Archive for June, 2007

Somebody finally gets it!

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Today I purchased a Vtech multiple handset cordless phone system. I am plugging this product not because of a stellar price or features as I haven’t even used it yet. I am celebrating packaging!

Yes, packaging. Are you as sick as I am of the fused plastic bubble packages which require a band saw to open? The ones that assuming you manage to slice them open with your Dremel tool, tin snips or jack hammer form edges so sharp and threatening that you’re afraid to reach inside for your well earned reward?

Well thank-you Vtech for packaging your phones in a fully recyclable cardboard and plastic package that required no tools OF ANY KIND to open and access your product. The base and the handsets were beautifully displayed in any easy to examine in the store.

A couple of criticisms, however, first the package is much larger than it really needs to be which uses more material than absolutely necessary, but its hard to see that electronic manufacturers will choose to NOT package their products in flashy display packages. The other con is that even though the package declares itself to be fully recyclable, the plastic pieces are not labeled with the standard three-arrow recycling logo to identify the material for proper disposal.

Still, serious points for NOT using welded bubble-plastic of death.

Remembering is important.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

For anyone who checked the blog today the picture of the day was this one:

Alex at Jack's Canyon

This is a picture of a friend of mine, Alex Pendleton, looking over Jack’s Canyon in Arizona. Alex was amongst a group of friends who I climbed with during our time living in Tucson. The picture is from one of the climbing/camping weekend outings. This image is especially poignant because it’s the one that sticks in my head when I think of Alex. He died in a climbing accident six months later, in February 2003. He was 28.

I include the link for completeness, and not for morbidity. If you are a climber, or know someone who is, I encourage you to have them read the article in its entirety. Beyond the obvious lesson that climbing is dangerous and should be approached with caution and training, one must know what to do in case the unthinkable accident occurs. In this case, my friend Tom was forced to rescue himself from belay on a multi-pitch climb. Had it been Tom leading and I was on belay, I’m certain that I would not have done so well.

Images such as this one are worth more than the oft allocated 1000 words because the feelings and memories that they bring to the surface cannot so easily be stated. Mere words fall short of expressing the experiences that people share in even the briefest of encounters. I knew Alex for only a short time prior to the accident, but he became a staple of the Thursday nights at the gym, and the camping trips. He worked as an executive chef at one of a chain of local high class restaurants in Tucson where it was always special to be able to say hi to the chef when dining at “his” restaurant.

By no means was he my closest friend during my time in Tucson, but he was a part of my life like any other person or place that is simply there at the expected place in your daily life. Like a landmark in your neighborhood that you only really come to miss when it is gone. Yes, that’s close to the right feeling. Trips to the rock gym or outings just weren’t the same when he wasn’t there. The absence so much more internalized than the previous weekly interactions. How much in our life do we take for granted in this way? Perhaps more than any of us would care to admit.

Once again I say goodbye Alex. We will all miss you.

Surgery images and movie

Friday, June 8th, 2007

As promised, I have acquired various images and video related to the surgery I had back in the beginning of May. These are now available in the Gallery. Thanks again to Dr. David Wormuth both for performing the procedure and for providing us these fantastic images of the surgery. Only the image of the bleb (previously in this blog) and the x-rays are actually of me. The rest of the images are of other non-disclosed and therefore anonymous patients. I’m still trying to acquire a copy of the “before” x-ray which is pretty dramatic.

The QuickTime video [23 MB] in particular is fascinating, although the portion showing the pleurodesis is not for the faint of heart. That said, if you only cringe mildly during the gratuitous zoom shots on CSI, you’ll probably be ok.


Some of the images in this gallery are graphic and not suitable for all viewers. You have been warned.

I have a strong will and / or stomach*, take me to the images!
Chest X-Ray

* WILL SAVE – 2. If fails, roll against CON + 2.

Not gonna do it.

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Have you ever found yourself surfing the web when your research (play time?) is interrupted by some sort of sorry registration that requires you to fill in a valid email address to continue? This happens to me all the time, and I hate it. This goes for video game patches and other online support services where they’re trying to send you ads and other junk.
Anyhow, I found the Mailinator which seems to satisfy my needs for this sort of thing most of the time. Most sites need you to receive an email so that you can ‘validate’ the address before continuing. Mailinator is interesting because it requires no registration (which would be sort-of self defeating), and allows anybody to receive email at any username they wish. The consequence of this is that the email is completely public, so I’d be careful what you send there. Theoretically, all of the messages received are obliterated in a few hours, but there is a school of thought where EVERYTHING is permanent on the Internet, so you’re at your own risk.
Try it out if you wish:

As a bit of a meta-experiment, it will be interesting to note how many folks are able to observe other people’s test messages via this service.

R2 got shafted

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

So K and I were looking at these marvelous Star Wars stamps, commenting on just how gigantically tall the C-3PO stamp is (2.5 inches) when we realized… how is it that Threepio gets his own stamp and R2 is relegated to being a prop for Princess Leia? Queen Ami-bawla gets her own freaking stamp which I could do without but the rest I can’t really argue with.

On the other hand R2 has been impersonated by hundreds of post office boxes nationwide, so perhaps he got his share of attention.

Nathan bigger than ever…

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

As of Nathan’s 2 week (11 day technically) checkup he has regained his birth weight and then some (up to 9#10oz). The Dr says he’s doing great. Next stop… two month checkup.


Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

This was the sound I heard just after I returned home late this morning (about 11:30AM). I had run out to pick up some Star Wars stamps for our birth announcements. I came in through the garage and was just closing the door when (as the title says) I heard: “Thunk-WHHHOOOOOSSSSHHHH!!” come from upstairs, something like the sound you get when you suddenly release the tub drain… except the rush of water seemed to be under pressure and kept going strong. Afraid that perhaps K has fallen in the shower (she had not), I shouted out and quickly ran upstairs.
I got to the top of the stairs and noticed the running water sound seemed to be coming from the hall bathroom (maybe K is in the tub?). I quickly looked in the tub… nothing… except for water gurgling out around the water control knob (we have one of those single knob shower controls) and from… get this… around the OUTSIDE of the tub faucet. “Oooh,” I thought, “that can’t be good.” So skipping most of the stairs on the way down, I sprinted to the basement.

Where did the other baby come from?

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Last night I drifted awake in the middle of the night confused. I was lying on my back, and Nathan was snuggled in under my left arm up against my chest. This concerned me, because we’ve been putting him to sleep in a Pack & Play (converted to bassinet mode) in the corner of the bedroom. I jolted awake and scooped him up into the cradle hold, and he was in a deep sleep. I could tell because he was very flexible, and his head and neck were especially relaxed. I stabilized his position in my arms and got up out of bed. He felt so warm and cozy in my arms purring softly as I walked to the corner to put him down…
It was dark, but it really looked like there was already a baby in the bassinet… but I was holding him. I leaned closer. Yes, Nathan was definitely asleep on his back and looking peaceful. What the…!?
So in the dim light I bent down to inspect the warm package in my arms. I repositioned to use the dim moonlight coming in the window, and imagine my surprise when my eyes managed to lock onto the baby’s eyes. Cat eyes. Oreo’s eyes.
I was holding Oreo in a baby like cradle hold, she was purring softly and looking quite content. She often sleeps curled up beside me and must have been somewhat surprised to be scooped up so carefully and cuddled. She simply continued to purr lightly and stare right back at me. I laid her down and went back to sleep.

Hospital streak continues…

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Well for the umpteenth week in a row, someone in the Schierer family has been in the hospital. Everybody is home now and “ok”, but it’s never fun to go to the hospital. For the last three nights K has been having uncontrollable shivers/chills followed by a spiking fever. The shivering lasts maybe 30-60 minutes, with the fever lasting only a couple of hours. I’ll spare you with the story of the various calls and visits with the different on call doctors over the last few days. The bottom line is that K’s fever spiked at over 102 and we took her to the emergency room on the suggestion of the on-call doctor from her ob-gyn office. After a sonogram and some other examinations, they decided that it is probably minor/early mastitis and prescribed some antibiotics.

For those who haven’t been keeping up, the hospital tally is as follows: