Sunday, August 30, 2009

It Just Doesn't Stop

My trip back to San Diego on Wednesday for a final few days of summer at the beach had an ominous start. I had some business to attend to and sped to the airport for a 2pm flight. While I pulled into the valet parking, I somehow failed to do what I ALWAYS, ALWAYS tell my sons to do: Keep Your Head on a Swivel.

I thumped the car in front of me.

Oops. Total HUMA move.

As luck would have it, my bumper hit the jeeps rubber plug on the trailer hitch. No damage to the jeep and none to my car. The look the Jeep owner gave me was creepy though.....the old Keith would have got in his grill. I played nice.

Then on Thursday night the alarms on my magic sleep machine started blaring and the screen showed an E87 message. On the internet at 2:30am I was able to determine my machine was fried. The next morning I call Praxair and they confirmed it - come in for a replacement unit. Problem was I was 5 hours Janae and I packed up and left the beach house. The girls at Praxair were great and got me squared away with new gear; hose, mask, machine and supplemental oxygen machine that is the size of a small TV. I asked the lady how long I would need that device and she looked at me, paused, and said, "Uh, well, forever." That really bummed me out.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to seek a second or third opinion now on my sleep apnea. Central Sleep Apnea doesn't have a defined cause other than the brain fails to tell the lungs to take a breath - that's bad.

The frustrating thing is that for a year, the magic sleep machine pretty much had me feeling normal. The past few months - back to debilitating.

We are nearing the 100 day mark for Jake's return. According to Janae, we are at 105 days and counting. I'm ready. Missions are harder for parents than their kids - I'm sure of this.

Alec is in the midst of filling out secondary medical school applications. Too bad he can't check "minority" since they seem to ride the diversity train to 50% of the admissions.....despite lower grades and test scores. Pretty soon he'll begin the interview process. This is an exciting time for he and Tiffany.

RayRay our beloved soft coated wheaten terrier played a fast one on us last night - he feigned sleep when it was time to put the dogs to bed, and by morning, he'd pretty much emptied the See's Candy 1.5 pound box of peanut brittle that was on the coffee table.

Laughing uncontrollable now......fires from surrounding states.....dogs gassing up the house....Big Brother on TV.... This is my life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oceanside 2009 and All That

Each year we trek to the beach. Some observations:

Each time I'm at the beach, it seems like yesterday when I was here last. I don't know if this is early dementia or if the rest of the year has little meaning. I do know that a lot of stuff went down in the past 12 months, but here I am again... spending time in my 3rd favorite place.

This year we opted for a house instead of a condo. North Coast Village provided a good summer home for at least the past 10 years. Now? We can't ever go back. The problem with this year is the same problem that crops up after you have flown on a private jet. You don't want to go back to flying commercial. This joint is really nice and now that we there are other, better options and dozen's like them scattered all up and down the coast of California.

The water was warm. This was unusual. It's also great since I was able to go for ocean swim or two. The water was also more blue than green or brown. I remember one year down here and the water looked like root beer. I didn't swim in the ocean that entire week. Janae came home with and ecoli infection and an aneursym. A double whammy.

I will never figure out the people who do their goofy tai chi rituals on the sand. Don't get it. The other morning I woke up and stumbled out to the deck and was greeted by a woman about 40 feet away, just beyond the surf. She was coiling up and spinning around in a super slow motion style. She did some kicks, pulled some stuff in the air from the ocean to the beach. This went on for a good 10 minutes. Of course I was compelled to provide audio commentary - funny. You had to be there.

It was so nice having Alec and Tiffany with us. We also know that this will be the last time Jake misses the family beach trip. This fact hasn't been lost on anyone. We look forward to December. It will be here before we know it.

Back in Las Vegas now thanks to some 911 business issues....or else I'd still be in O-side with #8 suntan lotion on and reading book #5. Janae continues her gypsy-like life and is still at the dogs, no cats, no phones.

As usual, my life is not without drama or hilarity....The 2nd night home I was jarred awake by the cat fight, which made the dogs bark...and so on (see prior posts for more detailed description). The morning turned ugly because the cat, quite literally, had the poop scared out of him and then decided to hide in the closet, and under the bed. I finally grabbed him and hosed him off....and then got to work on the carpet. Ah, the life of an animal lover.

Hoping to go back to O-side for a few last days of summer later this week.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vick is an Eagle

As testament to my sleep disorder, here it is 4am and I can't get to sleep. I can't sit still. I have read every article about Michael Vick becoming an eagle that has ever been written, All are similar. None have put me to sleep.

We leave tomorrow for the beach. I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time. Since Gram's Beach Party peetered out with other family members opting to head south of the border, we were on our own. Instead of going to North Coast Village like we have been for the past decade, we are renting for a house on the beach just south of the pier for 2 weeks. At least we'll avoid the world's slowest elevators at NCV. I'll miss the 30 to 40 family members that used to gather each summer. Strange how everyone just scattered. Maybe there is truth in the old saying, "You can pick your friends, not your family." I'm disappointed that GBP fizzled out and I think it's just our family that feels that way, but I'll just add it to my growing list of things people do or not do that disappoints me.

Janae and I drive down tomorrow and we'll pick Alec and Tiffany up at the airport in San Diego. I'm eager to live in swimtrunks, flip flops and tee shirts for the next little while and read a 1/2 dozen or so books.

The big news of the week was Michael Vick signing with the Eagles.

To some, Vick is the devil reincarnate. Me? I think the guy did some terrible things but he paid a price for his misdeeds. He axed for forgiveness - I'm chill with dat. Can't punish the guy forever like some people insist on doing. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...." And what not.

It will be interesting to see how the eagles use a guy like Vick. As a QB with the falcons, he could thrown the ball with enough velocity to knock down a barn but his aim was often poor. His arrival gives Philadelphia a legitimate medal contending 4x100 relay team (Jackson, Maclin, Vick and Curtis). Too bad it's football and not track. A guy with Vick's speed and shiftyness needs at least 10-15 touches a game - punt returns, kickoff returns, wildcat formation, reverses, etc. It's going to be fun to watch.

All this Vick discussion and I forgot to announce to those who have been off planet: The good news is that football is back. The bad news is that we have to endure pre-season football. This is a torture that the NFL does to its fans each year. And it used to be worse if you can believe it. Youngsters may not recall when teams played six preseason games not the four that are currently contested. There is talk about cutting the schedule down to two games and adding two to the regular season. Finaly a good idea!

Still not tired. You can bet that fatigue will hit just past stateline.


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Problem with Diversity


A polarizing subject...divisive, political....

My eldest son is learning about diversity the hard way. He is busy applying to medical schools all over the country this summer - he graduates in the spring. During this odessey of writing essay after essay, he's found that each school makes it a point to express to future students the school's commitment to diversity. The statement is everywhere.

Amazingly, schools today attempt to diversify their enrollment using race as significant piece of criteria for admission (In 2003 a Supreme Court decision concerning affirmative action in universities allowed educational institutions to consider race as a factor in admitting students). Sure they'll look at grade point averages, test scores and after school activities however the one word that keeps popping up is diversity. Judging by the FAQ's that each medical school publishes about it's incoming class, the closer to 50% enrollment of people of color the better. That leaves 1/2 the seats open to: students of the schools undergraduate programs, and in-state applicants from other schools. Brutal odds. That's why students apply to so many schools; upwards of 20+. There are only 120 total medical schools in the nation to begin with.

News from last week brings us another example of diversity in action - this time by grown ups: President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court of the United States, Sonia Sotomayor, was sworn in last week as a member, and the first hispanic, of that esteemed body of judicial excellence.

Obama surely selected Sotomayer not because she was the best or the brightest legal mind in the land - he picked her because she was hispanic AND a female. By picking Sotomayer, he assured himself the support of both groups when the 2012 election rolls around. He'll be able to stand tall at podiums across the land and say, "Remember what I did in 2009? I need your vote."

Imagine the outrage if Obama had picked an Ivy league educated white male? By the way, Sotomayer is a Princeton grad and graduated from Yale Law. Admittedly though she conceded that it was ethnic diversity that got her into Princeton in the first place and that she struggled mightily academically for the first few years.

Diversity....The pendulum has swung the other direction and now it's stuck.

Personally I don't care what the color is of someone's skin, what religion they espouse or what country they hail from. I'd just prefer that the most qualified people be hired to man our courts (pun intended) and become our future doctors, teachers, firefighters and police officers.

How "diversity" became such a political topic with so much sizzle is puzzling. It's like a weed that sprouted in the grass - you leave for summer vacation and upon your return, the weeds have taken over the yard. You find yourself buckling under the weight of the problem and instead of rolling up your sleeves to weed the garden, you simple turn the hose on and water the mess.

So much for picking the best person for the job huh?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Front Page Stuff

There's been some controversial material in the media lately. Let's take a look shall we?

Michael Vick's NFL Odyssey

Some facts:
1) I am a dog lover. I'm a HUGE dog lover.
2) Mike Vick bankrolled a dog fighting operation and exhibited extreme cruelty to the dogs in his care.
3) Vick served 2 years in prison for the crimes he committed.

How could anyone hurt these guys?

There is no doubt that Vick engaged in stupid and disgusting behavior and many people will never forgive him however.... he served the time that the courts determined he should serve and I believe he should be allowed to get back to work in the NFL without further suspension.

Apparently NFL boss/potentate Roger Goodell (see below) didn't think 2 years of prison, being humiliated and ridiculed (to this day even), losing his fortune (at one time he was the NFL's highest paid player), going bankrupt, and being the scourge of the earth wasnt' quite enough punishment - he imposed an additional 6 game suspension....just to make sure Vick knew who was boss. I'm no Vick fan, but jeez, players who killed people got off easier than MV.

Roger Goodell in 30 years

Let's compare Vick to Leonard Little and Donte Stallworth. These guys were each NFL players. Each were convicted of driving under the influence and of KILLING another human being (not a dog). In 1998 Little hit a St. Louis woman, killing her, while driving drunk. He spent 90 days in jail - that's it. The media storm for Little was minor - the football writers of America voted him an All-Pro 4 years later.

Stallworth...he also was convicted of driving under the influence and killing a man who was on his way home after a construction shift. Unbelievably, Stallworth served a grand total of 27 days in jail. Sure he surrendered his drivers license for the rest of his life but I doubt that will actually stop him from driving. He's also suspended indefinitely since the incident occurred in the recent offseason but make no mistake - he won't spend 2 years out of the NFL like Vick.

These two guys killed human beings.

Think about it.

Plaxico Burress' Gunshot Wound

The former NY Giants receiver accidentally shot himself in the leg last November while inside a club in NYC. Dude was carrying a loaded handgun in his went off....his pal and teammate at the time, Antonio Pierce, helped Plax get to a hospital where he could be treated for his injury. Both guys would wind up in some serious trouble.


I'll explain...

NYC has moronically strict gun laws. Just carrying a firearm without a permit carries a mandatory 3+ year prison sentence. That's a bit steep. One "oops" and anyone could be facing a life altering experience - in prision with bad men. The thought makes me keep practicing spanish. No way I'd ever go to prison. Canada is too cold in the winter so I'd opt for a non-extradition central or south American country. Prison? Are you kidding me?

Anyway, Plax told the prosecuter's office he'd serve a year in jail (as if he could dictate his own sentence?) yet the prosecuter demanded he do 2 years not 1. I guess a MANDATORY sentence isn't so mandatory. I don't understand this - perhaps my legal pals can explain. This sort of thing is remarkable to me when Burress testified under oath to the a Grand Jury that he did own the firearm; that it did discharge; and that he was injured as a result. Quad erant demonstradum.

Pierce was in hot water because he helped his friend get to a hospital and wasn't immediately forthcoming about what happened. The Grand Jury met today to vote on his behavior - they did the right thing and did not indict him. He was helping a friend. To me, loyalty is everything.

Professor Gates and The Cambridge Cop

I think everyone can agree that it appeared to the neighbor who called the police that someone was breaking into a house - couple of guys working on a door with no key. A tad suspicious - proceed with caution right?

The fact that it was the owner of the house trying to pry the door open was, at the time, unknown to everyone but the good professor. The cops approached the situation like all cops must do - with extreme caution. Words were said, next thing you know, the homeowner/professor was in handcuffs and was dragged away to the police station.

The incident should never have escalated to where it did and it certainly didn't warrant, in my opinion, the President of the United States commenting about how the cops acted "Stupidly." Surely the only people who really know what happened did manage to gather over brewskis at The White House last week and snacked with the Prez and VP Joe Biden.

I wish President Obama would invite me over for a BBQ on some lazy summer Saturday. I'd give him an earful on health care reform, immigration, the stimulus package and a give him my college football playoff pitch. How do I swing an invite like that?

Michael Jackson's Doctor

Conrad Murray, Gangsta MD/Rapper

Uh oh.

This guy is some serious trouble.

It looks like the Doc MAY have provided MJ with propofol which is a drug used to knock patients out during medical procedures.

I'm not a doctor but common sense tells me to stick to sleep medications to help someone have a good nights rest. Putting someone "out" for 8 hours using this sort of drug just doesn't seem like the right thing to do - maybe that's why so many doctors, referring to Murray and Jackson, asked the obvious question, "What were these guys thinking?"

But that's just me.

Maybe the $150,000 A MONTH the doc was getting from MJ influenced his prescription choices? I know this: If someone was paying me that sort of money I would sure as hell KEEP HIM ALIVE. What an idiot. Word on the street is that despite several months on the job he hadn't been paid yet. If I were him, I wouldn't count on getting a check soon either.

Watch What You Twitter or Facebook

Letting the world know about the fabulous vacation you are on can lead to coming home to a burglarized house. Post about it AFTER you get home. A public service announcement from me.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Sleep Center

Now that my back is 100%, my shoulder is well on it's way to being better than ever thanks to every other day visits to the rehab facility, and that Doc Daulat carved out that pesky bump on my mug that at first seemed to be an ingrown hair but stayed around for 2 months and, pending biopsy results, is likely a commmon and mild form of skin cancer - basal cell carcinoma, my body is thisclosetobeing where I need it to be. The only remaining issue is my sleep apnea. And it's a doozy.

I had to get my magic sleep maching recalibrated based on the results of my sleep test 2 weeks ago. Even with the machine, I have too many hypopneas and apneas or events as they say in the trade. My pressure needed to be adjusted so I took the machine to the sleep center at 9pm as instructed so the techs there could handle it. The first words out of the floppy haired guys mouth were, "I've never worked on one of those before." I said, "You're not inspiring confidence in me bro." He's scratched his head and stomped off. Tech #2 tagged along and looked at the machine and stepped back like it would bite.

The first guy was looking at my test results while fumbling with the machine. Since I have central sleep apnea the bipap machine is the only cure in helping my condition. After about a half hour they had finally figured it out and set the machine. After 3 nights of using it, the increased pressure sounds like a plane taking off. The mask can't handle the pressure so it leaks and when it leaks it makes a loud noise and worse it means I don't get enough oxygen. Working on the problem now.