Recently, doing some discussion late night with folks on FaceHell about houses and designing houses and how architects actually design houses.  It was late at night on both sides, but I expressed a bitter side of it…

 

I have often said that I am conflicted, sometimes.  I bill a bit less than most attorneys, but I still kind of figure that when I spend time on your behalf, that I should be recompensed.

But what is weird, is here.  Many many people figure that if I work on their behalf and they never go forward with the project, they really don’t owe me anything.  Which is never part of whatever agreement we have (admittedly, I am perfectly willing to spend some amount of time for clients that I have an ongoing relationship with, but that is based on already cashing some checks,even if they are on other projects.  Good credit, you see….)

I have done work for impoverished areas to improve the housing stock, and I have also done multi-million dollar penthouses in the factory district.  I have one client for whom I have done his residence three times….and he is a third generation person who used his parents to help him become a big time developer; he is mostly Republican, although his parents are die-hard Democrats.  But here’s the difference; He has learned, through working for his parents, the value of being a decent developer and he is one of the most respectable people I have ever met in this debased business.

In fact, here was a recent conversation I had with him:

“blah blah blah “

(Side conversation) ” have a good weekend pam”

You’re letting Pam have the afternoon off? (this was like 2 PM on a Friday)\

Shit, on a Friday I am pretty much the only person here.  I am the best boss ever

You don’t have to tell me.  I have had some pretty crappy clients….

His parents are also lovely people, who I have done work for.  They are first-person contacts with the Obamas (so I am 2 degrees, right).  I started working for his father’s company when I was in college, and managed a 24 unit building (a block from where I live now) and later, designing a new office down the hall from my office in a rehab building (they resided in their previous office for like 27 years!) and then designing their offices later when they moved to a a rehab building in the Third Ward.  I have to say that there is no better feeling than when someone keeps coming back to you as a professional….

But I digress.  I came here to talk about the draft.  Wait.  Let me back up.  I was here to talk about Shithead fuckhead people who stiff people who gave them credit.

Like Turdwaffle. Yes, he will eventually find a way for his captive Legislature to turn that back to us in Wisconsin; in fact, they might find a way to make Milwaukee bear the brunt, if not taking it out of the hide of the UW or, in the end, public schools.  So many victims!

Like I said, I am conflicted.  As an architect, my clientele tends toward the wealthy, because who the fuck else can spend and extra 5-8 percent on their construction cost for a turtleneck-wearing motherfucker?  Or more, if that motherfucker has already designed houses for all your parent’s friends? (I don’t wear turtlenecks)

Myself, I have designed several extra-million dollar house projects.  So how am I to feel about those?  When they happened, I sucked up to rich fuckers as as necessary, and cashed those goddam checks, you know I did.

I don’t want to blow my own horn, but I am  fucking good architect, who has had many design awards. But that’s not even the point; the idea is that I do some great works, both outside and inside.

And should I not be paid for that?

I understand, that when it comes to the work I have done for the NFP corporations in the distressed areas of the city.  But When I have done the same work for other cities?  Damn.

After many years, I am fucking great at several aspects:  Code work.  Existing buildings.  design.  GREAT design.  coordination with all the other assholes.

What I suck at?  getting money from dickwads.

 

I have seen Bob Mould several times, solo and with a band (and I found myself wondering how weak it had to be to be a keyboard player in Bob Mould’s band?)

I loved Husker Du, as one of the MPLS triumvirate, Huskers, Soul Asylum and the Replacements.  And I saw almost none of them at their peaks, except for Soul Asylum in a 300 person club on the Hang Time tour and were they superb? Also, the Replacements on a show where Westerberg was too drunk to stand up for an encore…You tell me…

But on to other issues. As some of you know, I had The Event last June, and survived.  But seriously, once you are already a zombie, what the fuck, you know?  But the imperatives of medical professionals became a thing (and the support of Wife Sublime’s corporate health care, thank you love) and we discovered that I am also a diabetic, Fuck My Life you know…

So, for the last several months, I have been working to make some of these things better.  I have been exercising more, and eating less.  Eating better and being good about my meds.  Stopped pretending I would live forever…

A couple of months ago., I met with my cardiologist…

When I was in the ICU, they did an electrocardiogram of my traitor heart.  For those of you who haven’t had this experience, most hearts pump in a 50-55% range.  When they did mine after the heart attack, it was 25%.  This was in the realm where I would have to steal Dick Cheney’s heart to avoid arrhythmia.  I was fitted for a crazy chest device that would shock my heart into behavior….But after a couple of extra days in the IC, the Dual Cardiologists on my case said that my heart performance had improved to 35% which was out of the danger range…

Here’s the thing.  Your own dam heart only works like 50% effective.  Because it pumps one side, and then lets the backside come in.  It makes sense, you know?  I had TWO GODDAM cardiologists coming in to check on my, and I started to love the health care that Wife Sublime’s company posts….

So I came in and met with Mr. Straight Edge, who once chided me when I confessed to eating a brat at a party.  BP was not great, weight was not as low as it should be.  Lungs and heart sounded OK. Took a bunch of blood.

He had a tech do a new echocardiogram.  She pushed a device into my chest until it hurt, then had a tech come in and put in an intravenous, so they could put colors into my body that made them more visible.  Then she continued to push the hurtful thing into my chest.

And after a short amount of time, they all left and told me to clean up.  It was like being at a whorehouse.

But eventually, I met with Doctor Straitedge Cardio, and he told me that my heart had recovered normal operation.  He was please, and so was I…He fucked with me on my weight, and told me to stope eating fatty foods and meats, but otherwise, it was a good discussion…

And when the blood came back the worst of it was that for some weird reason I was weirdly low on Vitamin D.  But my cholesterol was good, and my A1C was 5.1….

FIVE POINT FUCKING ONE.  I know that my glucose has been in the zone almost every time I’ve tested it, But the first time I got bloodwork it said 6.4 was the goal.  On this one, it said 5.7 was the goal.  GODDAMIT GIVE ME A SINGLE GOAL and I will work at it…

Last time I met the primary, he said he was good for 6 months or so.  This is not six months.  But he does, of course, have access to the most recent bloodwork.  Cardio guy said that the biggest problem was a low Vitamin D.  IN wisconsin.  Where there’s little daylight in winters….

So anyway, Mr. Primary wants to see me.  So, what do we think?  Is it a recognition of my change in A1C?  Is it a chiding over my lack of losing weight?  Is it a challenge to the whole zombie thing?  Probably a hassle about not drinking so much…

I kind of hope that he is going to adjust my meds.  I would really like to not be injecting insulin any more.  Dr. Mikey says that I am cured, but I am not so sure but if I could transition to pills rather than spikes, I would be fucking thrilled.  I often stick them in my thigh because it hurts less than the gut…

Went to the gym today.  Worked up a sweat, listened to Maron’s podcast.  Felt good, got sweaty.  gonna do it tomorrow.  And the day after, and the day after, and the day after….

Blackstar

Posted: January 22, 2016 in Body Count, Fridge Note, Shovels

Jeezus, how can you say goodbye to someone you never met?

Those of you in the bloggerhood may remember Dusty, the Leftwing Nutjob and mouthy wench.  I know at a minimum, AK asked after her on the Book of Face.  Myself, I had wondered where she had gotten herself off to…

Well, it seems that the mystery has been cleared up, in the most horrifying and tragic way imaginable.

We argued much about politics, and I called into her podcast broadcasts occasionally.  Many of the politically oriented of the bloggerhood showed up, and memorably both M Bouffant and I called in on the same day!  mikey and Dusty got into some EPIC fights on my blog.  Nick called her names…

I refer to all of you bunch as my “Imaginary Digital Friends” which kind of cracks up Wife Sublime especially when we meet one of you IRL.  But this brings home, in the most gut-punchy kind of way, that none of you are actually imaginary but real physical beings with problems and loves and a life that maybe has difficulties and then ends in tears and tragedy.

I am very saddened by this; and the tears seem kind of weird, considering that I never even met her.

Rock on, Dusty.  Say hi to Lemmy for me, as I am sure both of you are in the same place….

ETA I posted this on FaceHell, so visitors please feel welcome.  I will have to approve your first comment, but I almost always do, so don’t worry.  Also, in Dusty’s memory, please curse as much as you would like!  We fully endorse the complete range of the English Language here at the Empire!  And if you want to curse in another language, well, we all might learn some new words….

Dusty

Life on Mars?

Posted: January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

It is no secret that I am a big fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror and I don’t draw the line at ludicrousness.   After all, Evil Dead.

Recently, we took a little vacation to Colorado, and I backed up my travel time by downloading The Martian to my Kindle App-iPad.

Because I know, of course, that some of the science is iffy at best (the sandstorm that set the whole thing up, for example)…

Oh wait.  SPOILERS.  Stop reading, if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie or read the massive amounts of internet blather about it.   STOP/.  I told you.

But hell.  Even in the midst of the non-stop going that is a vacation, I still managed to read the book in like 2.5 days.  It’s a short book; but it also reads like a YA adventure book.  It it’s also very serious and very fast paced.  Mark Watney is going to die. He’s going to die while listening to horrible 70s disco. GOD DID I FEEL HIS PAIN

He knows enough to make that less likely.  His only strategy, from like day five?  is to see how long he can extend it.  Because he knows there is no cavalry coming over the ridge.  in fact, he often talks about being the first Martian Colonist, and owning the entire planet because of maritime law.

He is also snarky and profane.  Which you would be, if you had been abandoned to die on a planet where you can’t even breathe.  What the movie omits is how funny he is, talking to a recording that he figures no one will hear for four years.  He doesn’t have to self-edit.  Like a blogger.  He fucks on a regular basis.

This  movie was a realistic movie, done as an analogue to the Swiss Family Robinson, and cared enough to make real science  areal part of it.  And the movie makers allowed Kirsten Wiig to do an actual real role, so I already give them a +4.

So I have downloaded the movie, and am watching it for the third time tonight.  I know, I know, Matt Damon.  But he was also one of the angels in Dogma, so cut him a fucking break, right? Also, Kristen Wiig goes for broke in a dramatic role, and does great.  Have I mentioned that I love Kirsten Wiig?  Please to go be seeing “Welcome to Me”

The movie strips a fair amount out of the book, which you have to do to make a 2 hour running time.  And that stuff in the book is rich and worthwhile.  So read the book, right?  .  However, the final stress is based on the resulting relative velocities. They probably fudged it all but fuck that, it’s Hollywood; these people made Adam Sandler a star.

But the movie is still worthy.  The actors do a helluva job in their roles . and Damon gets foulmouthed like he was being directed by Kevin Smith.  The sets and effects are realistic.  The actors do a great job and the story is valid for a 2 hour story.  They do a not-horrible work with the physics involved,  although not as good as in the book; which does not quite make a fully-accurate physical representation, but close damn enough for what is still a helluva great book.

This movie and story, while being acclaimed for being mostly true to science, still diverge more than enough to qualify as Science Fiction, in both versions.  Both versions make for great entertainment; the book is compelling, and the movie maximizes the drama.  Duct tape plays a major role, so I hope they had Red Green as consultant…

The book is great; in a large part because the author put it out into the ether to allow for input from people with expertise.  Which, as a rational person, you do.  He changed much of the book before actual publishing to reflect that feedback.

“I am the first person to be alone on an entire planet”   Is that the most fucking terrifying thing to consider?  Is that not also one of the best lines in science fiction ever?

The book also allows the major character to cuss his brain out.  The idea that the Hermes crew are perfectly willing to go back, and take that amount of time, is perfectly consistent with the people who have gone into space, who are, without exception, heroes of the first order.

The movie is also pretty great.  I will say it’s not as great as the book, because the depth and long-form factor of the book allows for way more in depth development of every single character.  But I will not say that “the book is better” because the movie is visual and some of that is better.  What I will say is that if you liked the movie, read the book; and if you liked the book, see the movie.

Solve one problem.  Then the next.  You solve enough problems, you succeed.

Of course, this post references Bowie, because it must.  I have resisted the idea of posting much in the way of Bowie tributes on anything because, frankly there are so many doing it better.

And I am also going to shove an Alan Rickman reference in here, because By Grabthar’s Hammer, I will Avenge him!

Because death really sucks.  I am starting to get a bit pissed off at this whole death thing.  I survive, but David Bowie, Lemmy and Alan Rickman die?  Fuck that.  Because frankly, I would be perfectly willing to offer my life to bring any one of those guys back for a few years….

The movie spent much time using Starman in their work, but I really think Life On Mars is so much more appropriate, because it is so much more unusual.  So, with David Bowie’s death, I made a post that references one of his songs.  However, I really love this version:

 

David Bowie was one of the most talented artists of the last 50 years.  Go ahead and get his new album. He helped us live in space before we ever went there, and he helped us understand different sexualities before it was even considered as acceptable. I won’t say God Bless, because I figure he didn’t give a shit, but I will say:  We will remember you for generations…

 

There is an important, reasonable and reasoned, and emotional post here from Kevin Drum.  Used to follow him a lot, fell out of the habit.  May have to rectify that.

America is resoundingly backward about Death with Dignity.  I am guessing it’s due to the number of ridiculously stringent reactionary and strident religionists that left other countries, mainly because they couldn’t get along with anyone else in their home countries, and saw America as a great place to be as severe and strict as they wanted to be.  And a fanatical devotion to the Pope…

And that has been working out SO WELL…anyways…

I recently did a draft post about our nephew, who some may remember took another way out; he blew his brains out in his parent’s backyard.  He was not sick, that we know of; he was young and had a checkered past and broke and desperate and seemed to find this was his best option; and I am unable to say he was wrong, because it was his life…

But the thing here is that the various Death with Dignity and Assisted Suicide laws do have one thing they pretty much all do:  anyone looking to avail themselves have to get medical reviews.  And if they have other issues, depression, treatable illnesses, weird noses…they get treatment first.

And I have to believe that would have made a difference for Mike.  No. I don’t HAVE to believe that, like it’s something that makes me feel better; I actually do believe it would have helped.  He had issues, he had depression likely; but that is workable.   Treatment and therapy at the least.  Removal from danger vectors (like access to a firearm).

Earlier this year, in the midst of The Event, I was suffocating in an ER.  I stopped being able to focus, didn’t even look at the medical professionals working on me.  Couldn’t take anymore.  Was thinking “here I go, hope I can meet Lou Reed…”  Wasn’t thinking any further ahead at the time, but it was the kind of thing that in retrospect could have resulted in Dain Barrage (“and who would have known” shut up assholes).  And Wife Sublime and I have medical proxies for those things, and I trust her to make those decisions; but if I had non-life threatening brain damage, what do I do?  Unplugging isn’t it, but even as crappy as this brain is, if it stops working I am going to be unhappy…

My parents both went relatively young, and had a very short period of decline.  They were conscious and coherent mostly up to the end, and passed peacefully and we all got our opportunities; both died in hospice without pain.

On the other tentacle, Wife Sublime’s parents both went after extended periods of dementia.  As a newcomer to the family, memory of me was one of the earliest things to go, and while it wasn’t painful because I am only an in-law, it was very uncomfortable at the end…

I have no doubt that WS’s mother would have chosen death with dignity – except she was Catholic.  Not so sure about her father ( mean, he was Catholic; I dunno about his choices).

None of this, of course, has anything to do with the imaginary “Death Panels” trumped up by the Teabaggers; Panels which never existed.  End Of Life counseling, which existed before the PPACA and still does, has little to do with that paranoid fever dream…

I am an educated white guy who is clinging to a middle class existence in an urban environment.  I am willing to bet that if it comes down, I will be able to find the support I need for Assisted Suicide, or Death With Dignity, whatever you want to call it.  But as a liberal, I hate that this situation gives people from lesser resources little ability to make the same choices, except for horrid ones like a damnable gun .

Like my nephew.  FSM love you Michael…

 

 

Call Me Up

Posted: January 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

HOLY SHIT I JUST CONNECTED WITH HUGO BURNHAM ON FACEBOOK.

 

 

 

Another hero has failed me 
He’s a guest VJ on MTV 
Jack’s in his corset, Janie’s in her vest 

Lou’s hawking scooters and American Express

Guys quote Michael Stipe in bars
to pick up girls who own their cars
While we renounced what we once loved
to prove that we can rise above

Chorus:

Hugo, Hugo
Hugo doesn’t have these faults
Hugo Hugo
He is pure and he is good

Don’t believe it when you’re told
“Hope I die before I get sold”
Every great band should be shot
Before they make their Combat Rock

Clock strikes 12 and moon dr0ps burst

Clock strikes twelve and moon drops burst
Out at you from their hiding place
Like acid and oil on a madman’s face
His reasons tend to fly away
Like lesser birds on the four winds, yeah
Like silver scrapes in May
Now the sands become a crust
And most of you have gone away (hm, yeah gone away)
Come Susy dear, let’s take a walk
Just out there upon the beach
I know you’ll soon be married
And you want to know where the winds come from
Well it’s never said at all
On the map that Carrie reads
Behind the clock back there you know
At the four winds bar (hm, yeah)
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Four winds at the four winds bar
Two doors locked and windows barred
One door let to take you in
The other one just mirrors it
Hey, hey, yeah! hey, hey
In hellish glare and inference
The other one’s a duplicate
The queenly flux, eternal light
Or the light that never warms
Yes the light, that never, never warms
Yes the light, that never, never warms
Never warms, never warms
The clock strikes twelve and moon drops burst
Out at you from their hiding place
Miss Carrie nurse and Suzy dear
Would find themselves at the four winds bar
It’s the nexus of the crisis
The origin of storms
Just the place to hopelessly
Encounter time and then came me
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Call me Desdenova, eternal light
These gravely digs of mine
Will surely prove a sight
And don’t forget my dog, fixed and consequent

 

 

 

 

 

 

The solos for this song were one of the first thing I ever learned, on a flatbody Les Paul that I eventually decided to sell for tuition.  I figure Buck Dharma hates me for that, and many times I do as well…

Silent Mike has recently chided me for talking about seeing them at Alpine Vally, but I figure it was a triple bill:  Aldo Nova, UFO, and BOC.

In later years, we saw them at Zivko’s Has-been Palace, and they sucked roundly;  but later, I went to see them at Shank Hall, and the were superb; Fully succumbing to what I call the Cheap Trick Measure.  Meaning that they admitted that playing for enthusiastic crowds of any size is way better than working for a living.

I still love this band, and my wife hates them. I still turn them up, and she grimaces.   A star, a star…