Solstice eclipse family fun

Our family is odd.  Avert your eyes if the idea of a family joke is too harsh for your gentle retinas.

So, tonight came not only the Winter Solstice but additionally a lunar eclipse.  Astronomic fun.  Not enough fun for the family.

The responsible party will rename anonymous, but it was decided: Darling Daughter (DD) will be brought to believe the following:

  • the solstice and eclipse are tonight (true)
  • the eclipse is visible with the naked eye (true)
  • doing so is dangerous due to the excess of UV rays bouncing off the moon during the eclipse (false)
  • viewing the eclipse is made safer for the eyes by wearing sunglasses (false but funny).

A comically large cardboard box with a pinhole in it (to be worn on the head) was initially thought to to be the tease, but was eventually discarded for the more practicable sunglasses.

DD was initially very hesitant to believe, but the other four of us, wearing our sunglasses, proved too much even for her highly developed skepticism.  So, she happily donned her shades, and we all watched the lunar eclipse together.

At some point, a photograph was in order (we were in on it, that’s why we’re shadeless):

Live long, and prosper.

About 5 minutes after this we let her off the hook, but not before the pic.

Showing good sport, DD insisted I blog this as “It’s really funny.  Mean, but funny”.

Nobody loves you more, sweetie.  Thanks for playing along with us.

Think Fast! book gives interview

Yes, he’s my brother, the smart one. Here he gives an interview to GoRacing TV (new to me) about his book, and why you should definitely buy one for Christmas. Oaky, he didn’t say that, but it’d make an appreciated gift to an aspirng racer…

The interview starts at 1:10

goracingtv on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

The book can be ordered through the web site or through Amazon. (I get nothing from the book sales except satisfaction that my brother the Aerospace Genius has achieved his career dreams).

Diversifying

My wife said tonight “We need to diversify”.

I pointed out we maintain several calibers…

She didn’t answer.

Did I say something wrong?

Humbling Life Moment #4.7225K

So, I was going to get an MRI of my shoulder (no worries, minor problem).

This started with the expert placement of contrast into my shoulder under flouroscopy (and Conray tastes like magnesium). Yes, you can taste the contrast even though it’s injected elsewhere in the body. (Conray was so the radiologist knew where the gadolinium was going, for better delineation of the shoulder structures for the radiologist).

Then comes the MRI.  Never had one, but I’ve ordered several.  I’m wearing my very fashionable gown, lie down and the two nice techs start getting me ready.  I got some sort of contraption put over the shoulder that plugs into the table (pretty cool), get bolstered into place so I can’t wiggle, and some headphones playing classic rock.

They gave me a little black bulb ‘to squeeze if there’s a problem’.  I thought that was amusing.  All this happened out in the open, and life was good.

Then came the tunnel, and the first thing I thought of, looking at the fiberglass tunnel lining with two light strips embedded in it was HAL from 2001, which is weird.  Then I realized my heart rate was up, my hands and feet were sweating.

“Wow, this isn’t going to happen to me, is it?” was the higher-brain function; ‘get me the heck outta here’ was what my midbrain was yelling.  I’m a rational guy, so I can think my way through this.

Just by putting my chin on my chest I can clearly see I’m out of the tunnel from the knees down, I can see the control room windows, I could relatively easily wriggle out.  “Not. Having. It.” sayeth the midbrain, and by this time the lower functions have decided to side with the midbrain, now I’m starting to hyperventilate, a little, and the upper brain had a realization that’s never happened before: “You’re not going to reason yourself through this, and you’re going to have a full on panic attack if you don’t get out of this tunnel”.  Doesn’t matter I’ve never had one, if it’s imminent you know it.

That amusing little black squeeze bulb then got a touch of a workout.  Quicker than I would have expected “Yes?”  Surprisingly calmly I said “I need to get out of this tunnel Right Now”.  Not being slow, and having seen this a million times before (they said later) the tray of doom began moving me out of the tunnel.

When I got out I was shaky, hands and feet dehydrating me involuntarily, and the relief to be Out Of There was palpable.  I was effusively apologetic (I think I apologized to the tunnel and the door as well as both techs, several times).  They were very nice, said not only was I not the first, I wasn’t the first today.  One offered to stand at the bedside and talk to me during the procedure, but I was pretty sure I’d shot my chance for the day, and declined, apologized my way out the door, and went home.  Humiliated.  I’m a middle aged man, a doctor, I knew what this would be like, and it went almost as poorly as it possibly could.

I had no idea this was even possible for me.  I’ve worn all kinds of restrictive masks/headgear, been in several spots tighter than that, etc.  No reason to think my brain would stage a tunnel coup.

I’ll also say I now have more empathy for those who tell me they’re claustrophobic in the MRI tunnel (I have ordered sedation liberally before, and will continue to).  But, I always thought, in the back of my head, ‘what’s up with that?’, and now I now.  In spades.

So, I’m going to have to reschedule and repeat the thing, but this time I’m going to have some sedation.  It’s not for me, it’s for my midbrain.  Seems a little nervous about the tunnel of noise.

9 years later

On 9-11-2001, when the first tower was struck, I was dead asleep, comfortably. I was halfway through the second month in my new job, right out of residency. I’d worked the 7p-7a on Sept 10th, and it was just another day.

My wife woke me up, as when she’d gotten home from the school run she’d turned on the TV and heard about the first plane. “A plane has hit one of the World Trade Center towers, you need to see this” is what I recall her saying, and even though I was about 45 minutes into sleep I thought ‘it has to be a light plane, bad weather, somebody trying to run VFR’, etc. But, I got up.

That’s why I was watching TV when the second plane hit the second tower. It wasn’t a mistake.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I thought about myself briefly. I was still in the Inactive Reserve then and had joked, until that moment, that “it’d take an Act of Congress to bring me back to active duty”, and I immediately realized Congress was going to be ready to do a lot of things in response to this attack.

And then, I had exactly the same response as everyone else who didn’t lose a loved one: shock, anger, disbelief.  Amusement at the line of people at the gas station in Midland, and wondering what the future would bring.  Sadness a the loss of life in the planes, the first responders, in the buildings.  Senseless loss and death brought to us by barbarians who hate us.

I’m quite disappointed in the TSA security theater when I fly today, unhappy that the `100% bag matching’ doesn’t work, and sad that we’re all inured to the realization this is the best our government can do, or has the will to do.

Prayers for the dead, and those who lost.  Respect and Love for those who defend us, and hope we’ve learned enough to prevent a recurrence.

…and that’s when I shot wine from my nose…

I was having my occasional glass of red wine with dinner (it’s AMA approved, and possibly cardioprotective, plus, I like it), having a conversation with my grandson, who’s 10ish.  (I don’t now his exact age; I’m not one of Those grandparents, and to be fair, I wasn’t one of those parents, either).

Just to have some fun with him, because I figured he’d think it was silly, I decided to start spelling some words when chatting with my wife at the table.  As in “I think if I s p e l l some words h e won’t be a b l e to understand what w e are saying”.

“I can’t keep up, you spell too fast” was not the response I thought I’d get and …see title.

Fun having family visit.  I need to help him with his spelling, though.

I’ve made it here

From the Triage nurses: I’ve made it.

More and more patients present themselves at triage, and when asked “Who’s your regular doctor”, they say “GruntDoc”.  Nice to be noticed, I suppose…sorta flattering, and yet…

We have a doc in the group who’s been practicing EM in the county for about 30 years, and roughly half the county identifies him as their doc.  I’ll never catch him, thank goodness.

So, it’s taken me 8 years, but I’m There.

Wow, 8 years, this week.  I hadn’t realized it until I typed that out.

The Move from Midland (nice place, tough job), the Unsettled period, the Money Pit (a work in progress), youngest through and out of grade school and a year of college, eldest married off and a second grandchild, middle through the Rough Patch of his own and now through Law School, several iterations of “pent-up consumerism”, and some cruises.  Another college degree for me.  Not last my lovely wife who puts up with me through it all.

Also, the best EM job on Earth, bar none.  Busy, well supported, excellent colleagues and above-average consultants (and totally awesome nurses, techs, secretaries, etc), I totally lucked out on landing this job.  I had no idea how good it would be, and hope to work here until I’m tired of it, and not they’re tired of me.

Life is Really Good.  Seriously Good.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kudos to Bob

My son Bob just called to tell me he’s finished with Law School!  He took his final final today, and the academic weight is off him (and he sounds more energized than he has in months).

He had an abortive start at law school, which I mention only to praise him for his perseverance and hard work, and that stubborn, quiet ambition of his.

Now to study for the Bar exam (he’s in Florida, and will take it there), in late July, then off to work.  Setting him apart from most of his new-grad peers, he has an actual job offer, which is terrific!  (I half-jokingly asked once if he was going to need to move back into the basement, and he quipped ‘Then I’d literally be in-house Counsel”, which was clever).

Good for you, Bob, your Mom and I are terrifically proud of you.

Another homeowner friend: Power Washer

The Happy Hospitalist has been doing some home improvement, and good for him!  Motivated to post by him, here’s some of my insight.  (This is the second in a series: go get a wet vac first).

I spent some of today working with one of my favorite homeowner tools, my Karcher power washer, which I bought a few years ago at Costco (at the behest of my brother in law, who assurred me I’d like it)(he was right).  I’ve rented a gas pressure washer, but didn’t want to have to worry about gas in the one I owned.  Also, there may be a better brand, but I’m perfectly happy with this one.

I use it yearly to clean my vinyl and aluminum siding, and to clean tree/bird residue from the porch, dirt from the drive/sidewalks, etc.  It’s satisfying, productive, and keeps me off the internet.  Win win.

Now, I’d like to tell you about your choice of accessories when you get any power washer: a wet suit or a set of extension wands.

Picture this: you’re washing eaves, things are going well, and cold, dirty water is raining down on you (which I did, before the extensions).  Or, you can attach the extension wand, and clean from the relative dryness of several feet away, and not get the dirty rain. The wands also allow you to clean higher without getting on a ladder (which I don’t like, especially with water in use).

Today, the front and dirty side of the house.  In a week or so, out comes the man lift, and the rest of the house.

Don’t forget the wet suit.

Think Fast: The Racer’s Why-To Guide To Winning

My brother, the Aerospace Genius, has written a book!

Here’s just part of the description from his web site:

Think Fast is not about the technology, but about WHY TO use some technologies and avoid others in your quest to WIN races. Think Fast can help any race car driver or race engineer tackle the big challenges and cross the finish line FIRST.
Think Fast is a professional racing industry insider’s detailed description of his unique process that makes racing drivers and race cars faster and work together more effectively. Both driver and car development techniques are covered, including very cost effective approaches to problems faced by every motorsports competitor.

ThinkFastBook

So, if you’re in the market for a how-to go-fast book, here’s the one I recommend (nepotism works).

Available on Amazon.com!

Perks of being a commenter who lives close?

I’ll buy you dinner*!

Jim in Plano has been a commenter here nearly since the beginning, and I finally got a reason to be in his area of the DFW Metroplex, so we set up a dinner out.

(Picture removed at my wifes’ ‘request’: said it was silly to post a pic with food hanging out of my mouth).

He and his wife are nice folks, pleasant, interesting and funny!  He did about 27 years in the Air Force, and has at least that many stories, and tells them well (he should blog).

Anyway, a good time was had by all, and we’ll get together again someday.

*Not an actual offer.

WD-40 may have screwed up here

Look at the picture of the new WD-40 can. It has a new pivoting gadget that combines spray or straw use without any plugging in, trying to find the little orifice with a stiff red piece of plastic, etc.

As an engineering piece ( and without having used it ) it looks terrific.

But, I usually buy a new can shortly after I lose the straw. How will their sales do with this unlosable straw gadget?

Happy Twentieth Anniversary, Honey

I love you.  I always will.

Wedding

Thanks for marrying me, and taking me away from all that.

Happy 45, Brother Aerospace Genius

Yeah, the 70′s were like this. Vests, awesome belts, and a smile into the great unknown.

I need another white belt...

He’s the smart one (math is hard), I’m the pretty one. (Give me that, otherwise I have nothing…)

Really, Happy Birthday!

You miss it when it goes

I like living on the edge of built-up civilization, but it means our little development has one electric line coming in.

Today it wanted some time off, fortunately only 4 hours. Didn’t get that cold inside, but having an all electric house has some drawbacks in that circumstance.

My wife figured out the electric-less coffee, thankfully.