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Sleep-Deprived and No Food

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Quote of the Day: “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Give a fish a man, and he’ll eat for weeks!”

- Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata

Well, I got through an entire day at work. Let’s see, Tuesday I left at lunch, I stayed home on Wednesday, and I only lasted a half of a day on Thursday.

I should feel great, right?

Nope, just suffered through the day and by 5:00 PM, I thought, “Hey, it’s the weekend and I’ve been battling this crap all week so I should bounce back right in time for the weekend.”

Who let Mr. Optimistic Asshole out of his effing cage?

By the time I got home, I was feeling WORSE than I had all day. And as the hours passed, it got really bad. My head felt as though someone had stuck a bicycle pump in it and was slowly pumping.

Because of this shit, I got to experience an extra little slice of heaven. I know my sleep is going to be out the window tonight but did my ability to taste have to completely evaporate?

I. Cannot. Taste. A. Thing.

Do you know how horrible that is? I mean, I don’t even get the slightest taste off of anything. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

I tried salty, I tried sweet. Nothing. It all tastes like I’m chewing my own tongue.

So the sanctuary of food is gone.

And the sanctuary of sleep is not far behind.

I don’t even want to talk about my running (actually lack thereof. Monday was the last time I ran).

Needless to say, my coveted Friday was shot and by the time I tried to escape via sleep at 9:00, things were only going from bad to worse.

I have a painful wavepool going on in my head. I have a pool of I-don’t-even-want-to-know that settled on one side of my sinuses and causes great pressure and pain. When I turn over, a painful internal sinus gate (I imagine it as a network of raw, throbbing nerves) flops to the other side and lets the painful fluid drain down to the other side.

When this is happening, it is very painful. And it lasts a couple of minutes and for just the briefest of moments, there is a sort of equilibrium where the pain subsides. Sometimes there is a high-pitches squeal that accompanies this which would be amusing if I wasn’t writhing in pain at the moment.

The respite lasts for about 20 seconds.

Then the pain returns.

I turn over to start the process again.

I did that until the break of dawn, never getting more than a few continuous minutes of actual sleep.

Life <> Good right now.

Hungry. Tired. Pain.

Free Advice for Today: “Learn the capitals of the states.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Random Thoughts From A Sick Mind

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Quote of the Day: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.”

- Henry J. Tillman

I told my wife.

I told my daughter.

I told my son.

I told my brother.

I told my mom.

My grandma already knows.

I need to call my father.

And my Aunt Barb.

And Aunt Shirley.

I also think Buster is aware something is happening.

There is also a long list of people who care about me but do not know. Going over the same story over and over can get tiresome, especially considering I’ve been too sick to even claim coherence for the last three days.

But I need to start making those calls.

Once I’m among the living, it’ll happen. I think there will be a lot of phone calls this weekend.

On a lighter note, I made my hotel reservation for Bishop where I’ll be tackling my 4th 50-mile ultra on May 17th.

And I not only recorded a new macro for Word 2007 (since the one I made for Word 2003 didn’t transfer over), I even fiddled with the actual code to make it work better. I’m so cool.

But all this was accomplished tonight because in the hours of sunlight, my day went a little like this:

0600: Wake up and wonder why God just doesn’t kill me
0637: Leave for work nearly unconscious and feeling the differences in air pressure as I go uphill and downhill (head threatening to explode)
0700: Arrive at work and barely make it to my office without looking too pitiful
0725: Change into my Bravos which makes things 10 times worse than I could imagine
0745: walk across the Depot to attend an hour long lecture
0900: walk back to office, visibly weaving
0900-1100: witness a weigh-in for the CGI team on deck
1130: check out with the boss and head home
1200: get home and eat soup and medication
1220: collapse
1530: wake up and gulp water like my life depended on it
1531: fall back asleep in a pool of my own sweat

At about 1700 I managed to get up and at least stay vertical for more than a few minutes at a time.

I’ll be better tomorrow.

I have to.

Free Advice for Today: “Keep a special notebook. Every night before going to bed, make a note of something beautiful that you saw during the day.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Plague Day 2

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Quote of the Day: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”

- E. B. White

Today has been a series of waking up, collapsing, waking up again.

Coughing, sleeping.

I think I took a shower at one point in a vain attempt to feel better.

It didn’t work.

My son and I are playing dueling coughing. He’s home for the third day in a row.

Carrie is doing her best to make us comfortable.

Yesterday for lunch I had split-pea soup.

For dinner I had a little stew.

No breakfast this morning.

Vegetable beef soup for lunch.

I think I may be able to tackle a little taco salad tonight. Very little.

I’ve been drinking Gatorade like I own stock in it.

I CAN’T stay home from work tomorrow so whatever recovery I can manage today is all I get.

Nobody LIKES being sick but man, that don’t make it any better.

Free Advice for Today: “Know how to tie a bow tie.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Not One For The Books

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Quote of the Day: “Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.”

- Albert Schweitzer

When I’m right, boy am I right.

Two of my fears from yesterday came to full bloom today.

First, I did not do what you would label as “spectacular” on the inspection and that’s about all I want to talk about on that subject.

Second, my prediction that I would not sleep well last night not only came true but it was because I fell victim to whatever nasty sickness that is making the rounds in my house.

The boy is still down hard and missed his second day of school in a row.

I tossed and turned all night and then got up only to sweat all the way to work. I changed over and it was abundantly obvious I should have been nowhere else but in bed. That’s what I planned to do when the inspection was over.

I made it through with only loud coughing, obvious sweating pouring off my forehead, and bags under my eyes that you could carry bowling balls in. It was bad, people.

At around 1100, I stumbled over to medical and they took one look at me, gave me 5 different medications, and sent me home.

I drove home in a blur. I couldn’t take the medicine while I was driving so I had to wait until I got home.

I couldn’t get out of my cammies and into my bed fast enough where I spent the majority of the night coughing and sweating.

It’s getting tough to keep that positive attitude that makes everything better.

Just a banner day.

Free Advice for Today: “Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Monday, February 25th, 2008

Quote of the Day: “As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something.”

- Hagar the Horrible

Have you ever dreaded a conversation with your boss and you somewhat avoid it because you know it’s going to be confrontational (of which, you’ll lose), only to find out that it’s not a big deal and nothing really comes of it?

That was today.

All day

Then by the time I got into to see him, it was a couple minute conversation that was innocuous.

In other news, my son is sick. After a week off last week, Carrie kind of inquired about the legitimacy but he stuck to his guns. Turns out he’s getting a big healthy unhealthy dose of what Carrie and Steph had last week.

So far, I’m good. Even cranked out a 7-mile run today and it didn’t feel bad at all.

I will end this terribly boring blog but I know tonight’s sleep will be a total crap-fest. I have an inspection from a team from Headquarters Marine Corps tomorrow.

I don’t have a good feeling about this one…

Free Advice for Today: “Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and car.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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New Office in the House!

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Quote of the Day: “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.”

- Henry Kissinger

As I wrote earlier, our friend, Alison, was visiting and she arrived bearing gifts.

I mentioned that her husband works for Microsoft and so they hooked me up with Office 2007 that I’ve been wanting for months.

I waited until today to install it because I figured that if something went haywire, I would have the time on the weekend to fix it. I didn’t want to be up half the night and then have to go to work the next day because Dellzilla decided that the new Office wasn’t as tasty as Office 2003.

The first thing I had to do was to get the damn thing open.

If you’ve bought anything from Microsoft lately, you will know what I was talking about. It was like a Chinese puzzle. I ended up looking like a chimpanzee with a Rubik’s Cube for about 10 minutes before I figured out how to crack the damn thing open. I expected golden Krugerrands to come spilling out.

The installation went smooth even if it took awhile to load up. That and the 25-digit serial number that I had to type in.

OK, already, yeah, piracy, I get it but this was a legit, paid-for copy. Calm down, Mr. Gates, I think you shit money these days so keep your knickerbockers from getting too bunched up.

The two main programs I use is obviously Outlook and Word. The others I use occasionally but I wanted to see what the big deal was about my main duo.

It seems the answer is user interface, mostly. I’m sure some of the deeper bells and whistles got a makeover but I normally stay close to the surface so the interface is mostly what I noticed.

There’s this hype about the ribbon. All it really is is contextual menus. When you choose to do something, it changes the menus to what it thinks you will use most often. To tell you the truth, the most noticeable for me is when you highlight text, it gives you a little pop up menu of common formatting features. This is pretty cool.

There are a few other neat-o things about Word but like I said, it’s mostly cosmetic. I like it but for the price of the upgrade, I don’t know.

Another big difference is the compatibility issue. There are two issues here, really:

1. How will old formats open in the new Word program (forward compatibility)
2. How will new documents open in the old Word program? (backwards compatibility)

The answer to #1 is that it opens old documents in a “compatibility mode.” This means that while it won’t be able to use some of the new features of Word 2007 (bells-and-whistle types anyway), it will have no problem opening up in older version of the program.

The #2 is a little trickier since the new Word saves as a “.docx” which indicates that it’s a Word 2007 document that uses XML. This is new.

The bottom line is that the old Word program will not open these new documents unless you install a patch and even then, the “neat-o” capabilities of Word 2007 will be lost.

I have no idea what those are but you’ll lose them. The safest thing is to just save them as Word 2003 files (.doc) until the rest of the world catches up.

The overall review of Outlook 2007 is about the same. The interface is updated and it looks really cool.

I got the same feeling using it for the first time as I did when I upgraded to Outlook 2003.

It claims a better spam filter and one of the folders is an RSS feeder which to me falls in the “day late and a dollar short” category. If I wasn’t so hooked on Bloglines, I would turn to Google before I went with the Microsoft native RSS reader.


Well, Bloglines is really cool, has a buttload of features, exists online so you can access it anywhere, and it is not blocked at my work.

Google is reputed to be the best on the market for the same reasons (and because it’s “Google” which scores high in my geek-book) but unfortunately, you have to log into your Gmail account and that’s blocked on my work network.

The one glitch I’ve seen with Outlook 2007 is that when I check my email, the number of new emails update in the left pain with my folders but they do not show up in the main window until I go to another folder and then come back. Very annoying.

On the upshot, everything imported just fine and the Xobni add-on still worked.

After I was done installing, I noticed that it had never told me to insert the second disk. When I did it on my own (because that’s the way I roll), it wanted to install the Small Business Manager which I was not sure what it exactly did but I thought, what the hell, put the whole damn thing on there.

It also installed some kind of database SQL server or something and in the end, all I ended up with was a toolbar on my Outlook that I couldn’t get rid of.

I’m sure I will find other things worthwhile about this upgrade but like these things often go, right now I am satisfied in the knowledge that I’m using the latest and greatest that Microsoft has to offer.

For a geek like me, that’s enough. For now.

Free Advice for Today: “Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in your car and at home.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


SOCAL Sunset

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Quote of the Day: “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”

- Harry S Truman

I just had to get out of the house. I have no problem with sitting around all day but with Carrie being sick, my daughter away all day, and my son plopped in front of the computer, I was getting stir crazy by the end of the day.

So I grabbed the boy and told him that I was taking him out driving. He has his permit so I wanted to get him on the road and us out of the house.

We decided to take Buster too because of that damn dog face he always gives us.

My idea was just to go down to Solano Beach and as an afterthought, I grabbed my camera.

On the way, we saw some hot-air balloons and I tried to get some shots. A few of the dozen turned out but that’s what happens when you are trying to take shots from a moving car.

When we drove up to the beach, I saw the makings of a most incredible sunset.

This is rather ironic since our friend, Alison, just left yesterday and it was cloudy and crappy the entire time she was here. One of her main goals while she was here was to get some good shots of a California sunset on the ocean.

It didn’t happen but we got some good family shots out of the deal anyway.

We left Buster in the car (sorry buddy, no dogs are allowed at Solano Beach) and rushed out to get a couple of shots of the sunset.

The globe of the sun was actually visible in a break in the clouds right on the horizon.

I snapped away like a maniac while everyone just watched the dazzling scene in awe.

After the globe dropped below the horizon, Alex and I walked down from the cliffs and took a couple of shots on the actual beach.

On our way back up the ramp toward our car, I heard Alex exclaim, “LOOK DAD!!!”

What had happened was that the sun gave a final burst of light after it had dropped and it hit the clouds in such a way that can only be shown.

The strange thing was that we got the good pics of the sun setting and it got kind of dark. Then in a sudden burst of light, we got these pics.

It was startling.

It was even bouncing off the buildings…

… and I got this one by zooming all the way in and getting the clouds. It looks like water but it’s the clouds.

The full set can be seen here.

Alex drove home and we talked about it the entire way. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.

Free Advice for Today: “Tour the main branch of the public library on Fifth Avenue the next time you are in New York City. Unforgettable.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Post Post

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

After I made the last post, I noticed something I liked.

Look at how my gorgeous daughter is looking at her 18-year-old Recruit father.

Then again, after posting that, the next moment she was looking at Buster the same way.


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Alison Photographs the Groses…AGAIN!

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Quote of the Day: “Life is a long lesson in humility.”

- James M. Barrie

A friend of Carrie’s came into town to stay with us the other day. Well, a friend of OURS since she has known me since I met Carrie in high school.

Alison and Carrie have been friends since junior high and they have stayed in touch all these years. Her husband is not only a friend of mine but my Microsoft hookup since he works at the Mothership.

Alison also happens to be a photographer so she tends to hook us up with family shots every few years.

Here is what she did in Virginia a few years ago.

And then last summer in Seattle.

While she was here, she wanted to capture a good old fashioned California sunset so she asked if we wanted to go to the beach and get some free family photos done.

We didn’t have a problem with this. None at all.

But Mother Nature had other plans. We get about 350 sunny days a year around here and Alison had to pick the few days of clouds and rain to come pay us a visit.

I felt really bad for her but she had fun visiting Carrie and we ended up going to La Jolla Beach and getting some shots anyway.

The whole set can be seen here…

La Jolla Feb 2008

But here are some of my favorites.

Free Advice for Today: “Read the ten books nominated each year for the ABBY Award.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Message In An Email Bottle

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Quote of the Day: “I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do?”

- Ronnie Shakes

Some random questions I sent to the guy I’m replacing in Saudi Arabia:

What is your average day-to-day schedule?

Weekends off? (I know this might be an individual choice, maybe not)

Travel in the area?

Need for a vehicle?

Should I plan to bring my own computer? Will I have internet connectivity?

I’m a runner (marathon and ultra). Is there safe long distances I can run?

Do I need to update my TS clearance?

Money: this is really for my wife’s sake. I assume I will get FSA and COLA. Any IDP or Combat pay? Any other $$$ I should tell her about?

TV/DVD player in villa or do I have to bring my own?

Possibility of flying back to the states for Christmas?

I think that’s enough for now. I appreciate your time on this.

Free Advice for Today: “Visit your old high school and introduce yourself to the principal. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.