Thursday, January 31, 2013

Me Without The Tube

This is reported to have been drawn by a child who apparently was excited about not having a tube in his mouth (from what I'm guessing some medical procedure).

I think they need to look up this kid's records and see who his doctor was, because...well.....I don't think that is a tube.

































I gotta give it up for my little sister finding this one.  Nice job.

Dietary Labels

This pretty much sums up my diet.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Morning Stories with Mookie - Episode 53


The Time Mookie Could Not Get Rid Of A Stray Dog On An 18 Mile Run

A few years ago when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, I would get up early on Sundays and do my weekly “long run.”  This distance varied from week to week and depended where I was in the training schedule.  For this one week in particular I had to do an 18 miler, so we are talking some serious distance.  I woke up at 4AM, and went through all of my pre-run details: use bathroom, get dressed, make sure I had enough Gatorade to stash in places, and loosen up. 

When I set out just before 5AM, I had a bottle of Gatorade with me, and had two stashed in the tree out in front of my house.  That way I could just run by and pick one up if need be.  With my running GPS on and my MP3 player cranked up, I headed out.

For this run I decided to stay within the city limits for the most part, and not venture off into the country like I had on other runs.  Even though it wasn’t light out yet, it was still warm and humid and I wanted to make sure I was near a “refill” station when I needed more beverage.  The town I live in is not terribly big, so when you do 18 miles, it is a lot of back and forth across town, laps around the town, and winding paths through town (to keep it interesting).  At about the 10 mile mark, I made it past my house and picked up another bottle of Gatorade.  I hoped this would carry me the rest of the way, so I turned and headed west to the other side of town.

About another mile down the road, I crossed over into the “less nice” part of town.  It isn’t bad, but the homes aren’t terribly nice.  It was then I saw an animal dart out between some houses in my direction.  I looked up and saw this big Labrador dog running at me.  This is one of my few fears when I’m out running.  Thankfully I have not had to physically deal with one (yet), but I am always on guard.  I yell “GET BACK!!” at the dog and he surprisingly stopped.  With the crisis averted, I continued on up the street until I noticed something behind me.  I look over my shoulder and there is that damn dog.

He is running RIGHT behind me at my heels, and almost tripping me every other step.  I start yelling at this dog, but he pays me no mind.  I start turning corners hoping he’ll realize he ran away from home and he’ll go back.  No.  He’s still there.  In fact, he’s running alongside me now and crowding me into the curb.  I tried a few times to make a “sweeping” motion at him with my foot trying to get him to back off, but he did not take the hint.  This f’n dog is pissing me off.  I turn another corner and run back down the street where I found him, hoping that maybe he’ll see his home and go back there or his owner will see him and call him.  Nope.  Its now been 3 miles and this dumb dog is showing no signs of being tired or backing off.  At one point I sped up and started running faster and then when he got up next to me I stopped quick and turned the corner as he ran by.  Did this trick him? NO!  He thinks I want to play now. GODDAMMMIT!!!  He is all up in my legs and tripping me as I try to keep running.  I didn’t want to stop because this was a big run, and if I ran this whole thing I knew it would be a huge step mentally and physically towards the marathon.  However this dog was doing his best to try and get me to stop. 

One thing I will say is that the pooch was resourceful.  I figured he’d have to be getting thirsty here soon, and maybe he’d quit and find a puddle or something.  We passed a parking lot that had a pretty decent puddle in it, and my hunch proved right.  The dog ran over and started lapping water like a mad man.  But then he looked up and saw me half a block away. “Oh no!”  Here he came on the dead run. SOB.  I have two miles left to go, and I am stuck with this dog.

Random traffic has now started in the early morning hours, and everyone is looking at me as this un-leashed dog runs behind/next to/ around me.  Eventually, a police car rolls up next to me and I recognize the officer as my old neighbor.  He rolls down the window and says:  “Matt!  Is that your dog?”  “NO!” I reply back.  I tell him how he’s been following me for miles and I can’t get rid of him.  He says he thinks he knows who the dog belongs to, and radios the dispatch to call them.  So while we wait,  the cop is rolling just ahead of me with his blinking hazards on to show he isn’t moving very fast, while I run behind him with this damn dog.  That’s right….I had a police escort.

After a few minutes, the cop slows up and tells me that they can’t get a hold of anyone at the house.  He said that maybe he’ll turn around when I get home.  Great.  So the officer drives off and I’m left to finish up my last mile while Fido the super dog is crowding me and tripping me.

Its uphill all the way home, and the dog is showing some fatigue, but he’s right there.  I turn onto my street and head for home feeling very proud of myself for my 18-mile accomplishment.  I stop at the bottom of my driveway, grab my last bottle of Gatorade and down it.  The dumb dog is running around the front yard smelling and sniffing all over the place.  I walk up the driveway to the gate that opens to my backdoor and back yard, and I quickly open and shut the gate while the dog runs up and stares at me.  He’s looking at me like “Hey.  What are you doing?  I tell him “GO HOME!” and I turn and go into the house.  I looked out the window once I got inside, and he stood there for a few seconds before finally turning and running off to God knows where.

In hindsight, I felt bad because he was obviously a nice dog who just needed some exercise.  I saw him a few weeks later tied up in someone's yard and I felt bad for him.  No wonder he ran as far as he did with me.

Miss a previous episode?  Click HERE to catch up on the fun!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Feelgood Story Of The Day

I like this one.  (Courtesy of ESPN)


Owen Groesser makes 3-pointers

Owen Groesser enjoyed a night to remember, and took Twitter by storm in the process.
Groesser, a junior high student with Down syndrome, made a pair of 3-pointers in his school's basketball game Wednesday, prompting a Twitter campaign that resulted in a highlight on "SportsCenter."
According to ABC affiliate WXYZ in Detroit, Groesser had not played this season for Van Hoosen Junior High School, which was playing its season finale Wednesday.
But after entering late in the game, Groesser received a pass beyond the arc and sank a 3-pointer, sparking a wild celebration in the stands. Groesser also made another 3-pointer, finishing with six points in approximately two minutes of playing time.
After the game, Groesser's friends and teammates launched a Twitter campaign called #GetOwenOnSportsCenter, which trended as highlights of the game spread on the Internet.
The campaign was a success, as Groesser's exploits were featured on "SportsCenter's" Top-10 highlights Wednesday night.

I bet that kid is still floating on air.  I saw the video and he was like 4 feet behind the 3-point arc.  
Makin it rain baby.

You Can Never Be Too Careful



Yet Another Solid Answer To A Test Question




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bill Clinton Is Lurking

You have the guy on the right blatantly staring at her caboose.
You have Joe Biden going "Wow, she's a good looking broad.  Too bad Bill isn't up here to see this."
And Bill Clinton is three rows back going "Ohh yeah. I see it."


What Kind Of Video Game Is This??

It is all well and good until you see the name of the game designer and their logo placement.

Fun Box indeed.


Bill Clinton Is At It Again

I bet he'd show Kelly his "American Idol."


Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 52

The Time Mookie Hiked Up Pikes Peak

When "Megan (*)" and I moved to Colorado Springs, the first thing I noticed upon my arrival was the inescapable view of Pikes Peak.  While Pikes Peak is no where near the biggest mountain in the world (or even in Colorado), to this born-and-raised guy from flat-ass Iowa.....it was pretty big.  No matter where you went, the view to the immediate west was always Pikes Peak.  In fact, the living room windows of our first apartment faced the mountain, so it was the first thing you saw everyday when you opened the curtains. Of course we also had a "terrific" view of the Safeway grocery store across the street, and all of their striking union grocery workers for a few months too, but that is an entirely different story and I digress.

So obviously, going to the top of the mountain was definitely on my "to do" list while we lived in Colorado.  I figured Megan and I at some point would take a drive to the top via the famed Pikes Peak Highway, but little did I know my eventual trip up the mountain would be self-propelled. 

I was working at Walmart at the time and became friends with a guy named Chris.  He told me that he had hiked up the mountain via the Barr Trail a few months prior, and was looking to do it again. The Barr Trail started in a nearby town called Manitou Springs.  This is the same trail that is used for the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent races they have every year.  So it is a well-beaten path, but not terribly big and definitely not any less rugged.  The kicker of this trail is how steep it is and how quickly it ascends to the top.  It climbs 7,800 feet and is 12.6 miles long.  It is definitely not suited for weak-kneed people.  Add to that the mountain itself is 14,110 feet high above sea level, so it is nothing to mess around with.

When Chris said he and another Walmart guy (a guy named Dave) were going to do it again, he invited me along for the fun.  I of course said yes because who was I to turn down mountain climbing?  When I told Megan of the plan, she offered up the idea of driving up the mountain herself, meeting us at the top, and then giving us a ride back down.  This pretty much made the trip a done deal.  Chris agreed this was ideal, and we picked a particular day to do it.

So what does one pack on a mountain climbing trip? Well I wasn't going up Mt. Everest here, so I didn't need any crampons, ice picks, or a Sherpa named Nukyuk. The weather was forecasted to be mild, so I wore my most comfortable shoes, shorts and a t-shirt.  I had a hat, sunglasses, and a backpack full of essentials: a light jacket, a shitload of water, sandwiches, and protein/carb fueled snacks.  

Chris said to meet up at his house about 5:30AM.  That way we could make it to Manitou by 6:00 and start our trip.  He said our hike could take about 6 hours, so we needed to get an early start before it got too hot.  A big question mark in the matter was when Megan knew what time to meet us at the top.  We came to a general consensus as to when she should probably be there, but I told her I would take my cell phone with me, and call her when we got above the timber-line (i.e. the place where the altitude is so high trees can't live anymore) to give her a better idea.  Please note, this was 1996 - so my cellphone was like a small brick in my bag.  Plus I had no idea if I would get reception up on the mountain, so we just hoped it would work.

The day of the hike arrived and I showed up at Chris' house at 5:30AM on the nose.  The other guy (Dave) wasn't there yet, so we waited.  And we waited.  And we waited.  Finally at six, Chris called up Dave to see where the hell he was.  To make a long story short, Dave answered the phone hungover as hell, apologized, and said he wasn't going to make it.  Yeah.  Thanks Dave.  So Chris and I set out for Manitou, and the Barr Trail.

The first thing I realized, was that I was going to spend most of my day going "up." Colorado Springs sits at 6,035 feet above sea level.  Manitou Springs is 300-400 feet higher than that, and the top of the mountain was 14,110.  Oh good lord.

Chris and I made it to the trail head about 6:45, so we were already 45 minutes behind schedule.  We hoped this wouldn't be a huge problem, and would hopefully avoid any rain that day.  With our packs on our backs, we set out on our trip up Pikes Peak.

The first thing you notice right away is that you can't even SEE Pikes Peak.  You start out hiking through the foothills below the mountain, and you don't even see the  top until like halfway up.  Anyway, the trip up the mountain is definitely a workout.  It starts out as a winding path that goes in a back and forth formation that are called "switchbacks."  I suppose they are called this because you go one way for awhile, and then you switch back to the other direction.  I dunno.

We take breaks at fairly often intervals, and I am surprised at how much I am dragging.  I was not it terrible shape, but we aren't even halfway and I am getting gassed.  As the trail crosses through a rock with a big hole in it, Chris tells me that this is sort of like "half way to half way."  Huh?  He tells me that half way up the mountain is a place they call "Barr Camp," and there is a cabin there and space to camp out if you wanted to do so.  So while it is comforting to know we have made progress up the hill, its disappointing we aren't halfway yet.  While I spent a lot of time looking down and little more than a few feet in front of me due to the rugged nature of the trail, I did take in the scenery around me from time to time.  Early on, it was just like hiking through the woods.  LOTS of trees, and rocks.  Nothing fabulous, but pretty if you are into the mountainous tree scenery.  Eventually we come into a clearing, and a sign states that we have arrived at Barr Camp.  We decide to stop, have a snack, and recharge a bit.  There are several people milling about, and sharing in our idea of taking a break.  There are a variety of people here.  Some are runners, some are mountain bikers, and some are hikers like us.  I notice a family sitting next to us, and a girl of maybe 10 years old is looking at me.  I ask her if she is having fun climbing the mountain.  She says: "Yeah.  We did it yesterday, and we had so much fun we are doing it again today!"

This amuses me, and yet makes me feel like a piece of crap.  This 10 year old girl is doing this for a second day in a row, and my fat ass is dragging at the halfway point of a single day climb.  Get away from me kid.

Chris and I decide we needed to press on, so we left the restful Barr Camp and continued up the mountain.  Up, up, up, switchback, switchback, climb climb climb.  Eventually, we get to a place where we can actually see the mountain, and can look back behind us and see how high we really are.  It was pretty incredible. The top of the mountain still looked forever away, but was certainly closer than it was when we started.  The higher we went, the vegetation and trees started to become more sparse, and the terrain started becoming more rocky.  The last "green" part I remember was a huge area that looked like a beautiful rock garden.  It was just a field of rocks and boulders amidst a green covered ground.  After looking at it for a minute, I quickly realized that the rocks were probably the size of houses, and it was just really far away.  It was just amazingly desolate.

Finally, it became apparent we had just arisen over the timberline, and any green living things were now below us.  I figured I should try to call Megan on my cellphone and let her know where we were.  Amazingly the call went through.  I told her where we were, and what time - according to Chris -  we should be at the top.  She then told me that some guy from Pepsi had called me, and wanted to set up an interview.  I had applied to be a Merchandiser at the local Pepsi distributor in Colorado Springs, so this was good news.  Then Megan tells me "He wants you to call him back today." Well shit.  I'm about 11,000 feet up a GD mountain.  So I tell her to give me the number and I call the guy.

He starts in by saying he'd like to meet with me TODAY, and see about getting things started the next day.  I tell him that is probably not going to happen since I am currently sitting at the timberline on Pikes Peak.  He comes back with a simple "Oh.  Are you on a cell phone?"  No Captain Douche, I'm at a payphone at the nearest boulder.  We set up a time to meet the following day, and we end our call. That's right.  I just set up a job interview while climbing a mountain.

Chris and I continue on, and it hurts.  I begin bitching to myself, and to Chris as well.  He's dragging too, and bitching about as much as I am.  "This sucks!"  "Are we there yet?"  We are now up on the rock face of the mountain, and you can actually see the trail snaking clear across the face, and how it winds up to the top.  There is still a long way to go.  I must mention that I am now finally feeling the effects of the altitude.  I notice my breathing is a lot more labored in the thinner oxygen, and my heart is beating like a drum.

Meanwhile, Megan had started her journey up the mountain in her car.  Her adventure was no less amazing with the endless views and danger sitting at every corner.  The road literally is along the edge of the mountain as it winds to the top, and one wrong turn would send you cascading down the side of it.  This doesn't prevent Megan from snapping pictures on the way up though.  One of her better ones includes a cloud that happens to be right NEXT to her car.  Yeah, she was getting pretty high up.

On our journey across the face of the mountain, Chris and I came to a point where the trail turned at the edge of a cliff.  The bottom was probably a good thousand feet down, so it was a definitely time for photo.  We each took the other's picture standing next to the cliff, trying to look cool.  We weren't.

Finally we came to a section that was easily the most unstable and demanding climb of the trip.  Either that or we were just REALLY tired.  A sign saying "16 Golden Stairs" lay at the beginning of this section, and Chris said "This is it.  After this we are at the top."  Hell. Yes.  So we start up this rugged section, and I quickly surmise that the sign is misleading because we were on this thing for what seemed like FOREVER.  Finally, the trail starts to level out and we reach the TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.  Wow.

I turn around and look back at the city of Colorado Springs, and the trail below me.  It is incredible.  I quickly wonder where Megan is, and if she has been waiting or if she even made it up.  At the top of the mountain is a visitor center, so we head there.  We found Megan inside and she gave me a big hug.  One that said "I'm proud of you," and also said "nice job for not dying."

There was a sign inside the visitor center that read "Welcome to the top of Pikes Peak: Colorado's 30th highest peak."  I had to read that twice.  30th???  Are you shitting me?  After looking it up later, I found that Colorado has around 50 mountains that are over 14,000 feet high.  The highest is Mt. Elbert at 14,440, so it isn't THAT much higher that Pikes Peak, but STILL!  No matter, I was still pretty proud of going up 7,800 feet on a 12.6 mile trail in about 5 1/2 hours.  Not too bad.

After a rest, and some required pictures off the top of the mountain, we all piled into Megan's car to make the trip down the mountain.  There were signs everywhere to make sure you were aware of your car's brakes.  Obviously you were going to be using them a lot, but one needs to be careful not to over-use them.  Megan's car was a manual transmission, so this definitely helped to not abuse the brakes.  She would leave the car in a lower gear, and let the engine restrict how fast we could go.  Part way down the mountain was an area for people to pull over to let their brakes cool down.  There was a ranger of some kind that was there helping people, and telling them to pull over if their wheels were too hot.  The guy let Megan know she was doing an "excellent" job of mountain driving, and her car was fine.

Finally, we made it off the mountain and made our way over to Manitou Springs and Chris' car.  We dropped him off at his car, and headed home.  By the time we had picked up my car and made it home, my muscles said "no more."  I could hardly walk, and ended up sitting in the tub for like an hour trying to relax everything.

By the next day though, I was pretty much OK.  I definitely wouldn't have been like that 10 year old girl and hiked the mountain again a second straight day though.  That was crazy.  And yes, I just admitted a 10 year old girl is more fit than I am.


Miss a previous Monday Morning Story?  Click HERE to catch up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Step One: Cut A Hole In A Box

Here is a left-over from the Christmas season that I forgot to post.  I think it is appreciated year-round though.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 51

The Time Mookie And The Gang Went And Saw The Movie "Showgirls"

Jessie Spano rocking it 80's style
Remember the movie "Showgirls?"  This was the GAWWD-AWFUL movie that starred none-other than Elizabeth Berkley....AKA Jessie Spano on TV's "Saved By The Bell."  

While Berkley served as decent eye candy on that show, she could not hold a candle to the queen of that show - Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.  Unfortunately for my perversions, Tiff apparently has more of a picky eye when it comes to choosing movie roles.

The story about why Berkely chose this role was that she wanted to break out of the squeaky clean "Jessie Spano" image she portrayed on that show.  Needless to say, we wanted to see her breakout of this clean image as well.

A fun fact: The movie "Showgirls" was the 1st movie with an NC-17 rating to have a wide theater release.  As most theaters look at the NC-17 rating as a curse, there were very few theaters that were even going to carry the film.  HOWEVER!  Since we were in a college town, the local theater was good enough to show the movie for a particular week.  Phone calls were made, and group of us made plans to take in showing of the Jessie Spano sex flick together at everyone's earliest convenience.  This group included Rick(*), Junior(*), Kreeg(*), Megan(*), and myself.

While I will not sit here and review the movie for you, I will mention 3 highlights to the entire film.
Showgirls movie poster

1.  The first time you see Berkley totally naked, it is quite a moment.  It is a moment of excitement, disappointment, and then hilarity.  This is how the experience goes -
Excitement - Whoa!  She's naked!  Jessie Spano is NAKED!  Wow!
Disappointment - Once the novelty of her being naked wears off, you quickly realize she is more attractive WITH CLOTHING.  To be honest, she doesn't have a remarkable figure.
Hilarity - The first time you see her naked she is giving some dude a lap dance, and it is just funny.  I don't know why, but it is.  Should it be?  No.

2.  The pool scene where she totally bangs Kyle MacLachlan is the most hilariously epic sex scene in a movie ever.  It was so great - Rick yelled out "YES!!" during this particular scene and the audience laughed their asses off.  It was a thrashing splash-fest of awesomeness.

3.  Gina Gershon gets pushed down a huge flight of stairs by Berkely and breaks her pelvis. This of course results in Berkley getting the lead spot and becoming the new star in their topless show at the Stardust.

Other than that, its just a lot of words and random topless nudity.  Half-way through the film, any excitement towards the gratuitous nudity will have worn off as most of the actresses in the film are topless during the dance numbers.  The roughest part of the film is where there is violent scene between one of the female dancers and a few guys that is hard to watch.  However, it is redeemed by Berkley's character kicking the living hell out of the guy later in the film.

Eventually, Berkley's character makes up with Gershon's character, they briefly make out, and then Berkley leaves Las Vegas as the movie ends in a less-than-spectacular fashion.  That's it.

As we all left the theater, we were all in agreement that Showgirls was a horrible film. That is, except for Kreeg.  He actually said the words "I don't know guys, I thought it was pretty good."  To this day (as far as I know), he still thinks Showgirls was a good movie.

I'm so excited!  I'm so excited! I'm...so...SCARED!
One could argue the movie was "so bad, it was good" I suppose, but truthfully...its bad.  One thing is for certain though:  It does not come close to topping the "Jessie taking amphetamines" episode of Saved By The Bell.  That could never ever be topped by anything.  Unless of course Tiffani-Amber Thiessen has a change of heart and does an epic NC-17 flick.  That would be like f'n Christmas if that happened.

This movie also created an endless joke between my wife and I.  There used to be an actual "show" at the Stardust in Las Vegas called "Enter the Night."  I always joked that the signs advertising it should say "Enter the Night - Starring Jessie Spano as 'The Night.'"

But back to the movie - while many would say the redeeming factor to the entire movie was seeing Berkley totally naked, I have to go out on a limb and personally say that nothing topped Rick yelling out an excited "YES!!" during the sex scene.  THAT made the movie.  It's too bad no one else had that experience other than the approximately 20 people in that theater that night, otherwise Showgirls could have made a lot more money.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Miss a previous Monday Morning Story?  You better go HERE and check the list!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Is This Ad For?

You might have to do a double or a triple take on this one.  Maybe "peace of mind" means something else to the hotel people. Or you are just a pervert.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Don't Remember This One

Looks like Papa Bear is stepping things up a bit.  Brother Bear needs to get his shit together...


Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What Is Mookie Listening To?

What is Mookie Listening To?

Today it is the group "My Chemical Romance" and their 2010 album "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys."

I stumbled onto My Chemical Romance (MCR) a few years ago with their single "Teenagers" from their 2006 album "The Black Parade."  When I checked out "Danger Days" I was blown away.  Almost every song on the album is good.  You know how most albums have songs that are horrible and you go out of your way to skip them?  You can listen to Danger Days straight through without feeling the need to skip something. Well....I can anyway.

Tons of similarities and influences are heard throughout the album: Beatles, U2, Led Zeppelin, and punk just to name a few.

Songs on the album I totally recommend are:
Track 2: Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
Track 3: Bulletproof Heart
Track 4: SING
Track 5: Planetary (Go!)
Track 15: Vampire Money

Track 3 (Bulletproof Heart) is my favorite.  You may have heard "Sing" if you are a big fan of the show "Glee" as I understand they sang that one.  I love that one as well.

Check it out and tell me what you think!

I Love Parks And Rec



Monday, January 07, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 50

The Time Mookie Tested (False) Positive For Syphilis

Have you ever donated plasma?  I must tell you that it is easy money if you have 90 minutes to blow twice a week, and are not scared off by the thought or sight of blood and big f'n needles. The entertainment factor in a busy plasma center is easily a "10" if it is getting close to the weekend too.  The reason being is that most of the people that have 90 minutes to blow twice a week, and will subject themselves to needles for $30-$40 bucks a week are typically college kids and weird unemployed people. While I fell into neither of those categories, I found myself in the situation of needing an easy $30 a week and a bit of time on my hands to do it.

If you have never donated plasma before, let me fill you in on the process...
After your initial 2 1/2 hour appointment (where you sit around, get a very lame health assessment, and they document your personal information) you get the chance to attempt to donate plasma.  I say "attempt" because every time you go to donate plasma you have to pass a bunch of little health tests before they will take your bodily fluids for money. They take your temperature (orally), take your blood pressure, and prick your finger for blood to make sure you have enough iron. If you fail any of these tests, you can't donate AND you don't get paid. Something as simple as drinking an iced beverage right before coming into the center can screw the whole thing. This happened to me once where my mouth was still cold from the soda I had just drank, and it caused my temperature to read too low.  I protested, but to no avail.  It was pretty much bullshit.

If you pass all of this, you are cleared to donate. They send you into big room with rows and rows of contoured vinyl couch/chairs, and next to each chair is a weird looking machine.  This machine goes through a variety of cycles where it will draw the blood out of your body from a needle they stick in your arm, remove the plasma, and then push the plasma-less blood back into your body through the same needle.  It doesn't hurt (other than getting stuck by a needle), and if the needle is properly inserted you can't feel anything.  You don't know if the blood is coming or going unless you pay attention to clicks and noises the machine makes as it goes through it's cycles of drawing and pushing your blood.

The entertainment I previously mentioned comes from the possible side-effects of donating plasma.  Some people are apt to get light headed, pass out, or even go into some sort of seizure.  This is usually related to the person's diet, and what they did or did not eat prior to donating plasma.  Obviously doing this on an empty stomach is a no-no.  During the three months I donated plasma, I watched more than one person pass out, and all the "plasma techs" come running over and try to stabilize the plasma donor.  Once the donor comes around, they are more embarrassed than anything.

Then you have the plasma techs who suck at phlebotomy and venipuncture. In other words, they have difficulty in finding and/or sticking a person's veins to draw blood.  I saw this one girl get stuck 2 or 3 times in each arm while they were trying to find a vein.  They never found one, and reluctantly sent her on her way.  I'm not sure she got paid for her time, but I bet she bruised up real nice.  You learn real quick who the good and bad techs are, but sometimes you can't help who you get.  Occasionally you will see the results of an improperly placed needle, and someone will have blood all over the place.  Its pretty classy when it happens.

My own personal experiences in donating were uneventful.  They were always able to tap my big veins pretty easily, and I never had any ill-effects from the donation process.  That is of course until what turned out to be my LAST donation.  Just as I was finishing up, they took samples of my blood before they cut me loose.  It was standard procedure that they do this to everyone every three months to make sure their suppliers of plasma were clean and good.  I wasn't worried by this as I am not a drug using prostitute.

I scheduled my appointment times for the next week and headed out.

I arrived the following week, and signed into the computer to get into the queue for pre-donation testing.  The computer told me there was an issue and I would need to speak with a lab tech. WTH?  So I get a tech's attention and ask what is going on.  She looks up my chart, makes a face, and says they found an issue with my lab work.  My account is in a "holding" status, and I will be unable to donate until the hold is resolved.  The tech looks at me with this troubled - but yet sympathetic look, and hands me an official looking form.  She says I will need to call into the center with the number on the form, and speak with the nurse .  Um Ok.  So I leave disgruntled at the fact I am being screwed out of $20, but also confused at what the problem is.

When I got back to work I called the number on the form and hoped I could resolve the matter.  It rang several times until it dumped into a voice mailbox for the "head nurse" at the plasma center.  So I leave a message telling her my name, my donor id, and that I am calling about the alleged issue with my blood work.  I hang up and can't wait to hear what the deal is.  A day goes by before the head nurse finally calls me back. She asks if I can come into the center to meet and discuss the matter. I say "Sure, I'll be up after work about 5."  She tells me that's fine, and we cordially concluded.

I called Megan and told her what the nurse said, and that I had to stop at the plasma center on the way home.  It was apparent Megan was just as curious as I was as to what the hell was going on.

I arrived at the plasma center, and told a tech that I was there to see the head nurse.  The tech disappeared for a minute, and then came back and told me to take a seat.  Eventually the head nurse called my name and asked me into her office.  She starts talking to me and tries to explain what happened. She then proceeds to hand me a letter that they were going to send me.  She says that the letter "says it all," and she is going to read it to me as I read along.

It starts out explaining the need for the blood draw....blah blah blah.....standards and practices....safety..etc.  Then it says, "during the initial test of your blood, our test produced a positive result for syphilis."

Wait. What? Syphilis.  Syphilis?  Seriously?

The nurse goes on to explain that they did further specific testing and those tests came back "negative" for syphilis.  Therefore the initial test produced what they called a "false-positive" result.

She and the letter explained that the initial test is very sensitive to various things, and apparently this false-positive thing was not uncommon.  This makes me feel a little better to know this, especially the fact that I don't have syphilis.  However...she tells me that it is the center's "policy" that if a test comes back with a positive (even a proven false-positive), that donor is no longer able to donate plasma at that center again.  Ever.

Well, this is bullshit.  I was just told that I tested positive for syphilis, but that I don't really have syphilis, and because this place uses a shitty and flaky test, I can no longer donate plasma.  Needless to say my emotions were on a roller coaster here.  The lady apologized and said she understood if I was embarrassed or anything, and that I shouldn't be since I definitely didn't have syphilis.  She apologized for the "unfortunate circumstance" of basically being banned from the plasma center, but that was their policy and it was not up for consideration.  Well F.

So I leave and start driving home still going through a variety of emotions.  One of my uncertainties lied in the fact I was going to have to tell my wife the reason for all of this crap, and the fact I was banned from the plasma center.  "Hey guess what honey, I tested positive for an STD!"

Seriously, who gets syphilis?  I have never heard of anyone getting syphilis in the recent decade.

So I call my wife, and she asks what the deal is.  I tell her flat-out:  "Well, I had a false-positive for syphilis."

"WHAT????" is was what I heard on the other end.

I explained the deal, and after a variety of questions regarding the fact if I am ho-bag or not, we hung up.  Thankfully my wife trusts me and did not accuse me of being an STD carrying jerk-wad.  Well, she did.... but it was in good humor.  It still comes up from time to time and she likes to make fun of me.  Yeah.  Hilarious.

Just in case there was ANY lingering suspicion or confusion about the matter, I had my doctor do a blood draw to check for syphilis at my next doctor's appointment.  My doctor and his nurse were quite  amused at my predicament, but also quite understanding and reassuring about all of it.  It of course came back "negative," and provided me some relief about the deal.  But I was not satisfied with being told I couldn't donate plasma anymore.

I decided to pen an articulate - but yet scathing - letter to the plasma center appealing their verdict identifying me as a "dirty donor."   I re-iterated the fact their own tests proved that I did not have syphilis, and how my own private test done by my physician proved that I was in fact NOT a dirty donor.  When I was done, I felt I had I made a pretty solid argument that their testing and rules were faulty in premise and practice.

However, they sent me a letter back a few weeks letter saying their decision is based on center policy, and that they have standards and safety measures to follow.  It did little to address my comments, and basically said "its our way or the highway."

Yeah screw you plasma center.


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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013

Bad Nickname

I think calling her a "tramp" is going a bit far.  Hussy...maybe.  But certainly not a tramp.


Thursday, January 03, 2013