Thursday, November 29, 2007

It was an interesting day....

Thanks to the lovely winter weather I recently whined about, the Interstate was a parking lot, so I took some back roads in (and not the back roads I'd have picked if I'd planned on it), making us 10 minutes late from the get-go. Not an entirely auspicious way to begin.

First thing when we get there is that we find out that instead of sending me the prescription for the Valium, they went ahead and filled it for us, so he got a little something to take the edge off. But that's not all, they have this cream (don't remember the name, don't care enough to look it up) they put on his arms to numb them. Basically just trying to make sure that he doesn't start the day cranky, annoyed or in pain (or all of the above). Then we get to wait for an hour while these things kick in. Thankfully, the hospital that we're doing this in has a great Children's Specialty center--and by great, I mean they have a large and well-stocked play area.

We then saunter over to the pediatric unit of the hospital--by this time the Valium's working and Arnold's a little buzzed, nothing major, but definitely in a good place. They're using the pediatric unit to insert the IV's for a couple of reasons: 1. the nurse in charge of the study is squeamish about poking kids, especially when there are pros available, and 2. they don't want the subject angry at the people he's spending all day with. (they're very concerned with the subject's state of mind--which is fine with me, considering the subject in question). Like I said before, Arnold's a pro at this stuff, but they bring in a legion of people to do insert the IVs. At one point (in addition to the three of us) there was his nephrologist, the nurse in charge of the study, two RNs, two other nurses, and a "Child Life Specialist" (whatever that is, but apparently you have to have mad bubble blowing skillz) in the room to make sure everything went smoothly. I almost volunteered us to leave the room to alleviate overcrowding. He got through that okay, one quick "ow" per IV, and then we went back to the center.

We know Arnold's small, but every now and then we get a healthy reminder of it. On the pediatric unit, all the nurses guessed that he was "about 2." When people who spend all day dealing with kids are off on that by 16 months, you know he's short for his age.
They fed some contrast dye into one arm, and then removed that IV. Then they took blood samples at 10 min., 30 min., 1.5 hrs and then 5 hrs. to see how the kidneys filtered it out. Then, like I said before, there were typical physical stuff. The early blood work results were good--hormones, sodium, etc. are stable, height, weight, etc are okay--but we won't have any results from the major tests for about a month.

The highlight of the day was, of course, watching Arnold go through this all. He was a little out of it, yet mostly there thanks to the Valium. But watched everything that happened to him, paying very close attention to every step of the process with the IV insertions--despite the best efforts of the woman blowing bubbles. He quickly picked up the procedure during the blood draws, and started talking the nurse through the steps. He was very chatty, particularly after the Valium wore off. Kept talking about "the red bloods" coming out of his arm, and going from the syringe to tube. He really seemed to have a good time. By the end of the day, all three of us were pretty drained, but his spirits kept up. But he was still plenty ready to get that last IV out, and be able to put both arms in his jacket (next year we'll take Frodo's for him).

Incidentally, the nurse was telling us about some conversations she's had with other centers for this study--not everyone does the IV thing ("for the kids' sake"), instead they just poke their subjects each time. How does that make sense? What kids want that? What kid's veins are up to it?

Then 7+ hours after we fought our way to the hospital, we got to fight our way home, in time for me to collapse for a few before work. Thankfully the next appointment should only take 3 hours--with no IVs involved. It'll be focusing on psychology, development and whatnot.

Representative Shot

Was going through some photos from today and came across the shots I took from Samwise's birthday...pretty much every one had an expression like this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Whys and Wherefores

Why I blog.

This has the makings of an interesting day

So Arnold has a big day today. He's going to be part of a nationwide study on pediatric kidney problems. His involvement will take part over the course of four years, starting in abouuuut four hours.

Today's festivities kick off with him getting an IV put in his hand--they were supposed to give us a prescription for some Valium to help him deal with that, but that didn't happen. He's had about as many needles stuck into him at this point in his life as I have, and generally does okay, so it shouldn't be too bad--but I'd feel better if he was relaxed. Anyway, that IV will be used to get 4 or 5 blood samples over the course of the day. He'll also have a decent physical, his regular nephrology checkup, and some other things. Once all the results are in, we'll have a much better idea of how he's going than we've had since...well, ever.

In a couple of months there'll be some psychological tests (that should be fun), and an annual repeat of today, along with other assorted fun times along with way.

But that's then. Before us today is trying to come up with ways to fill the time between blood draws and exams w/o TLomL, myself or Arnold doing violence against each other. Thankfully, the Princess, Frodo and Samwise are spending the day with some friends, or I know there'd be bloodshed. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One part Little Mermaid, One part Roger Rabbit, One part...

...yeah, okay, couldn't think of anything to finish that with. (shrugh) Whatcha gonna do?

We celebrated Samwise's 8th birthday over the weekend (8th!?!?!?!), and somewhere in between piecing together Bionicle warriors, Sponge-Bob Lego sets, and playing with remote control tarantulas, we managed to squeak in a movie, namely, Disney's Enchanted.

Say what you will, I liked it. Really.

A lot of books, movies and whatnot lately have been playing with or on the conventional fairy tale--Shrek, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Hoodwinked, to name a few. But where some do it out of a spirit of deconstruction, or mocking, postmodern detachment, and whatnot, Enchated does out of a spirit of fun. Yeah, it makes jokes about some of the fairy tale/animated fairy tale movie cliches, but it does so with love, not a sense of superiority.

This movie combines animation and live action, fairy tale world and the "real" world, a clash of cultures, a firm belief in happily-ever-after and skepticism about happiness in general. The musical numbers are just a blast (I've gotta get this soundtrack).

Marsden plays the good-hearted dullard that most Disney princes are perfectly. I haven't liked Dempsey this much since Can't Buy Me Love. Adams is...spectacular--she is a Disney heroine brought to life. I loved the cameos by past Disney voices (took me WAY too long to recognize Jodi Benson, and after all the Mermaid special features that Frodo's made me watch). Sarandon and Peter Pettigrew Spall are the perfect Disney foes.

I honestly can't think of a certain false note. Yeah, it's not going to walk away with Best Picture--but it's good wholesome fun that'll leave you smiling.

"Yippee ki yay . . ."

For those who found the unrelenting realism of John McClane's exploits to thwart Hans Gruber's escapades in the Nakatomi building too much to handle, never fear, the fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise gives the occasional nod to reality, but doesn't let it interfere with telling its story.

As usual, McClane's personal life is in shambles--this time the focus isn't on the disintegrating/disintegrated marriage with Holly, but on the strained relationship with his daughter. I really liked the interaction between McClane and the girl--I thought her change in attitude was a bit on the quick side, but eh...trama does things to people. Serves as a decent B Story.

The A Story is what it should be--some terrorist-y types wreak havoc, in this case it's a group of hackers bringing the entire country to its knees. But, since this is a Die Hard film, it's not really about the terrorism. McClane is brought into all this by chance, having to pick up a hacker for questioning about the early stages of the terror. This hacker is played by the always reliable Justin Long--who gets some of the best lines of the flick.

Have to mention Kevin Smith's two scenes--Smith plays an ubernerd/uberhacker living in his mother's basement (which he insists on calling his "command center"). Smith got great reviews for the role, but I'm not sure why. He was decent, but I know he can do better--and given the character, I expected a bit more from him. But at the end of the day, he's still Kevin Smith, and I can't help but grin when he's on screen.

Good action film, some great stunt sequences (could've lived w/o the jumping on to the jet myself), some good laughs. Well worth the time if you like the genre. Pretty sure this is the only one of the 4 in the series that TLomL has watched in its entirety with me, so that's saying something...

Monday, November 26, 2007

A matter of Perspective

Although my kids keep pointing out that Dec. 21 is weeks away, Winter has definately set in around here. This morning I noticed something odd...when it's 7 a.m. and the end of your shift, and you have to think warm thoughts while scraping your window in 19 degree weather and hope that your heater will actually do something about the environment in your van before you make it all the way home... It's cold, painfully cold.

But it's a whollllle new kind of cold when it's 7 a.m. and you just rolled out of bed and you're remember nice, warm thoughts while taking out the trash and scraping your window in 19 degree weather and knowing that the heater isn't going to do anything to help things out as you take your wife to work.

This morning I was really tempted to chuck it all, buy an RV and tour the country while homeschooling the kids like Lisa Whelchel, so I could be in Arizona or New Mexico right now.

But then I remembered that neither TLomL or I starred in a silly 80's sitcom, and will probably never be able to afford to buy an RV and tour the country (much less do so while we are feeding, clothing, and educating kids).

Ah well...chalk it up to my blood being too cold to properly navigate its way through my vessels and get the brain working.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chuck Norris Humor

Like many of you (I assume), I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this Mike Huckabee/Chuck Norris ad that swept the airwaves/InterWeb this week (this anti-federalist goofball is the evangelical answer to Romney?)--I was sure inspired to find more money to give to Dr. Paul.

Thankfully, the good people over at the webcomic Sheldon, posted an old Chuck Norris-related strip that it was easy to choose the proper reaction--laugh out loud, and then re-read and laugh some more.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Someone had Fun with Photoshop

Eat your heart out Doug Ross, M.D..

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hey, don't I know you from some other life?

it's Friday, so time for a tune. This time from that band that was too good to last, I just can't pronounce their name...

Am I boring you?
I could say more
we were destined for somewhere
but that was before you traded in your peace sign for a finger

And I don't believe it's the way you were raised
or the cards you were dealt
or a poor self-image
I think you love yourself too much

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Early Morning Laughs...

  • Prickly City's apparently doing a series on National Health Care this's is particularly funny.
  • Non Sequitur has the best reaction to the whole Dumbledore announcement.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tea Party 07 Commercial

If you haven't taken the time to watch this yet, now's the time:

actual original content to follow in the next couple of days...I think.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lost Dogs Live

Just 'cuz it's Friday...good day to relax with some music from one of my favorite bands:

(and yes, Chowmein, you can watch more of this concert at youtube :-D )

This is the sound of my head exploding

Listen carefully to what our Commander in Chief says...

"you can't be President and head of the military at the same time".

(H/T: Socks and Barney)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Proud to be a Vandal

Boise State University has turned down a request from veterans for a 21-gun salute on campus Monday to mark Veterans Day, saying it might scare bystanders still spooked by school shootings in other states.
Translation: Administrators consider BSU students too stupid to read the flyers/signs/etc. that would be inevitably posted about the event.

In related news: a BSU student was arrested by campus police last week when his car's backfire convinced co-eds that there was a sniper in his backseat.

(the real story can be read here, my fake story can be read above):

UPDATED: After receiving several complaints, BSU reversed their decision. Still a stupid call, but at least they fixed it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So, How's NaNoWriMo Going?

Slightly better for me than for Matt McLimore--slightly.

Good RP Interview

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Craving for Tyranny?

The national symptoms roll on. The United States is in the middle of a portentous abandonment, rapid now, of the ideas that led to the founding of the country, and certainly of what were previously regarded as the purposes of a university. It is the strangest damned thing I have seen. Americas never lived up to its ideals—who or what does?—but it actually tried to and at least said it wanted to. Often it succeeded. Now it deliberately reverses all it stood for.

Curious. Usually it is a government that imposes control over the population. Extreme governments of the right seek absolute control over behavior, and those of the left, over thought. But it is usually the government.

(read the whole thing!!)

and then..."Let it not be said that we did nothing." Remember the 5th of November and on this November 5th, donate to Ron Paul's campaign.

If you are desirous to live in peace

Presbyterian Thoughts' Sabbath a'Brakel posts are always worth a read (and usually a re-read), but this one in particular struck me. I grant you, most of my friends (particularly those from #pros) will roll their eyes at the thought of me being this way. But believe it or not, I actually've been trying to live this way for awhile--I just never put it as well, or succienctly, as a'Brakel.

If you are desirous to live in peace:

(1) Crucify your desire for money, honor, and love; it is neither possible to have a peaceable heart nor to maintain such a disposition without self-denial.

(2) Keep to yourself and let others govern their own matters. Do not appoint yourself as a detective and judge concerning the deeds of others; close your ears for backbiters. Do not listen for what is being said about you. "A whisperer separateth chief friends" (Prov. 16:28); "Where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth" (Prov. 26:20).

(3) Be always the least--both in your own eyes as well as in your conduct toward others. Endure being wronged, and forgive such deeds (Col. 3:13). In all things yield to the will of others insofar as this is not contrary to the will of God.

(4) If someone else encounters you in an unpleasant manner, or if you perceive the first motion of displeasure within yourself, arm yourself at once and resist strife at the very outset; be completely silent (IV: 100-101).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mazel Tov!

to Don and Manuela as they tie the knot today.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dr. No on Leno

Writing Thought of the Day. . . #2

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
- Thomas Mann

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Celebrity Sightings 10/31

Is he strong? Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood
King Edmund the Just
Ahhh, Doctor Turkelton-ette?
ba DUM
baaaa DUM
ba DUM da DUM da DUM
when Terry Francona lets his hair down...
he really lets it down

'This is What Good Parents Do'

from msn:

Parents are taking a more active role in raising their children than they did a decade ago
Active parenting? What is this world coming to?!?!
"Whether it’s a realistic panic or not, things like school shootings or child abductions or pedophile predators, that has a certain group of American parents pretty worried," said Angela Hattery, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University.
"We’ve really moved into this cultural expectation that this is what good parents do," Cooksey said. "It’s more a cultural consensus, that if we are going to be parents, we are going to have to put time into it."
You have to put time into parenting? Why didn't somebody warn me? Is it too late to get out of this??!?!

Max Klinger would love this idea...

After Betray-Rod's little stunt during Game 4 this weekend, Hank Steinbrenner asked, "Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, or a Toledo Mud Hen?"

The Mud Hens jumped on that idea:

Dan Royer, a graphic designer for the team, created a mock Hall of Fame bust, with Rodriguez wearing a Toledo hat.

The Mud Hens also prepared a letter that they plan to mail to Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras.

(H/T: Patrick over at YanksBlog)

Writing thought of the day...

Writing everyday is a way of keeping the engine running, and the something good may come out of it.
- T. S. Eliot

Taking the Plunge

Okay. It's November 1. The beginning of NaNoWriMo.


That's National Novel Writing Month, for those who haven't heard of it before.

Because between co-rebuilding my marriage, homeschooling, holding a full-time job, my SAHD duties, etc. I don't have enough going on. So I've elected to write a 50,000 word novel between now and Nov. 30th (roughly 1667 words a day).

I'm such an idiot.

Nevertheless, I'm gonna give it a shot.

Feel free to ask me about the NaNoWriMo Powers That Be say:

Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.
It's up to you now...make sure I feel the pressure :) You can visit my profile and track my progress, etc at

Enough of this nonsense...time's a wasting...sadly, my brains going in several different directions, none of them plotward. oh yeah, 1667 will be a piece of cake...