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Friday, July 29, 2005

You eat chemical...

or "A Conversation with Mr Lee"

I had to go to the hospital yesterday to give my routine bi-monthly blood sample and just after I left my car broke down not 2 blocks from the hospital. I quickly pulled into a parking lot near a Subway shop and called the repair shop that I have done business with before. They gave me the number of a tow truck driver that they normally use, responsible and inexpensive was how they described him, so I ordered some food and called Mr Lee on my cell phone and gave him directions on how to find me and my broke down Buick. He had a thick Vietnamese accent but spoke english fairly well.

Mr Lee eventually arrived, a short stocky man maybe 50 ish, fat faced, with very squinty eyes. He loaded up my car onto the flatbed and we commented to each other about the weather and the heat and such, just small talk. I climbed in the cab and we started on the 40 minute trip to the repair shop near my home and he was in a very talkative mood. He eventually noticed the bandage around my arm and asked what was wrong, I told him briefly about my liver transplant and that I had to go frequently for blood tests, and that was all he needed to launch into his description of what was wrong with people today.

Mr Lee "I have problem too, my doctor say I have high blood pressure, and they no want me to drink beer, but I tell him no, I will drink beer anyway, If I can't have the beer, then that's no living, I don't care." he said. "I drink the beer."

"I work 10 hour day, I go home, I want drink beer, I don't drink the whiskey or the cognac or the vodka, just a beer... well sometimes a few beer , you know?" "If I can't have the beer then who wants to live without the beer."

"My family try to tell me, no beer! But I drink the beer anyway, sometimes I even drink it in morning, sometimes at lunch. I like the beer." he continued.

So far I have just been agreeing with him, I mean, who am I to tell him that drinking beer is wrong, I like beer myself. He fell silent for a few minutes and I could see that he was thinking... and then...

"The problem for all people is the chemical, everything you eat, every air you breath is chemical, all people are sick from chemical. There is just too much chemical."

"I have a cousin in Mississippi that have big chicken farm and they give the chicken chemical, the baby chicken is full grown after only 4 months from the chemical they give it. You eat the chicken... you eat chemical." He went on.

"That is the problem for everyone, too much chemical. The chemical make you sick, everyone is sick from the chemical." Then he was silent again for a couple of minutes.

Then suddenly he bursts out with "you eat cow, you eat chemical!" Like it was a sudden revelation. I laughed to myself and agreed with a nod and a smile. Mr Lee was being very entertaining and I was really enjoying hearing what he had to say.

Then he added "You eat bread, you eat chemical, you watch old movie with Moses and they bake the bread and in two days the bread is no good and they have to bake more. But they bake it without the chemical! Now you go buy Bunny Bread and it last two weeks! Too much chemical, you cannot eat anything without the chemical inside."

He then goes on to describe how he has his own small vegetable garden at his house and he doesn't use any chemicals to make it grow. And that he loves to drink his beer! No one can make him stop drinking the beer, he proclaimed loudly. The conversation slowly turned toward human mortality and the risk of dying in all kinds of situations.

I told him about the 2 times I came fairly close to being blown up in terrorist attacks in Scotland and England and then he told me about the time when he was driving a tow truck in San Francisco in 1989 and that he was on the very freeway that collapsed in the big earthquake that year. He was stranded on one of the decks and had to wait for rescue and narrowly missed being crushed by broken sections of the highway that had pancaked down on to lower levels. As we pulled up to the repair shop,we congratulated each other on being survivors.

I paid the $55 towing fee and we parted ways, I felt that I had gotten a good deal more for my money than just having my car towed. Talking to Mr Lee was definitely the high point of my day I thought, as I waved him goodbye.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

dancin' with gators

Sorry I haven't been around the past few days, I haven't felt well at all, but I think I'll be ok (a post at the new blog explains). I thought it would be fun to rerun one of my favorite old posts, while I try to catch up on blog template back orders... Enjoy!

Take six cajuns (male/female) a fast boat, some waterskis and a rope and douse liberally with beer and booze and what have you got? A buncha crazeez that will do almost anything! One of our favorite pastimes was cruisin' out in a boat and finding an area where there were several alligators laying in the water near the bank. They were not hard to find at all, as they are quite plentiful. I lived in a small town named Theriot on Bayou du'Large, and I had a small house right on the waterway with about 100ft of waterfront. It had a really great view of the Intracoastal Inland Waterway and was basically slap in the middle of the swamps.

The way we played dancin' with gators was to try to hit a gator in the head with your ski or skis without falling. Yes, it does take quite a bit of nerve to purposely antagonize alligators, and be right there in the water with said gator, thats where the alcohol comes in. Actually hitting one was quite difficult because they can move or submerge a lot faster than you might think and they were really just as afraid of you as people are afraid of them. The big exception is during the time when female gators are guarding a nest of eggs, then you better be prepared to be chased or attacked. And you definitely did not want to step on one in the middle of a moonless night while out in the swamp, frog hunting, but that's a whole nother story.

The trick was to have someone in the boat spot ahead for a target and point it out to you while you were being towed. The driver of the boat would then swing around in a u-turn so you could swing way out at very high speed and come around fast enough that the gator was taken totally by surprise. As I said this was very difficult because they are quite wary of human presence but not so much afraid of boats because they pass constantly. What they are not used to however, is a crazee cajun with sticks on his feet, swinging in for a kill at 50+ mph! Doing this was some of the best fun I have ever had. I never hit one myself although I tried many, many
times. I can only recall one good hit and that was by a buddy named Badeaux (bad-o) who crashed so hard in to the head of one that it made him flip over because his ski came to a dead stop and he kept going! He was now in the water with one VERY angry gator and he scrambled up on to the bank and ran like a mad dog. The gator meanwhile was actually scared as hell and took off up the bank and disappeared in to the swamp.

What a day that was, we nicknamed Badeaux "gator bait" and everyone called him that for years and probably still do. I also had a pet gator for a while. He would swim by the house almost everday and beg for handouts, and we would usually toss him a hotdog or anything else we might throwout of the fridge. We named him "Jaws" of course but he was fairly small and still quite young maybe 4 ft long or so. I have lived in some really cool places and Theriot brings back some really fun memories that I will have to tell you about in the future. It's only about 1 month away till Mardi Gras here in N.O. and I will be doing a lot of stuff on that topic including some live stuff from the scene! Stay Tuned!
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bike Shorts!

I know that with the Tour de France going on there is one big question that is on everyone's mind, what is the deal with those skin tight bicycle shorts those guys wear. I did some digging around the net and finally found one part of the answer.... click here.

That sure explains a lot, doesn't it? =)

Hope you're all having a rockin' weekend!!!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Stuff!!

I have two new blogs up and running that I will be writing to, the first one is here. It will be used as a sort of tech support and help forum for my Blogs Gone Wild! site. I'll be able to write some tech stuff about blogging in general and some how-to articles on a variety of subjects pertaining to blogging overall. A lot of peeps email me for advice on problems they have trying to make things work and I figure that it would be a big plus to make it available to others to read. I'm thinking maybe other people would be interested in seeing some of the things that I talk about on those subjects. Also feel free to ask me questions over there in the comments if you're having problems, I'll try to answer as best as I can!! All are welcome of course, you don't have to be a template customer, I try to help anyone that has problems!

I also have a shitload of new stuff on Blogs Gone Wild!, lots of new one of a kind, ready made templates if anyone is template shopping!! I wouldn't mind getting some feedback on my designs over at the new blog either, so feel free to stop in and hook me up!! woohoo!!

The other blog is going to be for my more personal stuff that I can't post here because of the fact that most of my family knows about this blog. I feel I need another outlet for a lot of things that I really don't want my family to read, too personal! I'll also be using it to update on my health/medical condition post liver transplant and to be able to write about my problems with the upcoming chemotherapy. A cool thing about this one is that I have theme switcher set up on it and you can choose from 4 totally different appearances! The switch buttons are just below my name in the sidebar over there.

You are all welcome to visit and chat with me there but you will need to email me for the url, I don't plan on linking to it from this blog. So just shoot me an email to seven and I'll send the address!! Come visit me!! weee!!!!!
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Video Professor Top 10 ~ Updated!

Top 10 things I 'll bet you didn't know about the Video Professor!

  1. He used to be president of the Hair Club for Men! I did not know that!
  2. He's smart! Likens using his products to be as simple as using the controls on a VCR!
  3. He's Clever! He is so clever that he buries a $69.99 a month subscription into the fine print for anything you order!
  4. He's sneaky! He will charge you for products long before you receive them even if you never explicitly ordered them!
  5. He's witty! He says things like "Buy my product"!
  6. He's generous! Gives away lots of free stuff, for only $69.99 a month! Plus shipping and handling.
  7. He's easy to deal with! It only takes an average of 4 phone calls and threats of reports to his local BBB before he will cheerfully refund the overcharges on your account!
  8. He's prompt! Your order will arrive on the same day that your 10 day trial period expires!
  9. He's slick! Just return ONE cd from the set to avoid being charged, keep the rest! Who the fuck wants a broken set???
  10. He's a top notch scam artist and an asshole that will stop at nothing to trick you out of your hard earned money by any means possible! Gotta love him!

Update - Since I wrote this post I decided to do a bit of looking around, here's a site that explains a lot more about his deceptive sales technique Video Professor Scam.

Who in their right mind would willingly sign up for a freekin' $69.99 a month subscription for PC lessons on a CD? Nobody! That's why they have it buried in the fine print, and to top it off they don't even give you the option of choosing which one they will send next! Every 5 weeks they will send a new one, at random apparently, and charge you for it before it arrives and then they will claim that you waited too long to return it even though you didn't even get it by the time the 10 day trial period is over WTF???

I have to admit though that the lessons are not all that bad but they run off of the CD itself, not installed on your hard drive, so everytime you want to go forward or back a page or 2 (using the stupid VCR like controls) you have to wait while your CD drive churns to refind the page you were looking at just a minute ago, what a pain in the ass!

I did finally get my money refunded... after they held it another nearly 3 weeks before it showed up in my account.


Monday, July 18, 2005

It's baaaack!

I knew things were going way too smoothly, I swear I could feel it in the air that something bad was coming.I passed the one year mark with my transplant just a week ago and what do I get? A phone call from the transplant unit, that's what! I go in to the hospital every 2 weeks and give them a blood sample so they can keep tabs on my condition and there have been a few minor ups and downs with my overall condition but nothing serious, all fairly routine stuff. Occasionally they have thrown in an extra test to see what's up with my hepatitis c (which is what slowly destroyed my liver) and up till now they have told me that it appeared to be dormant and that everything is fine.

On Friday afternoon that phone call from my doctors office shattered my euphoria into a million tiny pieces. It appears that the hep c is charging back and now has the potential to do some serious damage to the new liver. Much faster acting than before because my immune system was constantly fighting it thru the years, slowing it's progress to a mere crawl. Official estimates are that it took 20+ years to destroy the old liver, I contracted it years before there was even a test to detect it! But now the very thing that keeps the new liver alive, my immune suppression drugs, will hold the door wide open to attack from the hepatitis because I have no internal defense working in my favor.

Remember a few posts back that I was afraid that my insurance changes wouldn't cover the $500 a month for my imune suppression drugs? Hahaha, that's nothing! The new drug therapy they want to place me on to try and cure the hepatitis will cost a staggering $2,000 a month on top of the other drug costs! Holy shit storm Batman!! Thats a lot of cash that I just don't have! WTF!! My only hope is to apply for Medicaid, apparently, or some other form of patient aid.

Can it get worse?? Don't be silly, of course it can! The drug therapy lasts for 6 months of injections and oral medication that are pretty much guaranteed to make you feel as sick as someone on chemotherapy for cancer. Because that's basically what it is, chemotherapy. Yes, all the not fun stuff that goes with chemo, and many of you know exactly what that is like and I've personally watched it in action up close and very personal, my second wife died from breast cancer. And my father last year went thru it and is now back to decent health. That was good news!

And then we come to the disclaimer, and another reminder that things could always get even worse. Huh? Worse you say? Yeah, well remember a couple of paragraphs back where I used the word try? Well, it seems that the therapy to cure hep c has a track record of best case 70% cure rate, not great odds but what choice do I have? None! Thats what! All I can do is go on with my bad self and do whatever is needed to kick this shit's ass!! Hell yeah! I might be down but I ain't out yet! If I gotta go, it will be kicking and screaming all the way, woohoo!
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rant Mode... ON

I already know that there are way too many idiots on the streets that have no clue on how the hell they are supposed to drive a car, but the storm we experienced last week (Cindy) drove it home even deeper. You would think that everyone should know (and it makes logical sense) that if you approach an intersection where there is normally a traffic light and it is malfunctioning for whatever reason, and especially if the lights are OFF that you treat it like a 4 way stop. Nobody has the right of way, all vehicles are required to stop and then take turns crossing the intersection, giving first right of way to the person in the intersection to your right. Just like a freekin' 4 way stop sign!! These assholes weren't even slowing down, while others stopped. They blew right thru the intersection like it was nothing! WTF is wrong with people?? If you kill someone on the highway it's called MANSLAUGTER dammit. It's not like a damn fender bender where your insurance company pays the damages and everyone goes home. They will put your sorry ass in jail for killing another person thru your negligence. And don't forget it!!

Disturbing News

Probably everyone has heard by now that they plan on launching the shuttle again following a 2 year hiatus to fix all the problems that caused the Challenger to explode and scatter debris across several states, killing everyone onboard. What a mess and the poor astronauts didn't have a chance. Looking at this mornings paper there is a huge front page article with photos and arrows showing all the cool improvements they did to insure that Challenger can not reoccur. I was impressed until I noticed a small footnote to the article that basically said " The shuttle launch schedule suffered a minor setback when a piece of window trim fell off and damaged several heat tiles".

Uhmmm HELLO... how the FUCK does a piece of window trim just "fall" off the worlds most expensive machine. I see cars and trucks going down the road all day long and I don't see any window trim flying off of them. NASA, give General Motors a phone call already or better yet give ME a call and I'll come over with my Black & Decker cordless and a couple of screws from ACE Hardware and patch that bitch right up! In, fact I think I'll just form a new company and call it Se7ens Super Duper Shuttle Body and Paint Repair!

Click image!!!

I don't think $50,000 per window would be asking too much, what do you guys think?
Monday, July 11, 2005

Still Ticking

I've got this post to write and it's been on my mind heavily for the past few days, but I'm not really sure exactly what it is that I want to say or how to say it. You see, today is my one year anniversary of my liver transplant, a very special day for me, as I'm sure you can all imagine. Pretty amazing really that I am still alive at all when I actually was expecting to die well over a year ago. I was recently shown several pictures of what I looked like when I was probably near the lowest point of my health. I was quite shocked by what I saw, my face was horribly sunken, skeleton like, with my skin very dark from the poisons flowing thru my veins via a dead liver and a far away look in my eyes from being nearly totally incoherent of my surroundings.

I won't post those pictures, they are too horrible to look upon, they make me gasp when I see them and there is no way that I could allow anyone else to see them outside of my close family. And then I look at myself in the mirror today, one year later, my health has nearly fully returned and I look like I once did. I'm strong and vital and capable once again, with only several minor limitations on doing the things that I loved doing for so many years before. But, I still cannot return to my former trade of being a mechanical technician for fear of minor injuries that could easily lead to infections because my immune system is suppressed with life giving drugs. I still love repairing things and I probably always will, but I have now taken to fixing things that are far less dangerous.

Most of you by now know that I am currently a student for a webmasters certification course, this is something I really enjoy doing and I hope to make a decent living at it in the near future. Building blog templates is making very little money, but, at this time it is my only income besides social security disability checks that I receive monthly, I can't wait though till I'm able to make enough money from my new chosen profession to be released from the monthly dole. Hopefully, I can get a decent job doing commercial web design, although I love doing the blog templates they do not pay near enough money yet to make any kind of a living at doing them. The blog work though, is and has been an excellent learning experience for me, thanks very much to everyone that has employed me to do their templates in the past 6 months!!

Of course, all of you are very special to me, I started this blog in November of 2004 when I was still barely able to crawl out of bed and turn on a computer, I was still very ill, much less able to sit upright and type and read and blog. I stumbled upon blogging quite by accident, having heard a celebrity on TV discussing "blogging" and I had no idea what the word meant. A Google search quickly led me to Blogger and I found all of these wonderful diaries, your own free website!! The rest is, well, history! Yes, I was a total novice just as we all were at one time, I used to do quite a bit of website and html work many years ago before my extreme illness but most was long forgotten since. It has been a struggle to relearn what I once knew fairly well, and back then no one even used css in websites yet, it was just barely emerging.

I guess what I'm trying to say is thanks to all of you for being so kind and thoughtful and coming here to read my silly shit and helping me to regain my mental and physical health by just being yourselves and leaving so many wonderful comments. And taking the time out from your daily grind to make me feel wanted and useful, you all have no idea what it's meant to me during my recovery. Of course, I have met a few assholes along the way that have nothing better to do than try to spoil other peoples fun and sometimes they were and still can be the most fun to deal with! Hell yes!! hehe

One thing that has amazed me that I haven't told you all about was the fact that the church my mother goes to has been saying prayers for me for the past couple of years every Sunday. I'm not a church going person at all, I was raised Roman Catholic but I turned my back on organized religion when I was very young for personal reasons, it's not so much that I don't believe, it's more along the lines that I do not and can not believe as they do. To be very general about my religious beliefs, I'll just say that I have my own religion and I am very thankful for everything in my life, I certainly have no reason to complain! However, they recently decided that they needed a new website and my mother mentioned one day that they were seeking volunteers to create it.

I volunteered immediately and took the project headon to show my appreciation for their concern and well wishes, thoughts and prayers. I didn't realize at the moment just how much work it would involve but I am very glad that I did it and I understand that they love the site very much and appreciate all of my hard work. Anyone interested in seeing it, please go to: St Martha Church. It's over 20 pages strong with lots of photos and links, a very comprehensive site and I'm very proud of it! Go take a look if you would! There are still a few pages under construction but only because they have not given me the information needed to do them.

Along those lines, I've made some very minor changes to my Blogs Gone Wild! site and completed a couple of new templates with even more in the works! (forgive me for linking to it so much, every time I do so it helps to raise it's standings in the search engines, LOL) One is called A Veracious Blog, written by a guy from Texas! I used an image of an actual Texas lighthouse to make the background from, go give him a shout if you would. The other is called Fancy Footwork, written by one cool lady who is a bigtime pet lover, you can see images of all of her pets in the header itself. I have a couple more that I'm currently working on and I love it when my creative juices are flowing, I just sometimes wish I could get some of my "other" juices flowing more frequently LOL!!!

So, to sum it all up, Happy 1st Liverversary to ME!!!! WOOHOO!! damn, I feel older than one years old!! Hugs and kisses!!!
Friday, July 08, 2005

After the Storm

What fun! I swear I was gonna die without MY internet. I hate when that happens! But, it's all pretty much back to normal, the streets are cleared, the power is up and I'm back online. Whew! And now we got Dennis the Menace curving up the Gulf, I hope that sucker dies before he gets here, but history says that won't happen. I did get to do some extra study for my classes though which was kinda cool after we got the generator up and running. I just sat outside on the patio and soaked up a bit of solar radiation and read and bird watched. Here's a view to the right of where I was sitting.

Notice the generator, one noisy ass fucker! That big oak tree is near the center of the backyard and it's freekin' huge, check out the view of the front of the house from across the street, the tree towers over the back of the house! The house is two stories too, which is hard to tell from this perspective.

Damn, if that thing should ever fall over onto the house, holy shit!! Two things about that tree, it's chock full of birds and squirrels that can be very entertaining to watch whenever you're in the mood, and it's chock full of birds and squirrels that can annoy the fuck out of you when you are trying to get some sleep. Bastards!! At 6 am this morning I could hear several birds raising all kinds of hell, and especially that loud m'ther fucking crow cawing it's ass off right outside my goddamn window.

I went downstairs and grabbed the pellet gun and snuck around the side of the house, that fuckin' crow MUST die! But, the moment I peeked around the edge of the house that bastard flew away, he must have seen me. I looked up and saw several smaller birds though, dive bombing something in the tree. It was hard to see at first but I finally made out what it was. It was a huge owl! Just sitting there, right outside my upstairs bedroom window and the local bird cops were trying to chase his ass off. Now I had to go back inside and change weapons, the pellet gun was no good to use on an owl, so I loaded up my trusty new Kodak and took a couple shots at him.

It was still kind of dark outside so I had to lighten up the picture quite a bit so that you can see him. I stood there and watched him get repeatedly pecked by several smaller birds for a few minutes until they finally chased him off. That's when I realized just how big he was, his wingspan looked like nearly 3 ft! That's a big ass bird! Are owls good eating? hmmmm, I wonder...

Just kidding!! LOL (cajun style maybe?) hehe
Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cindy Kicked Our Asses!!

Tropical storm Cindy that is. Nasty ass storm here last night, raining like crazy and winds howling up to 75mph, blew shit all over the damn place. Of course the freekin' power is off and I have no 'net connection. Writing this from a computer cafe nearby, only $2 bucks an hour, not bad!. Set up a generator this morning but can't run a PC off of it, no line conditioner to smooth out the power, but at least the fridge and a few lights are working, yay! And we have another major storm headed our way that will likely become a full fledged hurricane, oh boy. I can't wait!! (insert sarcastic look here).

Anyway, just thought I would log on and say hey and that I hope i'll be up and running real soon or I'm gonna have a full-on conniption fit, LOL. I have some blog work in progress that will have to wait, I have no choice but to wait till I'm back online because I don't have access to my files. =(

Hope you guys day is going better than mine!!
Monday, July 04, 2005

Yay for Independence day!!

I hope everyone has a great time today! I know I will, even though my plans don't involve actually going anywhere special. I think I'll just kick back, and think about and hopefully appreciate even more what the founders of our great country have done for us.

When you think about it, those guys were quite some badass mofo's to have stood up to the most powerful nation on earth at the time, Great Britain, and come out on top. And they were wearing sissy looking powdered wigs when they did it! They had the balls and the courage and the brains to pull it off, knowing full well what could happen to them and their families if things had gone down differently. And then to top it off, came together and signed our Declaration of Independence to thumb their collective noses at the very people that had been pushing them around for so long. Real heroes!! Don't forget to raise a toast to them when you have that glass of alcohol you will likely drink today! Hell yeah!

With that being said, there are still many people that do not enjoy the same freedoms that we enjoy and there were many struggles throughout the years since the Declaration that have improved on what they had done. My friend Inanna over at Anything Goes had plenty to say on the subject and says it very well!

Have a safe and happy holiday!!