airren

May 312012
 

Juna

The little dog that Dan picked up near starved (dead) is doing very well! She’s learned the doggie door and most of her hair has grown back. Although her name is officially Juna, her nickname is Punkinhed 😉

juna

The pictures below are from January. Poor thing has come a very long way. I didn’t want to post these until we knew she was going to make it.

Jan 242012
 

Dan found this dog literally starving to death in the middle of a street in our neighborhood and couldn’t leave her there. She’s been at the vet since January 18th but will probably come home to our house this week sometime. She had most of her tail amputated today – (it was cut off, infected, and a bone was sticking out). She was full of parasites and has some kidney issues as a result.

We named her Juna and hopefully her last years will be spent in comfort.

Dec 032011
 

When I was in the hospital, everyone chipped in and got me a helium bass. I loved that bass. Yesterday it started moving around the house… no really, from room to room, on it’s own. I took some videos because it was a little haunting but you know, in a nice way.

Nov 142011
 
Eating Broth

Having broth a few hours after the surgery

Last Thursday, November 10th, 2011, Danny & I arrived at the surgery waiting room at about 4:45 a.m. We couldn’t get in there yet because it wasn’t open, but at 5:00 a.m. the doors opened and we sat down. I signed in, gave the waiting room lady my surgery pass and waited. After awhile I was called into a private little room and was told to take off the clothes and put on the gown. The first gown they gave me had no ties, so I had to ask for another one. I was pretty scared, so being scared with a malfunctioning gown wasn’t going to make me feel any better. So after putting on a new gown and the cute little non-skid socks they gave me, a bunch of people came in to perform different tasks. Blood was taken, blood pressure as well, an IV was inserted at my wrist and I peed in a cup… again. After that there was a parade of other people who all told me what to expect – the anesthesia nurse, anesthesia student, and the doctor himself. He said the operation would take about 2.5 hours and that they’d come for me soon.

Well, they didn’t come for me until about 8:00 a.m. I had already been there over 3 and a half hours and really, I was ready to get this thing over with. They put some drug into the IV and ::poof!:: I remember being wheeled out the door… and that’s it. The next thing I remember I was in the recovery room. It seems like the operation took a bit over 3 hours. I looked at my abdomen to see what sort of damage I had; five little holes and one slice on my lower abdomen, just like I expected. I was full of wires and tubes and pretty much tethered to the bed. I had oxygen hooked up, heart monitors, IVs, some inflatable things on my legs and (oh lovely) a catheter. I had a pump with a narcotic that I could administer myself for pain. I didn’t really do that much – the pain was really very minimal. My family was there and I felt pretty good. Mostly I was just relieved the operation was over.

Long story short here, I started bargaining immediately for all the tubes to be removed. At the end of Thursday night, I had successfully gotten the oxygen removed. Later in the evening, I decided to stand up and see if I could walk – which I totally could. My muscles felt really sore, but not really painful. I pretty much stayed up all night on Thursday as people come in and poke at you every hour in the hospital. I moved my legs around, got up every few hours and drank a lot of water.

The next morning, my doctor said that all the rest of the tubes and wires could be removed – including the catheter. What a lovely day it is when you can pee on your own… just sayin’. He also said that I could finally try some real food. It had been 2 days since I’d had anything other than liquids, so I was pretty excited about this. After lunch, the doctor came in again and checked me out, told me that all my tests were good and that I could go home… today. I couldn’t believe it! They had told me that I would be in the hospital from 2 – 5 days. I’d never even hoped to have the surgery and come home the next day! Hallelujahs!

So anyways, I’m at home, I’m walking around, taking her easy, but not helpless. I get better every day and I’m healing super fast. I finally got some great sleep (there’s no place like you’re own bed!) and feel totally rested.

I have to admit that the prospect of having Krueger out was the scariest thing I’d ever had to deal with. I thought maybe I’d handle it better, but I was way scared of the surgery, notsomuch the recouperation, but the surgery itself. I don’t know why, but I just had an overwhelming feeling of doom. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. With the help of talented doctors and a super supportive family, having a nephrectomy was a piece of cake.

 

Nov 072011
 

So, the day that Steve Jobs died I found out that I’d be probably having my right kidney removed. The funny thing was, I never even thought I had any kidney issues. Turns out I have a congenital thing called an UPJ obstruction:

Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a blockage in the area that connects the renal pelvis (part of the kidney) to one of the tubes (ureters) that move urine to the bladder.

UPJ obstruction generally occurs when a baby is still growing in the womb. This is called a congenital condition (present from birth). Most of the time, the blockage is caused when the connection between the ureter and the renal pelvis narrows. This causes urine to build up, damaging the kidney.

So my right kidney (nicknamed Krueger) has been underperforming for years because of this and now can only do 26% of the work. Left kidney (still unnamed) has grown larger and has been working very hard for a very long time.

So how did I find this out? Well, I was sort of feeling beat and run down and had just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. My doctor wasn’t sure what was going on, so ordered a CAT scan. Here’s part of the scan:

CAT Scan

On the scan, my doctor saw that my right kidney looked smaller and my left one looked bigger. She decided to send the scans to a urologist. The urologist figured out what was going on pretty quickly and sent me to have a nuclear medicine test. In this test, they shoot nuclear poison stuff into your vein and you can watch how fast your body moves it through your system. Krueger (right kidney) didn’t do so well. In the renogram below, you can see that the poison is filling up really fast at the right kidney (on the left side as the camera was taken from under my body)  and that left kidney finally just takes most of it eventually.

Nuclear medicine

laparoscopic nephrectomyFascinating stuff right? So the deal is, because Krueger isn’t doing enough work, there’s not a good reason to try to save him. Years of this UPJ issue has caused him some big damage so dude needs to be removed.

This Thursday (November 10, 2011)  I’m going to have something called a laparoscopic nephrectomy to remove the kidney. So instead of a big slash across my side, I’ll most likely just have 4 poke holes and a slit where they slide out the kidney. Here’s a diagram where they’re taking out the left kidney. It should take about four hours for the doctors to do this.

So, the weird thing is that I don’t feel any pain or discomfort from Krueger, so it sort of seems strange to go through a major operation when I don’t feel horrible to begin with. That aside, I might be able to maintain a normal blood pressure again, which would be a good thing.

Oct 062011
 

appleSteve Jobs, one of the most revolutionary inventors of the last century is no more. As one person who’s used products created by Steve and his talented team for the last 20 years, I can say he’s truly changed my life for the better. And even though I didn’t personally know him, he shall be missed. The world is a little less sparkly without him. RIP Steve.

Steve Jobs 2

Jul 122011
 

HemingwayThe guys over at The Art of Manliness got it going on.I sit on my arse all day long.  It’s not good and it needs to stop.

5 Reasons to Use a Stand-Up Desk

So should you follow in Jefferson’s and Hemingway’s footsteps and start working on your feet? Here are five reasons to consider making the switch:

1. To Avoid an Early Grave

Excessive sitting is slowly killing you. I know. It seems like hyperbole. But it’s not. A study found that men who sit for more than six hours of their leisure time each day had a 20% higher death rate than those who sat for three hours or less. The epidemiologist who conducted the study, Alpha Patel, concluded that excessive sitting literally shortens a person’s life by several years. Another study showed that men who sat for 23 or more hours a week had a 64% greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours per week or less.

So why is sitting so frighteningly bad for you?

Well sitting is the ultimate passive activity; you burn more calories chewing gum than you do slouching in your chair.

When you sit, the electrical activity in your muscles flat lines, and your body uses very little energy. Powering down your body like that for long periods of time leads to a cascade of negative effects. Your heart rate, calorie burn, insulin effectiveness, and levels of good cholesterol all drop. Your body also stops producing lipoprotein lipase and other molecules that are only released when you flex your muscles, such as when you are standing and walking. These molecules play an important role in processing fats and sugars; without them, your metabolism suffers. Add these factors up, and it’s no wonder that those who sit for long periods of time each day have larger waistlines and worse blood sugar and blood pressure profiles and are at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than who sit less.

And if you think you’re off the hook because you get in a bout of vigorous exercise each day…you’re not. Studies have shown that exercise does not counteract the negative effects of sitting. It’s like thinking you can snack on Twinkies all day, and then offset that by running for an hour.

2. To Lose Weight

As mentioned above, when you sit, your heart rate and calorie burn go down. Health experts will tell you that weight gain typically creeps on gradually from consuming a few too many calories here and there, and slowing down in small ways as we age. We just keeping putting on a couple of pounds each year until a decade goes by and suddenly we’re tubby. I did a test with my heart rate monitor and found that my heart rate was 10 beats higher when I was standing than sitting, and I burned 54 calories in an hour of sitting as opposed to 72 in an hour of standing. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you sub in four hours of standing for four hours of sitting a day, that could translate to 7 lbs a year!

3. To Save Your Back

When I go to the gym I see all these middle-aged guys lying on the floor and contorting their bodies into weird stretches in an attempt to alleviate their chronic back pain. These aren’t blue-collar men who’ve strained their back from years of heavy labor; no, they are white collar guys whose pain stems from not using their backs enough. Years of slouching in a chair has taken a toll. Standing up engages your back muscles and improves your posture. Many folks who have made the switch to a stand-up desk have reported that the change cured their back pain.

4. To Increase Your Focus

Standing up can increase your focus in several ways. First, you don’t get that sleepy feeling where you desperately want to put your head down on the desk and pass out; your muscles are engaged and you’re less comfortable, so you stay alert. And second, it lets you be more active so you can release your restless energy. You can move around more, shift from one leg to another, and start pacing around whenever you’d like.

And perhaps there’s something to be said for the argument one hears from creative-types that standing increases your blood flow, thus keeping your brain juiced for inspiration.

5. To Gain a Satisfying Tiredness

While you get less sleepy while working standing up, at the same time you gain a satisfying overall tiredness by the end of the day. I hate going to bed feeling like my body hasn’t done a damn thing all day. When you stand up while you work, you earn that satisfying body-used feeling, and at night you fall asleep fast into a restful snooze.

Go to the Art of Manliness now!

Jun 032011
 

Jack Kevorkian

Dead at 83.

Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis when a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart.

“It was peaceful. He didn’t feel a thing.”

May 052011
 

wifiThis is something I found on LifeHacker which might come in handy…

How to Lie, Cheat, and Steal Your Way to a Perfect FlightInternet access isn’t particularly cheap when you’re getting it on an airplane. In fact, the cost of access for a single flight can be comparable to what some people pay for basic DSL for an entire month. We’ve looked at how to get cheap or free inflight wi-fi before, but one tip has stood up to the test of time.

Because you’re less likely to consume the same amount of data on your mobile phone as you would on a laptop, your phone gets a cheaper rate. It’s not much cheaper, but it usually works out to about 20% off. If you want to pay this lower rate but still use your laptop (or tablet, which is considered a computer) you just have to identify your web browser as a phone when you sign up. This is pretty easy to do. If you’re running Safari, you can select your browser’s user agent from the Debug menu. If you need to enable the Debug menu, you can do so with the following terminal command:

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1

Changing the user agent in Firefox is also pretty easy if you install the User Agent Switcher add-on.

Once you’ve identified yourself as a mobile phone and signed up, you can switch back to a normal user agent and use the connection normally.

Jan 142011
 

burroughsHey Chicagoans! There’s a new documentary about William S. Burroughs that is premiering on January 21st at the Music Box Theater entitled, William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.” In addition, artistic works of cultural icons Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs will be featured at Th!nkArt Salon in conjunction with the premiere of the film.

From Th!nk’ArtSalon’s website: Celebrate the artistic works of cultural icons Allen Ginsberg & William S. Burroughs at the Th!nkArtSalon. The opening reception will be between 5:30 P.M. and  9:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 20, 2011.

Allen Ginsberg’s photogaphic work on display provides a rare glimpse into a generation of free expression and rebellious thinkers from the 1950′s, including candid snapshots of his friends William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac as well as self-portraits.  William S. Burroughs’ works on paper and shotgun paintings push the artistic boundaries paralleling the spirit of both of their written work. The reception will feature a live performance of Ginsberg’s seminal poem, “Howl” by Kevin Coval.

Jan 072011
 

Bill Zeller

Bill Zeller was a programming student at Princeton who killed himself on Wednesday, January 5, 2011. The note he left behind is being published, in it’s entirety around the innernets, and really, I think people should read it. It speaks of  his struggle with the horrors of his youth, the darkness that comes with depression and religious intolerance. Maybe if people all understood that everybody is struggling with something, they’d cease to treat others with the meanness that is so common in our society.

A memorial service is being planned for Princeton graduate student William “Bill” Zeller, who died Jan. 5, 2011, at a local hospital as a result of injuries sustained in a suicide attempt at his home near campus. He was 27.

A University service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, in the Garden Room of Prospect House with a reception immediately afterward. The service is open to members of the Princeton University campus community and Zeller’s family and friends.

A native of Middletown, Conn., Zeller was pursuing a doctoral degree in computer science, having earned his master’s degree from Princeton in 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in 2006. He was active in the Graduate Student Government and participated in an influential technology blog, among other activities.

Jan 042011
 

OK, this is totally a bummer. This is our favorite beach.

By: Chad Petri

FORT MORGAN, Alabama – When BP crews return to the job Monday they’ll have plenty to do. There were still tarballs washing up on some beaches. This is video from the bay side of Fort Morgan beach this morning. Cleanup crews have been on a holiday break but are slated to get back on the job Monday.

BP officials didn’t provide us with an interview today but a spokesman did issue a written statement. It reads as follows:

“Beach cleanup operations will resume across Alabama’s beaches Monday, January 3rd, following the holiday break. We’ve stated all along that we expect the beaches to be clean by spring break 2011 tourism season. That’s been our goal and commitment all along and we are making steady progress towards meeting that goal.”

“While most of the oil has been removed, BP will continue to clean all oiled areas until the job is done. BP is working with state and federal agencies, as well as local communities, to determine when the job will be officially completed.”

source

Dec 092010
 

OK, this has been one of the silliest and funnest competitions that I’ve ever been part of. Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer agreed to participate in the competition to see which “Team” could raise the most money for charity. Team Bill won and these are the pics that Stephen Moyer sent us. The competition was co-organized by our friends at alexskarsgard.net and we raised over $70,000 for charity. Oh yeah, I designed the t-shirts 😉

FINALPIC2

FINALPIC1

Read all about the Battle of the Fang at TrueBlood-News.com

Dec 022010
 

Vampire Bill Wii

Fact: I get addicted to video games.

Fact: I am bored with excercise.

So, I had this bright idea to get a Wii system and hopefully get addicted to the more active games that it offers. I asked around to see if the Wii Fit was any good and the consensus was that it will probably do what I need it to do. So, the decision was made to purchase the Wii console & Wii Fit. Dan did the procuring, and one day later we were in business. We hooked it up to the TV in the living room.

The Fit was on order from Amazon, but the sports package and Sports Resort came with the Wii. I popped in the Resort, made my Mii and was on my way to fun in Wiiland. Long story short, after playing around with all the sports in the Resort, my favorite turned out to be the sword fighting.

The only problem was the dogs wanted to be near me when I was playing – this wasn’t going to work. So, one 50″ TV later, I’m sword fighting and doing the Fit in the basement. I have to say that this so far has been so much fun – and if it gets me off my WoW-playing arse, that’s a good thing. Thanks to Dan for procuring all the items, cleaning out the basement and painting the wall!

Sorry Vampire Bill, golf just isn’t cutting it though.