (and who are the acknowledged World Experts for below sea level water evacuation procedures); Russia has offered over 100,000 temporary living structures, along with Military Personal to assist their American counterparts; Iran has offered 1 Billion US Dollars in immediate assistance and guaranteed 5,000,000 barrels of oil at $35.00 US Dollars; China has offered their Military Rescue Forces (Who are acknowledged as one of the best in the world for rescuing peoples in flood ravaged areas.)

All of these offers, and more, the Military Leaders of the United States have declined, and for the their previously stated reason: “The United States Government and its People Respectfully Decline your offer of assistance and refer you to our previous State Department Bulletin (NCO:13788) in which we had stated that this remains an internal action.”