Archive for the ‘Wa fuckin Ha’ Category

Shudder released a new series of Joe Bob Briggs “The Last Drive In” movies, for the Turkey Armageddon Holiday, called Dinners of Death.  Did i watch?  Did I bogroll.

During the final movie, he went on an extended diatribe about seeing movies in a group setting (which is perfectly applicable to any group activity) in which he talks about how much more fulfilling it is to take part in a shared experience, even on a streaming service, where he insists that they limit the ability to download for a certain amount of time.  But to Joe Bob, it is the importance of the shared experience.  Which, if you have EVER spent any time reading this pathetic blog, you know I feel strongly about music performances.

And recently, we had just that kind of shared movie/comedy/improv experience when the new and old stars of MST3K brought a 30th anniversary live riffing performance to the beautiful Riverside Theater (a few days after Zombie Friend Scott saw it in LA).  E basically sat an watched a crappy movie. but it was relieved by snarky comments throughout and a few breaks where the people on stage did some stage humor.  A Canadian movie called the Brain, which features the evil scientist from Re-Animator, as an…wait for it…Evil Scientist.

As I said at the time, the experience of sharing it with a couple thousand like minded geeks was tremendous.  We laughed hard, so hard.  There was a guy right in front of us with an actual screen used Crow.  They made Packer jokes.  Joel revealed that he had Cheesehead heritage.  And my!  Didn’t we have a lovely time!

Spoiler alerts.  SODIUM!

Also, MY GOD!  IT’S FULL OF STAIRS!  Ok, it is two particular stairs.

Also, BANG!  Bang!  Bang!

The Mst3K folks just released THE GAUNTLET. a 6-episode binge-oriented series that I have resisted doing a full run through.  Joe Bob’s Dinners With Death has filled in the gap in a wonderful way.

I think this show was particularly a wonderful presentation, with one very mild political joke from the stage, but we are fucking relieved to have punched Scott Walker’s stupid bald spot on top of his stupid, stupid brain, into some Fox News/ Koch sinecures that pay for Tonette’s diet pills.  The audience was awesome, hilarious, and relieved.

Anyway, I am just killing time until the Mike McCarthy again screws up his play calling making Aaron Rodgers that much closer to achieving the “Best Quarterback Ever that was destroyed by his head coach” award.  But for what it’s worth, they have activated Whitewater Superstar Jake Kumerow…..

 

 

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last doctor visit, BP was kind of way high.  changed my meds, and I got busy and went out of town, then forgot to get back for a followup, so I did that today.  Much better, but still too high for someone on the high side of half a century, so more adjustment.  Weight was slightly down, so that was good.

Doc listened to my chest, checked feet for swelling, professed himself satisfied.  I like him, but going to the doctor always makes the BP go up.  my old doc referred to it as “White Coat Syndrome” and at least I don’t have it as bad as the Bloggess (read her book.  Sometimes she passes out at the VET…)

 I ascribe it to the chamber of horrors that was the clinic I went to as a kid, named the Quisling Clinic, which was actually the reference used by Elvis, not the fat dead one, in this song:

 

Nurse asked me to pee in a cup.

I mentioned that I had been reading that before chemistry, doctors, who had noticed that ants liked the sweetness of diabetic pee, that they would diagnose diabetics by tasting their pee for sweetness.  We laughed and agreed that things are much better now, and my!  weren’t we having a lovely time….

Since I had already had my morning pee, I had nothing, not even the couple of drops.  Sorry.  So it was all about the glucose, she resorted to the finger stab, which I am very used to…

The blood test came back quick enough ain’t modern medicine wonderful?  A1C at 5.9. 6 months back, it was at 5.1.  Doc professed pleasure at the control.  I asked if it was possible to go off the insulin injections?  He is OK with it, looking for frequent daily testing to keep an eye on glucose, which is really no problem.  I am kind of chuffed…mikey says ‘dude, you’re cured’ which I do not think I am, but on the way, with some luck…

So I asked the doc and the nurse to approve the refills of my meds, and the new one although I have some insulin I will use up…later in the morning, I got the text from the pharmacy (ain’t technology wonderful?) saying my scrips were ready, so just to make sure everything was there (ain’t getting old wonderful?  Now I don’t have to check if my prescription is ready, but whether ALL of them are ready). and looking over the list, I saw the copays.  yep. a buck….2 bucks…3 bucks… 500 bucks… WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE.  the alternative to insulin was a 500 GODDAM COPAY PER MONTH???!?!!?!?  WTF, doc.  I know my record says I am an architect, but you don’t know what being an architect is worth these days.  So when I went to pick up the meds, I told the pharm (and I have to say I am coming to love the pharms, even the dudes although the women are irrepressibly cute, and I am verging in to ‘Sexy Grandpa’ territory…) that I couldn’t pay that, and I would take the cheap ones and if necessary, cancel the Stupid Big Horse Pills of Golden Leaving.  But he, being a Good Person who is now on the Zombie Apocalypse Shortlist of People Who Get A Pass, spent a little time doing some computer.  Lo and behold, if they gave me twice as many pills at half the dose, and I took them twice a day, the cost was ….TWO GODDAM DOLLARS!!!!!

What the actual fuck, dudes?  how does a double in dose result in an increase in price of 25,000%?!?!!?  Sweet living fuck-the-vampires, that is ridiculous.  Dammit, if I used that logic, my billing rate would  be 30,000 dollars an hour.  So, thank you to the CVS Pharmacist who did the right thing and helped me out.

instant I am still excited to be off the insulin spike.  I still have other issues, and the content refrain from every doctor is ‘…for the rest of your life” which includes the ominous threat that if I don’t, the life will not either…but yeah.

Now, I just have to deal with the formerly reliable client who is now deciding to stop paying me since January.  But that is another story, and since I lived through another Father’s Day, rest assured it will show up here….

Oh wait.  I should remark.  In the past couple of weeks, Wife Sublime asked me if I wanted anything for Father’s Day.  I responded by saying, truthfully, “Not spending it in the hospital”  And I guarantee you that is something you want as well.  It is especially hard, because Wife Sublime’s father died on Father’s day as well.  It makes it hard for her.  I would have done it on a different day if I could have….

So on Father’s Day this year, my wife and son took me to lunch at Pizza Man, a local standard and longtime favorite, and we had bloody marys and great food and sat on the balcony in the sun and my, we had a wonderful time.  And Wife Sublime and Young Zombie gave me an iPad Pro (with Apple Pencil!).

 

Madness To The Method

Posted: June 16, 2016 in Fridge Note, Wa fuckin Ha

This is a bit weird.

I haven’t done an OPC (what I call an Opinion of Probable Cost…as the architect, I have little control of the actual cost of construction, and so for Plausible Deniability, E&O insurance people like it when we call it an opinion.  Can’t be sued for an opinion!)  in some time.

Most of our recent projects have involved a contractor as part of the design team, or clients who self-perform a lot of their construction, so there has not been any real need…

I learned much of the OPC while working for a Nazi Architect Who Is Not Albert Speer, even if he Likes the Speer work, whose partner would do an extensive, line by line analysis of costs.  So when I went solo, I adopted some of those ideas, but since I am not a fucking Luddite, I used it with a custom spreadsheet and use of relatively expensive annual cost compendiums.  But the thing is that when you use these, you need to fill in a lot of blanks with supposition.

This is often useful when the clients need to talk to banks about financing the project. It is also useful when you need to disabuse the client of the idea that they will build their project for 8 bucks per SF…

But in the course of actually finding a way to build something (a path that is as difficult as a Hobbit going through Mirkwood)  It is a very effective way to demonstrate the cost of many many small elements, into a largish budget.

I have been involved with several projects, where the clients really object to the final cost, but then respond by removing a few doors and a window or two, and then congratulate themselves by adding a hot tub.  This process allows me to show them where the hell the money went…

It is very easy for clients to say “There’s no way that it will take $120 per SF to build this, but when you break it all the way down, and they see that there are very few single items that are breaking the bank (Also, are you going to object to structural framing?), they have no way of saying that somehow every number will be magically reduced.  [As an aside,it frustrates me that some other architects will regularly design projects that clock in at $300 per SF; the time we had that kind of commission, we pulled out all the stops and never got over $180.]

OPCs counteract this in a couple of ways; first, a good understanding of how many building systems interact, and second ability to interpret very loose preliminary drawings in a way that represents actual construction.  Finally, in a representation of the actual costs of various aspects of construction…

I tagged into this estimate effort due to a reference from the people who organized those Charrettes I have had so much fun at. Being fucking good at what you do is noticed, even if it doesn’t result in immediate follow through. But I met with the Director of the organization, and we had a few acquaintances in common, and so they want to do an addition to one of their buildings.

It continues my work within Milwaukee’s African American community, work that I am inordinately proud of for the extent and the quality.  And yes, my amazing congresswoman Gwen Moore has been at our grand openings, and I have been stable star-struck because she is FUCKING AWESOME

Dunno if this will go further.  May be that when they see the actual costs, they will freak out –  I imagine that at this point, people have been blowing smoke up their ass.  But I am doing my best to tell them what their project is likely to cost, and they have no way to proceed if they don’t have that at this point.

But, and I have little defense for this, but dammit I am kind of enjoying this.  It speaks to my fundamental brokenness, I think…

Upland Stories

Posted: April 16, 2016 in Fridge Note, Shovels, Wa fuckin Ha

Not much to say, although much happens..

 

But my office window sills have many motorcycles, and many zombies.  But I may need to make room for these fuckers:

 

IMG_2646

 

The River was about

the taking of that time

and how we each have a finite amount of it

to do our jobs

to raise our families

to do something good

How the fuck does a SIXTY-SIX YEAR OLD MAN play with that kind of energy for THREE AND A HALF HOURS?

The last time we saw Springsteen, was nearing the end of the Bush Regime, and a lot has happened since then.  This time around, he was celebrating the 35th anniversary of what he called his ‘coming of age’ album.  I bought that album when it came out (amusingly enough, through Columbia House ).  However, that was when I was getting  heavily into metal and punk, and I confess it mostly left me a bit meh….the vinyl ended up in a crate, rarely played for a long time.  Mainly, I recall thinking there were a few good songs, and some serious filler.

Well, I have drastically changed THAT opinion.

Shit.  3 1/2 hours.  THEY JUST KEPT PLAYING….

Of course, the first half of the show, while stellar and amazing and all kinds of zombie, held few surprises.  I did enjoy that they played the first song, Meet Me In The City, with the house lights up so all of us could see all of the other people, and the E Street Band could see us too.

I found myself remembering every damn one of The River songs.  Apparently they made more of an impact all those years ago than I thought.  Particular highlights:  Independence Day, Jackson Cage, Out IN The Street, The River, Point Blank, Cadillac Ranch, Fade Away, Stolen Car, The Price You Pay, Drive All Night, Wreck on the Highway.  Holy pasta, Wreck on the Highway!

One of the things I found most endearing about Springsteen live is how much he craves connection with his audience and fans.  He was constantly – CONSTANTLY!- walking the front of the stage, grasping hands and high giving, laughing with delight at the signs people held.  Adorably, he pulled a woman out of the audience to dance during “Dancing In The Dark” – and she was wearing a shirt that said “I Love Dancing In The Dark”!  He also had a runway that looped around about the halfway point of the floor, and he came out through it four damn times – the first time, he leaned back and had the crowd body-surf him back to the stage.  I am certain several members of the audience got a handful of BossJunk…

Last time, we saw Clarence Clemons play sax.  It was his last tour. He seemed fatigued, and spent much time sitting on a chair.  Tonight, his nephew Jake was playing sax, and spent as much time running around in front as Bruce did.  And during Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, they played a montage of Big Man photos and videos on the screens.  I was a bit surprised to tear up…

In particular, I enjoyed that they ‘took back’ “Because The Night” from that Patti Smith character.  Highlight during this was a BLISTERING spinning guitar solo from Nils Lofgren that melted faces.

I also have to mention that Max Weinberg’s work on a relatively small drum kit (Are you WATCHING, Neil Peart?) was fucking amazing.  it was propulsive and impeccable and he never flagged. The sound drove the band and was consistently deep and resonant.   An amazingly athletic performance.  Thunder Road indeed…

But the final and enduring thing I have taken away from two Springsteen concerts is this:  how much damn JOY the band has in playing these thundering, full-of-life, anthemic music, sharing the joy with as many people as will listen, and they are so thrilled that this is their life, and that 20,000 people will jam into a barn to join in.  Many times, Bruce allowed the crowd to sing the first refrain of a song, grinning  wildly.

During the show, the band members continually danced around each other, sharing microphones, and mugging for each other. They seem to sincerely delight in their work together, and love to work together.  Steve Van Zandt in particular spent some time manipulating Bruce’s face….

Over the course of , what, 33 damn songs?  Many of which got stretched and expanded to cover Springsteen’s time playing with the audience.  3.5 hours, people.

meanwhile, the Republicanuts had their final debate.  How long was it?  2 hours?  Which event do you think added more life and joy and sheer GOOD to the planet?

Over the course of 33 songs, the band drove the audience into the heights of joy; people, many of them old as I am, into dancing and screaming and just having as much fun as they possibly could.  Joy and Thunder and songs about sex and pain and life…with guitar.  Was zombie happy?  You tell me….

There was a time when I would have scoffed at a Springsteen show.  I was young and confused.  I think many people would say that a Springsteen show is a bucket list item; I saw him once before I died and now I’ve seen him after I died.  I can recommend it, especially if you can do it with two of your best friends, like I did.  It’s good for your health to experience loud joy.

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….

As I think all 2.5 of you know, I had an Event back in June.  Father’s day, to be exact.  My heart tried decided it had had enough of this shit, and tried to make a run for it.

 

While I was in the ICU, I had a long line of specialists coming through, which would have been amusing if I wasn’t trying to not die.  At one point, I had two separate cardiologists; but apparently they arm wrestled out in the hall, and I think the loser wound up with me on their roster.

My cardiologist is kind of an interesting guy.  Younger than I am, but I’d guess that’s not unusual in his line; but he’s also kind of a straight-edge guy when it comes to diet and sodium.  I suspect he may be vegetarian, or vegan; he scoffed once when I admitted eating a brat at a party “It IS possible to live without eating brats”…

When he first came into my ICU room, he read me the riot act, or at least as much of it as you can reasonably read to a guy who was nearly dead just a few hours prior.

“eat right!  Stop eating crap!”

“Get some damn exercise!”

“stop drinking!”

“Take this seriously!”

“Stop eating meat!”

—hey, Doc, how’s a 60% hit rate on that stuff sound to you?

During the stay, they did an echocardiogram on my traitor heart.  It was at a low function; Dr. Cardio didn’t know whether it was permanent or just what he called a ‘stunning’ due to the Event.  But it was low enough that they called in for a defibrillation vest for me to wear.  Which I was VERY excited about, as you may imagine; it was to be a stopgap measure in case my heart made another break for it, and if the heart function didn’t come back, they would consider installing an on-board internal defib.  Which I was ALSO excited about.

So they kept me for an extra day, so they could do a second echocardiogram, to see how much recovery that bastard was making.  And I found it remarkable and kind of amusing that after the hard-ass reaming he had given me the day after my GODDAM HEART ATTACK, Dr. Cardio pretty much ran back to my room, arriving in a virtual tie with the other cardiologist, to tell me that my traitor heart had rebounded enough so that the defib vest was not necessary.  Not that my heart was healthy, you understand, but healthy ENOUGH.  I had recovered enough to be amused at how excited they were…

In recognition, I bought these very beautiful coasters from Think Geek:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/inoq/

And, because of the zombie thing (now that I think of it, I am a double-zombie.  Died once online, then came back; pretty much died once IRL, came back.  Double zombies are indestructible!) I also got these brane coaster:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/huir/

Both of them are so pretty when you stack them the right way.

So, I went through Cardiac Rehab Therapy where they further yelled at me.  Most often heard was “…for the rest of your LIFE” with a bit of ominous overtone, suggesting if I do not follow the guidelines, my life will be short as well…  But I got out, with a more controlled BP and heart rate, and some lost weight.  Went back to Taekwondo, joined a goddam gym.  Started cooking more food for myself, and eating WAY more greens.  Stopped going to fast food joints so often.  Asking for salt-free entrees when we do eat out.  Letting the dog walk me.

SO.  After much work on stabilizing my medication process and insulin regime, I went back to Dr. Cardio today for a follow up echocardiogram.

I’m going to sidebar here and say that the techs, support staff, and actually everyone I’ve interacted with in the healthcare adventure have been great.  Perhaps it is because Wife Sublime’s insurance is pretty good, and paying for all of this (estimates for this year are ±$120,000) but also because I feel, like Dr. Cardio said, very much grateful to be here at all; so much to be thankful for this holiday season – I sent that in to Driftglass and Blue Girl for their Thanksgiving show.

After much time with a machine with MUCh noisy fans, and a nice lady pressing a vice into parts of my chest very hard, with lubrication (those of you who have had babies know what I mean) and a completely unnecessary IV to make things prettier on the screen, I met with….Dr. Cardio’s Nurse Practitioner.  I liked her.

one more sidebar.  the tech doing my echo, said she had to call for someone to do an IV, because she hasn’t been trained for one. She said that she has though about going for it, but didn’t figure she needed it enough.  When the tech came up from the lab to do the iV, she told the tech that she should come down for a day and practice doing them.  When the IV lady left, I said, “I guess your bluff has been called”

Anyways, I am getting around to the big result.  Hey, friends, if I said this up front, you wouldn’t have read all this pretty writing, would you?  I KNOW MY AUDIENCE.

So after all of this, the nurse-practitioner told me my BP was still moderately high.  We need to monitor this.  I have always been surprised that my blood pressure doesn’t just shoot those damn needles out of my arms.

And so then Dr. Cardio comes in.  He wastes no time, saying that after all of this–

–my heart is back to normal operation, recovering more-or-less fully from the Event.

After that, we discuss the need to keep on keeping on with the exercise and better diet and losing weight and the rest of it–“FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!” which I told him was funny, because I have heard that from pretty much every health professional I’ve talked to since June, and then explained that I have approached all of it with a sense of humor that apparently results from knowing one of the most critical organs in your body hates you.

He then asked for me to bleed for them, so they could check things like cholesterol and I also asked him to check my A1C.

I remember a column from Dave Barry, where he talked about being “subjected to the horrors of modern medicine”.  after having spent half of the last year being intimately involved with modern medicine, I have to say you are full of shit, Barry.  At every level, the folks I have worked with have been massively concerned with my comfort.  After half a year of insulin injections (not to mention a long history of blood donations) I have little fear of needles; but every time, they say “little pinch”.  I told the nurse when I got my vaccines lately, that she should say “on 3. ONE TWO (stick the needle) Three.”  My doctors are tremendous.   I have a wonderful Eye doctor..  My primary is new, but I am liking him.  My cardiologist has won me over because he is so thrilled for every positive aspect.

As Dr. Cardio has suggested, I have much to be thankful for.  So here we go:  First and foremost, Wife Sublime who made sure I lived through the Worst Night Ever.  Young zombie who seemed to be uncomfortable when watching me nearly die.  The Mekons, for being the best ever when  I saw them after nearly biting it.  Summerfest, for making me remember why they hell I want to continue living.

And you guys.  Because blurting out into the Internarfles is an important thing, and sometimes I hear back from the echoes….

I kind of figure I love pretty much any one of you twisted freaks who respond to me.

Actually, I should not be harsh.  I kind of love everybody.