10th Anniversary Blog Post

Greetings! This post is being written in solemn commemoration of the 10th anniversary of my blog.

Originally started as a “roll your own – PHP/MySQL DB based” journal (thanks again to Ben Livingston for the original code), and migrated to WordPress in 2005 (or so?), it’s been a constant presence although neglected, mistreated, and ignored at times for several month stretches.

Special thanks go to Jake Savin, who first attempted to tell me about blogging (he was an employee of Radio/Manila/Userland, the original blogging service created by Dave Winer), Matt Mullenweg, Chris Pirillo, KK+, Uncleweed,Dingo Brielle, Miss 604 Rebecca Bollwitt and others for providing inspiration in one form or another.

My New Year’s Resolution is to blog more effectively, and with relevant compelling content. However, I’ll still be posting pictures of errant pants, and other arcane objects when necessary.

In honor of my 10th year of blogging, I hereby post this picture of my “Charlie Brown X-Mas Tree” for all to enjoy!


Masonic Installation

Last Friday night was my “Installation Ceremony” as Master of Olympia Masonic Lodge #1, F&AM.

I had a great time despite having to take care of some emergent health issues that had to be dealt with on the same day, which was scheduled for preparation, refreshment purchases, cooking, decorating etc. Since I had booked the day off to get ready, and I had a large abscess growing just at the base of my skull, I got lucky that the surgeon could only fit me in that day with an appointment early in the morning.

My (about to be former) family doctor, who I’ve stuck with for 15 years, despite what I might (as a consumer) consider to be service and attitude problems with respect to my health care. Basically, he seemed more concerned about how soon he could retire, than with focusing on what is best for my health. After years of patronizing his practice, I had been able to get him to communicate with me more than was his nature.

But in the categories of communication, prevention education, follow up, and just general “bedside manner”, he had been lacking. After taking a day off from work due to illness, I had to take another to get into see the doctor on December 11th. This was inconvenient in the manner that if I don’t go to work, I have to use my vacation time (no sick time), or forgo pay for that day.

After arriving I told the nurse I had a large rapidly-growing lump near the base of my skull, and I was worried that it was an infection from a clogged sweat gland, as I am familiar with the boils and carbuncles that can be formed when this happens, having a mild case of Hidradenitus Suppurative.

This lump had grown exponentially in size over a period of a few days, just as a bad cold/flu relapse surfaced from the illness I had at the end of October, presumably because my immune system was knocked on it’s ass due to the infection. The doctor, (after talking to me about my cold, and doing his quarterly oversight of the other medications I am prescribed (and having to argue that since they work, he should not stop administering them to try some unproven brain chemistry fiddling with new, unproven drugs), he poked at the lump for about 75 seconds, declared it to be a Lipoma and referred me to a surgeon to have it removed, which he said it would be a simple outpatient procedure performed at the surgeon’s office.

So, after a week of painful movement, and respiratory distress due to my viral illness, I went to visit the surgeon early on the day of my installation (and mayan “predicted” end of the world) where he validated my original suspicions, and made it clear my physician had mis-diagnosed it (not a lipoma) as I had been grousing about all week. The most obvious issue being the one of severe pain, which is not an indicated symptom with Lipomas.

I was told to get into the radiologists office that day, to get an ultra-sound, and follow up with the surgeon either the same day if he had time, or at the earliest time he could squeeze me in. The ultrasound showed how badly the fluid was collecting, and the Surgeon called in a prescription for a Sulfa-based anti-biotic which he suggested I should start taking immediately. I was then scheduled for an outpatient surgery on Christmas Eve, at 7:30AM, being the only time available.

The installation party went off quite well (more pictures below), with the gracious help of my good
friends and Brothers, and a good time was had by all. This was (is) supposed to be a post about my Installation, but I’ll not leave you, (the reader) hanging by not finishing the abscess story. I
went in on Monday morning, and they Surgeon hacked a chunk of skin out of my neck the size of a Tootsie-Pop (TM) and drained a surprisingly large amount of puss and infected fluid that was previously trapped underneath the inflamed skin. He packed it with gauze and showed Brielle how to do the same, as she has been taking care of changing the dressing and repacking with gauze twice a day until I get a follow up on the morning of New Year’s Eve. Thank goodness she is available to help me, as I can’t even reach (or see, thankfully) the gigantic hole that was left behind from the surgery, and needs to be left open for at least a week. So, I’m not firing my doctor because he made the wrong diagnosis due to lack of attention or listening, because he had a reason to think it might be a Lipoma, but I’m not going to continue seeing him due to the fact that he didn’t take into consideration the possibility that he might be wrong, thereby not starting me on antibiotics immediately, which would have kept me from the suffering it caused by continuing to grow and get worse for the week+ I had to wait to see the surgeon.

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Throwing Baird Out

I needed to post this, to explain why I’m going to Napavine tomorrow morning, to vote for Cheryl Crist, who is challenging sitting incumbent Brian Baird for the party nomination to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. Congress. It is not an easy explanation for me to make.

I dissolved any ties I had (albeit loose ones) with the Washington State Republicans back in the late 1980s.  An Evangelical Christian faction had basically taken over the party, and I could not stomach seeing the likes of the people who were rising to become leadership in the Legislature.  I was revolted and turned off by them, in comparison to the Libertarian ideals which had drawn me, along with the cushy patronage jobs I kept secured by illegally campaigning for the state Republican Party.  The illegal campaigning was all been done with orders from my boss in the House Republican Caucus Communications office, Leslie MacMillan, and the blessings of the House R Caucus Executive, and “sin industry” lobbyist Vito Chiechi, under the direction of none other than Jennifer Dunn, who later became one of our U.S. Senators.  “Both sides do it, it’s okay, we’ll protect your jobs, just fill out these sick-day forms, and we’ll turn them in if the other side asks us why you’re missing” is what we were all told.  From this experience, I feel I learned a lot about how people cut corners to get ahead, and why they should never do that when it comes to politics and their responsibilities in the public arena.

Alas, I’m older now, (and much more principled, I think) and feel I have to do something now to change the direction in which our country is headed.  I was against the War in 2003, and I’m even more against it now.  In fact, I’m against using war, weapons, and violence as a means to solve any economic, social or political disagreement, and I vow never to participate in such foolishness, but instead to help those who may be hurt in our community by such actions. (To some, this is a subversive statement, go figure.)

So tomorrow I travel to Napavine, to cast my vote as Precinct Committee Officer for my district as the Democrats try to re-assert control over who runs on their party ticket following repeated findings by courts that the primary process in Washington is unconstitutional.  I will vote for Cheryl Crist.  I don’t do it with glee, as I like Brian Baird well enough, I’ve communicated with him, and given advice on Telecommunications issues that affect consumers, and overall he’s done a decent job.  However, he abdicated his responsibility as a Congressman under the constitution to declare war, and instead gave president Bush a blank check, and more war powers to the Presidency.  He still feels we need to stay in Iraq, and that is too troubling to me to not do something to remove him from office.

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