Showing posts from July, 2008

More medical stuff

For the third day this week (out of 3, mind you) I had medical crap to do. Today was a sonogram.

Apparently the hairy nipple in that picture yesterday wasn't sufficient to convince the medical staff that I couldn't be preggers. So despite the silliness of it all, I had a sonogram on my belly today.

I guess I'll find out the results in a week or so. The technician was astute enough to notice that I'd had kidney stones in the past. I don't know how obvious it is on a sonogram, but since the two incidents were 8 and 10 years ago, I'd be surprised if there was a lot of evidence / damage remaining. It sure hurt at the time, but I think my stones were pretty small. I didn't have anywhere near the kind of pain that some folk describe. I wasn't going to a doctor back then so I never was checked out afterwards.

Oh, by the way, that picture above is the console for the sonogram machine. It was dark in the room so the picture is blurred and grainy. Likewise for the…

All Hooked Up

My doctor and I disagree about something. She thinks I have high blood pressure.

I don't.

So to settle this disagreement I have been enlisted to wear this annoying automated Sphygmomanometer for 24 hours. My doctor told me it'd be small and convenient. Ha! Full size cuff, adhesive patch, all that tubing and then the recording device and inflating unit that I hold on to. Jeeze.

Every 15 minutes it automatically inflates and my arm has to be straight else it'll force an error message. Since I get no warning that it's about to inflate, and I do a lot of work which requires very fine finger and hand movement, this sidelined me for the day.

So I went home. At least I got to catch up on some television that I'd recorded the past few weeks.

I turn the unit back in at 8:30am, four and a half hours from now and I suspect I'll be fairly tired (you try to sleep with a cuff inflating on your arm every 15 minutes!).

And about a week from now I'll get a letter letting me know …

Tree Sex

So you want to know if trees fuck make love, huh?

This picture here might clue you into the nasty games that go on in our local forests. Be warned though, sex in nature isn't always a pretty sight.

Consider Exhibit A, over on the left. A nice upstanding tree, been there for ages, and some nasty upstart pops up right next door (so to speak, actually trees don't like to hear much about doors--sensitive subject for them--too many relative have been made into doors and all that)

Next thing you know, that spindly weedy little upstart begins to poke appendages into the older tree. And then those appendages not only pierce but completely pass through the older tree.

That's just savage. Rape, I tell you, not just sex.

There should be laws to stop this abuse of sweet unassuming elder trees.

Just look at this closeup and shudder. Ow.

On the other hand, it is pretty obvious in this picture that the older bigger tree is reaching out towards the younger one. Hmmm.


Yesterday I did a lot of my mowing so to reward myself today I skipped yard detail and went hiking.

I'm breaking in a new hiking buddy. Her name is Lisa, she's over there to the left walking across a pipe. This was the first hike we did together but it seemed to go well. I won't know for a while if she'll want to do this on a regular basis but I hope so.

After all the drama of hiking with Jules, I could use someone more sane to hike with.

I'm not sure why she wore long pants but it might have been due to ticks. I didn't get any on me today but this year they've been really bad. I used bug spray before I went hiking just to give me a fighting chance of keeping the nasty buggers off of me.

The water we were hiking along is Morgan Creek. I've hiked here before but it's been several months since the last time. The water was the lowest I've ever seen it. Damn drought!

Here's an epiphyte that lisa is holding. It's rather unusual. I don't think…

Doctors and Soda

This medical crap is getting annoying. I'd not gone to a doctor in over ten years and I was doing just fine. Now I've seen one three times in the past 3 months and she's got me set up with appointments with all other sorts of doctors too. It's like mold on bread, the doctor stuff is spreading and I don't like it one bit. And if that wasn't annoying enough, I've only got one can of soda left. Eeeeek.

My doctor gave me a prescription for Trilyte when I saw her on Tuesday so since I need to hit Wal-mart to get that filled, I s'pose I could pick up some soda while I'm there. Wonderful, lovely, sweet enchanting soda. Mmmmmm. (it's not an addiction, I tell you--it's just not!)

And on Friday I learned that my doctor's office had made an appointment for me to get an ultrasound this coming Wednesday---I need more notice than that. My poor little mind can't get wrapped around the idea of a procedure with just half a week of advance time. And th…

Die Hard 4.0

In the wee hours of the morning I watched a movie I recorded last month. I couldn't sleep so I figured 2 hours of explosions and car chases might help. Crazy, huh?

The movie I watched instead of sleeping was the high-definition version of Life Free or Die Hard, AKA Die Hard 4.0 in other countries. Bruce Willis, as John McClane, sipping at the Die Hard franchise once more. And it was well worth watching, a 129 minute thrill fest with some pretty decent acting to boot.

Did you hear me mention plot? LOL Well, suffice it to say that you'd best not pay too much attention to details while watching this movie because this movie makes sci-fi movies look plausible. It's horrible in that regard. The initial premise of the movie is that the transportation grid of the nation is intentionally fucked up by terrorists and then all outside controls--like traffic lights--are either shut down or left on in a manner to encourage accidents. Yes despite this, John McClane and other principal c…

Scottish enough?

Your result for The Are You Scottish Enough for Me Test...Fae Auctermuchtie?!?Do the highland fling! You scored 35!
You're as Scottish as they come... Probably have a best pal "Stevie", have said "Get tae F***" at least 17 times the day already, and can drink more than yer wee niece's bodyweight in lager.

Mon then! Send us a message!! Take The Are You Scottish Enough for Me Test at HelloQuizzy

two pictures

Not much going on so I thought I'd share two pictures from the past week.

This first one looks like a drowning bird. It's actually an "after shot" from the chicken I roasted last Thursday. The wings and a stub of the tail had roasted right to the iron of my Dutch oven and as a result, when I lifted the chicken out of the pot the burnt on parts stayed behind. I took a picture 'cause I thought it looked funny. Like the rest of the bird was still there under the surface.

This next one is the results of my skin tag removal. The snipping off of the flesh didn't hurt much but ripping the band aid off my belly when I got home after work really stung. Those belly hairs really don't like to be removed!

The point to the bandage was to prevent blood from getting on my clothes. Since only a drop or two leaked out, I think I'd rather have gone with the bleeding over the ripping my hairs out approach.

Revenge of sorts

I went to my doctor for the third time. Once the medical establishment gets their collective mitts on you, they don't let go easily. Anyway, this time she cut off a skin tag and burned off a growth on my finger.

As this was happening I imagined some dead mice dancing with glee. Now it's my turn to have surgical scissors and anesthetic applied to my flesh. The parallel was pretty strong since the skin tag was right near my beltline on the right side and that's where I had implanted the matrigel sponges in my mice. So when my doctor was merrily cutting away, it was thematically similar to the work I had done on my 13 mice on Monday. One difference though, I survived the procedure, the mice, sadly enough, did not.

In other medical news, now my doctor wants me to do to some echo thing and get my heart looked at. Damn doctors. I assure everyone that my heart is just fine. Doctors worry way too much. But just in case... I think I'll go and make sure it's okay.

Blades of Glory

I recorded Blades of Glory about two months ago but never watched it. I'm not a big fan of Will Ferrell comedies, you see. So, despite my having seen several good reviews of this movie, I let it sit undisturbed on my hard drive. That was a mistake.

It really is quite funny with nice performances by the aforementioned Will Ferrell as well as Jon Heder, William Fichtner (Invasion) and the adorable Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office). Had I known Fischer was in the movie, I'd have watched it immediately. Her cute little face almost makes The Office worth watching. (but not quite)

To date, my favorite Farrell movie is Stranger Than Fiction in which he absolutely nailed the character of Harold Crick, but here in Blades of Glory he brings to life a very interesting and larger than life character named Chazz Michael Michaels as a counterpunch to the squeaky clean, wholesome Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). Chazz is a figure skating sex addict with a lone wolf attitude, and tats to match. N…

Gosh darn it

I had another near miss today involving Craig's List.

Just before leaving work today at 4:40pm I checked on two types of items that I'm interested in, kayaks and hot tubs. Lo and behold, there was a perfect hot tub listed for $500 just a half hours drive from where I live. The ad had just been posted two hours before so I called the number
in the ad.

Lisa, the woman listing the tub, said that one other person had called but that she still had the tub so I'd best come and see it soon. I packed up my stuff and trotted off to the bus stop.

Unfortunately between waiting for the bus, riding to my car, hitting home for the money, and then getting out to Hillsborough an hour and a half had gone by and the tub was sold by the time I arrived. A half hour drive (each way!) wasted. Maybe next time...

There's one listed in Cary--about 45 minutes away from me--for just a little more money, $600. But that one is non-standard and that makes me nervous. It just looks a little too weird fo…

Dinner tonight

I got a late start tonight so dinner won't be ready until after 10pm but I'm planning on a roasted chicken and some mashed potatoes.

You can see the start of the process below:

Some of the herbs I'm using for the rub. I'm only using a few stalks, the rest of the rub will be rosemary, garlic, basil, white pepper and olive oil.

A little celery and carrots to keep the chicken from sticking too much to the bottom of the iron dish.

The chicken before I started molesting it. That's the rub next to it. Looks kinda nasty...

Here's me molesting the poor bird. Makes you feel kinda sorry for the chicken.

Ewwwwww! That rub is tasty but it looks awful.

All set to go into the oven. I used a recipe on that required 400 f. for 15 minutes uncovered and another hour covered. I hope that it works out okay...

Spuds! Bound for the ricer after they boil for a bit...

Can you say Photoshop?

Sure, we all take advertisements with a certain grain of salt. Their claims are often just too fantastic or unrealistic to believe.

But I really would like to believe this one, folks. I'm heading into my late 40s and thinking that I could look like this in my mid to late 60s would be wonderful.


But despite the statement near the bottom that claims "photo not enhanced" I really think that the answer to the ad's question should be "Heavily Photoshopped"

What do you think should have been the answer to the question "How does this 67 year old have the body of a 30 year-old?"


I feel very dirty today. Due to time constraints, I skipped taking a shower yesterday so I really needed one today. Bad timing, I'm afraid.

For some weird reason, the area I live in has frequent power outages. It's a very rare month when the power isn't out at least once, often there's several short ones in week. They usually don't last for long but today was an exception. I had just gotten in the shower when the lights went out. Being optimistic by nature ---anyone who knows me, realizes that's a joke--- I soaped up assuming the juice would be back within a few minutes. Nope. An hour later when I left for work the power was still out, dammit.

Anyway, since I have a well and my house is set up with continuous flow / low standing volume water heaters and such---there's virtually no water on hand. And since it takes electricity to get that water out of the well... in just a couple of minutes I was standing there wet and soapy hoping the water would start flowi…

It's a mouse!

I didn't feel like posting yesterday so here's just a picture of a mouse. Isn't she cute? I was weighing her (18.8 grams, in case you're curious) so as to know how much anesthetic to administer.

I didn't get as much done as I wanted on Saturday but I did get my lawn mowed. I worked on it for over 90 minutes late on Friday, after work, and finished up Saturday morning with a similar span of time. I usually take 3 days to mow the thing so it was nice--albeit very sweaty--to get it done in just two sessions despite the heat.

The only bad thing is that I won't get many bunny pictures for a while since they like the cover that longer grass provides.


It's been almost 25 years and that's a long time.

25 years since I last worked with lab animals, that is. Other than people, I mean.

When I went to grad school back when I was 24, I left a job where I did a lot of rodent work, mostly mice and rats but occasionally rabbits too. Since then all my research has been on human tissue and I prefer it that way.

Unfortunately my boss wants to have a mammalian model for our current work---up to now we'd been using chicken eggs for this---and so I'm working with mice again. Wheee.

This mouse is under anesthesia so it's not in any pain but they (I injected 13 mice in all) no doubt have some discomfort when they wake up a half hour or so later. A sub-cutaneous injection isn't really painful but it is kinda annoying. Sorry mice!

Indian Mounds

This past weekend I was up in Georgia and JLee decided that I needed some education in the ways of Indian Mounds.

There's a few over there on the left. They're nice pretty grass things. Pretty big too.

I don't know if you can see it, but the higher mound has a couple of people on the staircase, around 2/3 of the way up. That gives you some scale on the size.

You might also be able to tell from that picture that it was an overcast day with rain threatening. We did get lucky tho and it was sunny and hot the entire time we were there It did rain both before and after while we were driving so we were fortunate to have good weather for our time amongst the mounds.

Here's some of that educational stuff that I was being exposed to.

The mounds were quite a construction feat for a civilization that didn't have much in the way of engineering tools. Either the leaders were very charismatic, powerful, or the people doing the digging and building were very very bored.

That's a wh…


An acquaintance I made this morning...

"Click me", I wanna get bigger

Rain maker

Much of the southeast is in a multiple year drought. This is certainly the case where I live in eastern NC and where my parents live in western SC. However, oddly enough, anytime I visit my parents, it rains here.

I took this picture yesterday in the late afternoon. Sure doesn't look very drought-like now does it? In fact, it's rained all three days I've been here. Weird.

Now to be honest, on Friday and today the amount of rain was minimal, but it did rain. And on Saturday there was 0.38 inches according to the digital rain gauge on my parent's deck. That's a pretty decent shower. Still, Lake Hartwell is down something like 14 feet from the full water mark and there's a lot of docks around the lake that are not only stranded on dry land, but you can't even see water from some of them.

Wouldn't that stink? Not only does this limit the water recreation aspect for the homeowner but also there's a value situation. Homes on the lake go for 3 times what they…

Windy Morning

I hit the lake early this morning to do some paddling before the water became crowded with recreation boats and jet-skis.

It was a warm but very overcast morning. Windy too. Very good conditions if you wanted a good workout since battling the wind, as long as the waves aren't too high, is something I like to do.

At the furthest point I usually go, there's a sheltered cove that doubles as a sailboat marina. I found this gaggle of Canadian Geese scurrying about on the bank. You can't see it in the picture, but there was one fellow that mistakenly got separated and was up above all the rest. He seemed quite upset about it, but apparently not enough to fly down the 2 feet or so. I've noticed a lot of people are like that too. Not the flying part tho. Just the complaining but not doing anything about it part.

And speaking of following... as I left the cove I followed this young kid as he tacked between the floats that protected the inlet and bravely ventured out onto the windy…

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July and all that.

I watched some fireworks from down on the dock but we're too far from town for it to be all that great. Afterwards we watched some of the Boston Pops celebration. Boston sure does put on an impressive fireworks show. It lasted something like 25 minutes. Amazing stuff. One of the advantages of living in a big city, I guess. Personally I don't think that there's enough advantages to city living to get me to move tho--I still regard my decade in Atlanta with something akin to horror.

For some reason this tree stump reminded me of a spider.

You can't really get the full impact from this angle but there was too much wave action for me to get the angle I wanted. Since it's the 4th of July there were boats everywhere and kayaking was a constant adventure of bobbing in boat and sea-doo wake, it made staying in one spot to take a picture pretty much impossible.

Where's the sheep?

I had a few days of vacation this week and I was planning on visiting my parents. They're having their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. Unfortunately my boss decided at the last minute to switch my vacation days from before July 4th to after so I ended up working through Thursday.

So my new plan was to catch a nap after work then hit the road. Unfortunately my tendency towards insomnia has been hitting hard this past week. The last good night of sleep I had was last Thursday and tonight was no exception to this trend. I wanted to sleep 3 or 4 hours and I'm still awake 5 hours after I initially went to bed.

Aren't these sheep cute? That's a design from Threadless T-shirts. I sure do understand that sheep counting thing--not that it helps any.

The end result is a delay in departure. I have trouble doing the 15 minute drive home from work when I'm like this, driving a few hours on the Interstate would not be a good idea. It's weird. Laying in bed I can't sl…

Salty Pictures

On Monday I tried that Pasta Bolognese recipe I posted about a few days ago.

There's the recipe over on the left.

One thing for sure, when you make a dish like this, which takes 4 hours over medium heat, you really should have your A/C on. Next time, I'll turn it on 'cause I was sweating like a little piggie (was that an Alec Baldwin reference?).

It seemed at times that I was stewing myself. I can't imagine what it must be like in a commercial kitchen. Much as I like watching food prep, I'm very glad I don't do that for a living.

I followed Chef Burrell's directions (from her Food Network show) implicitly. As it turns out, perhaps too carefully. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I didn't have a few of the ingredients so there was some substituting but nothing drastic.

This is the ground up aromatic veggies in the pot. Yummy, huh?

I used one large carrot and a little of a second, most of one large Vidalia onion, 5 stalks of celery (it was kinda small), and…