Saturday, May 31, 2008


These are new images just released today from NASA that show what they think might be ice beneath the Phoenix Lander.

Artist of the Month: Susan Cowsill

Ok, it's about an hour before the month actually starts but I'm starting early. I haven't done one of these in awhile so I thought I'd bring it out and dust it off. An Artist of the Month. One of my favorite singers in the world: Susan Cowsill.

Current Obsessions A Little More Current

When I started this on my sidebar I had planned to update it every now and than, but it stayed the same for quite awhile, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lily Holbrook. Which it still could, they haven't fallen from being anything sort of an obsession with me, but I just figured it was time to give fair shift to a few other obsessions of mine. I've been talking enough about it lately and it's one of my favorite shows of all time so I put West Wing in place of Buffy. I've added a great singer/songwriter from down around my neck of the woods named Maggie Brown. Click on the link and go check her out. She is really really good and deserves a lot bigger audience. I've also added a great comic book series called The Walking Dead. It's a book set in the future where the earth is overrun with zombies. Now if you know me you know I hate zombie movies. I really do, but this comic book goes beyond its genesis and is more about the survivors than the zombies themselves. This is one of the best comic books being published today.

LOST ends for the Season

Season Four of Lost is over and now we have to wait for the next season. This was one of the best seasons yet, but this series is going to live and die with the final season. Depends on how it wraps up will determine the fate of this show.

The clip is from the end of Season Three. I can't recall ever being as surprised by an ending as this one. My mouth was literally hanging open when I realized that it was a Flash Forward and not the Flash Back we were used to.

West Wing Again and Final For Awhile

I actually finished watching the entire seven seasons of West Wing before all this gall bladder nonsense but forgot to mention it. To tell you how good this series is I could go back and start all over again and be happy.

This bit is about friendships, something I've been having to think a lot about recently and I might post more about that later, but watch this and see if it doesn't move you.

Breathing With Anna Nalick

When I first heard the song "Breathe (2 a.m.)" I was blown away by it. There is just something in her voice and those lyrics that reached out and grabbed ahold of me. Here's an acoustic version of it here:

She's got a new album coming out this summer called Shine. She's released a ep for the upcoming album with the title song on it and a few others. The new song might not be another "Breathe" but it's very good.


I don't have HBO or Showtime on my TV at home. In fact I have the smallest package I can get from Charter and still get TV. I probably get something like 12 channels. Now I used to get the whole package, all the channels and more. But I realized that I wasn't watching most of those channels but I sure was paying for them. If I could guarantee good reception on my TV without Cable I would seriously think of dropping it completely. And the fact that I have to get my high speed internet connection from them. I've looked in alternatives, but nothing I find comes any cheaper, if not a lot more expensive.

This is all a preamble to the fact that I have not seen an episode of Weeds yet. I've seen the first two seasons collected on DVD and on sale at the store many a time and at a reasonable price. In fact many a time I've had the set in hand and was seriously thinking of buying a season, but for one reason or another never did.

Well, I have a little time on my hand right now. A couple weeks of being able to do not much of anything is going to give me a lot of time to catch up on TV shows, reading and hopefully posting on my blogs. So I decided to give Weeds a look. I know some of you have been praising the greatness of this show for awhile, the all knowing Starlight being one of you, and I've just been ignoring your cries.

I should have known better. This is a wonderful show. I ended up watching the first two seasons in two days. It's a show fulled of humor and sometimes you think it's so stupid type of humor than it rears back and slaps you across the face to make sure you remember this show isn't just a comedy. It takes a very humorous look at pot dealing, but it doesn't ignore the dangers involved either. And laughing can be pretty dangerous, try laughing so hard your stomach hurts when you've got a eight inch gash held together by staples across it.

And to make me feel even worse for waiting so long to pick it up. It stars Mary Louise Parker, who I think is one of the sexiest women alive. She is so sexy and that voice is to die for.

I ended the final episode of Season Two a little while ago and want to see what happens next. The good news is that the third season of the show goes on sale next week. I have a feeling that I won't be waiting to pick up this one.

And thank you to Starlight for recommending this show in the first place.


Before I had surgery I had to have an MRCP done and just recently afterwards I went back for a followup test. This is similar to an MRI, but it doesn't require any type of dyes being injected into your body or drinking that mixture an hour before the test. The MRCP is:

Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a relatively new technique for viewing the bile ducts, the pancreatic duct and the gallbladder. No contrast medium has to be administered for MRCP, unlike some other techniques. MRCP uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce detailed pictures.

Magnetic resonance imaging uses radiofrequency waves directed at the body (you do not feel anything) to excite hydrogen atoms in the molecules of water in your body. This is done in a strong magnetic field, which causes the nuclei of your hydrogen atoms to align. These nuclei emit radio signals when they return to their natural alignment. The signals are used to build a computerised image that shows differences in body tissues based on the amount of water in them. This enables extremely clear and detailed pictures to be obtained of the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts.

The post surgery test is to see if any gall stones escaped the surgery and have fallen into my bile duct.

I've never been claustrophobic before. I don't know if anyone out there has had one of these tests done, but you lay on the table and it moves into the tunnel of the machine. Inside you have to lie still for five minutes or so while they take their pictures.

I've been in tight areas before. I toured the catacombs of Rome, I've toured a submarine and never felt that enclosed. Once inside you look around and all you see is the tunnel walls just inches from you. You're facing forward so you don't see an end to the tunnel. I have to admit I was starting to feel a little "enclosed" after this test.

I was pretty happy when the doctor's voice came over the speaker and said it was wrapping up and I started to move back towards light again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If I Didn't Have Bad Luck....

You know the old joke, if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all.

Thursday I was scheduled to have my gall bladder removed. They were going to use the Laparoscopic method which basically involves three small slits and my navel to take the gall bladder out. This method usually takes about 45 minutes. The other method is called Open Removal where they make an incision about six inches long on the stomach and go in that way. This usually takes about 90 minutes.

I was in surgery for three hours. They tried the Laparoscopic method, but just could not get it to work. My gall bladder was full of gall stones. So they ended up having to change plans in mid stream and go to the open method.

Unfortunately the first method means an overnight stay in the hospital which I was expecting, not the five days I ended up there. Also the recovery time is a lot quicker and easier because you have a smaller incision to heal.

So I'm home for at least the next two weeks healing. I go back to the Doctor this Thursday and hopefully I'll know more about when I can go back for sure. The worst part is that next week I was supposed to go visit my Mom and there's no way I'm going to be able to make that trip right now.

Well, that's why I haven't been online for the last few days, I'm going to try to stay on more, but sitting up is only good for brief times, at least for the moment.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Wow! I have to admit that I'm surprised that David Cook won. I was sure it would be the other David.

Which David?

American Idol is on and I'm in here on my computer downloading some vinyl to the computer. While the final 12 revisit their past glories I'm listening to Styx and Sly Stone and Kansas and Roger Daltry. Anyone remember "Free Me" by Mr. Daltery those many years ago?

Going through these albums made me realize how much I miss vinyl albums. The feel of them. The size of them. The things you could do with album artwork that you just can't do on a cd because of the size. The Styx Cornerstone album opened up like a bookcover. And the Beatles would never had put out the cover art to Sgt. Pepper if it have been on a cd first.

Well, it's almost eight, so I think I will go check out which David wins. I think it's going to be the younger, though I hope its Mr. Cook.

Going Under the Knife

Tomorrow I go in for the removal of my gall bladder. The operation is at noon and I spend the night at the hospital and should be home Friday. What surprised me was they said I would be out of work for two to three weeks and could only go back to work after that for light duty for another two to three weeks. Wasn't expecting that. I thought it might be a week and than I'd be good to go. And the week after next I was supposed to go visit my Mom in Tennessee, so I'm not sure how all this effects that. I guess after tomorrow I'll know more.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fun Friday

Friday night about four in the a.m. I woke up with a pain in my chest. It felt like someone was driving a spike through my chest. All I can say is that it hurt. It lasted about an hour. I wasn't sure if I was having a heart attack or not. I didn't think I was, it didn't feel like one. Not that I've ever had one, so who was I to know. But from what I've heard of one, except for the pain in the chest it didn't feel like one. Still I thought about getting dressed and going to the emergency room. When my appendix's went bad a few years ago, my not wanting to go to the doctor almost cost me my life. But I'm hardheaded when it comes to going to the doctor. I'll struggle with pain before I go, I know it doesn't make sense, it's just the way I am.

Well after about an hour the pain subsided enough for me to go back to sleep. A few hours later I had to get up for work. When I work up I was still in pain, not as much as the initial pain that work me, but still hurting. I went to work just as they were opening the building. I mentioned to my boss what was going on and he told me I needed to go to the doctor. So I decided that maybe I should. I went to the emergency room.

They hooked me up to a bunch of wires and stuff and gave me the good news that it didn't look like it was my heart. They sent me down for an ultrasound. That was weird, laying there watching her take the ultrasound and seeing my kidney, liver, gall bladder and other organs on the screen. Not that I really could tell what they were.

Back to the room and about twenty minutes later the doctor came in to tell me it was my gall bladder. I had trouble with it years ago, but only once so they decided not to do anything about it. This time they want to take it out. I have to call the surgeon tomorrow and set an appointment.

I'm feeling better, but still not all that great. I'll be glad when it's finished and hopefully I'll be feeling better.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's Raining

It was raining so hard that as I was driving down the highway I found myself going down the exit without realizing it. I've never tried to drive in rain this hard, I literally could not see in front of me. I ended up managing to get to a shopping center and sat in their parking lot for about thirty minutes before I manged to crawl home through the downpour.

Last Suspect Convicted

Today the last man arrested for the murder of Police Office Christopher Russell was convicted and sentenced. You can find more about the crime here and the most recent trail here. Before he joined the police force Chris worked for me at Service Merchandise on the Westbank. I'm not going to claim we were good friends, but when I heard about his death it hit me pretty hard.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

American Idol

I've realized that I'm not that excited about any of the final American Idol finalists. I agree with a lot of people that David Cook is talented, but I just can't get excited about him. Nowdays it seems all rockers have the same voice. And don't get me started on the other David. Yes, I know he's talented, but every time he opens his mouth he bores me. I think Syesha Mercado has improved the most over the course of the show. At the start I really didn't think she'd make it past the middle rounds, but here she is in the final three. Her last few shows have been the ones that interest me the most. But I think she'll be voted off tomorrow night, the judges weren't kind to her tonight. Still of the three I liked her the best tonight and last week. She did good with Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Going To Come."

Democratic Convention

Everyone keeps talking about how it's bad that the race between Obama and Clinton looks like it will go to the convention. Why? What's wrong with it going to the convention. To me it's democracy in action. This year in politics shadows the last two years of West Wing. And Matthew Santos couldn't have said it any better than in this speech.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Looking Forward to Next Week

It's just been one of those weeks, frustrating and irritating and I can't wait for it to be over with and it's only Monday.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Putting What on My Eye?!?

I've worn glasses since I was in the sixth grade. I remember when I first got glasses, walking out of the doctor's office and seeing the pine trees and how the needles looked. Before they were always a glump of green, now I could actually see the needles.

So after all this time I'm fairly used to wearing glasses. Something about putting something on my eye always seems to bother me. A few years ago I did try contacts. The problem is that I wear bi-focals. So the contacts were mono, one lens was for distance and one was for the nearer stuff. The theory is that your brain adjusts to this and brings your eyes together so it doesn't seem off. I never could seem to adjust to it. Whenever I driving or outside it was fine, my far vision worked great. But when I was in a building, if I was looking at something near and I looked up it would take too long for my eyes to adjust. So I gave up on the idea of ever wearing contacts.

Well I started hearing about bi-focal contact lenses. So I went out a few weeks ago and today they came in. So at this very moment I'm wearing them. I still can't quite grasp how bi-focal contact lenses work, but I'm wearing them and they seem to be working better than the old mono contact lenses. I'm going to give them a try for a few days or week and see what happens. I hope that it works, it would be nice not to have to wear glasses.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Another West Wing Moment

Jazz Fest Round Up

I'm posting most of my pictures and round-up of Jazz Fest over at Voices to hear. Click above to go check it out. I'll probably post a few words and pictures over here about Jazz Fest, but the majority will be over at the music blog. I hope everyone goes and checks it out, it needs readers.


I'm a day late but yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. This was started back when the first Spiderman movie came out. Comic book stores give out free comics to entice new readers into their stores. The Big Publishers and even a lot of the smaller ones have started producing special editions of their comics for this day. Did anyone check this out? Some stores do really good with this and others it's just a normal day. They hope to have a big Superhero movie coming out when it falls, as it falls on the first Saturday in May every year. I think what would really help would have been a small ad at the start of the Iron Man, showing the logo above and something about going to check out your local comic book store. A lot of people don't even know such stores exist.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Man Movie

Last night I went and saw the new Iron Man movie. Iron Man is not one of those comic book characters like Superman, Batman and Spiderman that have a built in familiarity with people outside the comic book world. A lot of people probably don't know much about this hero. Well, I think after this weekend that will change. This is a very good movie. It belongs up there with Spiderman and the last Batman movie. It was entertaining and moved along at a brisk pace. Robert Downey Jr. owns this movie. He makes Tony Stark come alive. If you do go see the movie don't make the mistake I made, I left before the end of the credits. After the credits roll a scene comes up that sets up a new twist to the comic book movie world.


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