Saturday, February 24, 2018

An Achilles Heel

For example, soap residue or water spots could effectively "blind" an autonomous car. A traditional car wash's heavy brushes could jar the vehicle's sensors, disrupting their calibration and accuracy. Even worse, sensors, which can cost over $100,000, could be broken.

A self-driving vehicle's exterior needs to be cleaned even more frequently than a typical car because the sensors must remain free of obstructions. Dirt, dead bugs, bird droppings or water spots can impact the vehicle's ability to drive safely.

True Lyrics of Duel of the Fates

Two Sets of Sandhill Cranes, at Different Levels, Circling in Opposite Directions

Yesterday, I decided to drop some letters off at the mailbox- maybe ten blocks, round trip. Never thought I’d make it home. I don’t like this invalid lifestyle.
Worried about long term heart damage. Was just discussing with a doctor friend about my diagnosis. I have little hard info. to give her, so she's not sure the NSTEMI myocardial infarction diagnosis is even correct, and that it might be just myocarditis. In any event, there is a 10-15% recurrence rate on myocarditis, and other problems can result from repeated attacks.

Apparently myocarditis is fairly-unusual: only a few thousand diagnoses nationwide annually. Can lead to heart transplantation. I can sense my cardiologist's curiosity about my case. I think I prefer dying of an exotic ailment rather than being butchered on a highway in West Sacramento in the middle of the night. Still, this week, I'll look into the hospital's cardio rehab gym. Maybe I can still duck the Grim Reaper's scythe. And end up on that West Sacramento highway after all.

Bag O'Tweets

This Is What Republican/NRA Terror Has Reduced Us To

We've fallen so far:
On the afternoon of Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, where they learned that a student had been completing a math problem that required drawing the square-root sign.

Students in the group began commenting that the symbol, which represents a number that when multiplied by itself equals another number, looked like a gun.

After several students made comments along those lines, another student said something the sheriff’s office said could have sounded like a threat out of context.

Police searched the student’s home, where they found no guns or any evidence that he had any access to guns. Authorities also wrote there was no evidence the student had any intent to commit harm.

“The student used extremely poor judgment in making the comment, but in light of the actual circumstances, there was clearly no evidence to support criminal charges,” the department wrote, adding that the school board had been contacted to determine any disciplinary action for the student.

Friday, February 23, 2018

"Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" Reference Posts Updated

I've updated my reference posts regarding filming locations for "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" with pictures from my recent early-February trip to Albuquerque. I now have eighteen reference posts on the subjects, so every time I take a trip to the Duke City, it's a heavy lift to whip the information into shape. I don't travel often, so I'm pleased I got to so many of the sites I sorely-needed, particularly:

1.) Wexler-McGill law firm interior;
2.) HHM Boardroom;
3.) Westside Jail/Girl Scout Camp/Homeless shelter;
4.) Bernalillo County Treasurer's Office, basement of Bernalillo County Governmental Center;
5.) One Executive Center.

Plus, I rephotographed many familiar sites, and was pleased that there were so few changes to those iconic places. Albuquerque changes rapidly, and a measure of stability is welcome.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Weaponizing “Falling Down” - “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” Filming Location and Set Semiotics

Here is a YouTube video of the talk I gave in Albuquerque two weeks ago, on February 9th, at the SWPACA 2018 conference (my last practice run). The talk concerns itself with symbolism and coded messages in the backgrounds of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," and continues with the theme of my talk last year. The talk is didactic, and runs 34:35. It may not be for everyone, but some will find it interesting. I find the subject fascinating!

There's one small error in the presentation. The star on the floor of the Bernalillo County Annex is not an applique, but terrazzo. The BCS crew simply used what was already there when they were ready for it.

Leonard Padilla, In Decline

I am sad to see this regarding fellow Sacramentan and 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall candidate, Leonard Padilla:
After decades of making headlines, Padilla not long ago quietly slipped out of Sacramento. He had suffered a debilitating stroke, and his life today in a Denver nursing home is nothing like his previous existence. He once chased down criminals and took swings at those in power, but today he can’t walk on his own. The formerly imposing figure has withered to 140 pounds. Photos of him today evoke Al Pacino at the end of “The Godfather Part III.” The man who ruled an empire now sits and watches life pass by him.

Story of My Life

Time To Snuff Out the NRA

Convincing Mimicry

If it sounds like a coyote...:
Investigators say Marsh was armed with a shotgun, wearing camouflage and using an electronic coyote caller when he set up on the ground near a tree, according to the Taylorsville Times. Dunn, who lives in the area, told deputies that he heard coyotes screaming and believed they had trapped something in a tree, the Times reported.

He went to investigate and thought he saw something “brown and gray” that looked like a coyote, media outlets report. Dunn fired two shots with an AR-15, striking Marsh twice in the chest. Marsh then stood up and yelled “stop shooting, you hit me,” according to the Observer’s news partner WBTV.

"Middle of Nowhere" Found in Montana

The Washington Post published a map of the most isolated towns in the United States, as measured by how long it takes for residents to drive to the nearest metropolitan area. The researchers measured communities that had populations of more than 1,000.

The top three communities are all in Montana. Glasgow took number one, Scobey took second and Wolf Point took third.

...Other isolated communities topping the list include Battle Mountain, Nevada; Presidio, Texas and a handful of cities in Kansas.

More on nowhere:

"Single Ladies"

Caitlin Kiley writes "My fiancé, Brian Klimowski, is one of those raptors!!"

Amusing Story About Contestants Slouching Their Way Through The Olympics

All she did was ski up and down the halfpipe, slowly and carefully. The only flair she showed came at the end of her run, when she skied out of the halfpipe backward. Not very impressive flair!

This performance was not a surprise to anyone who knew Swaney. She has become infamous on the World Cup halfpipe circuit for attending as many events as possible. She performs no tricks. She rarely falls down. She always finishes at or near the bottom of the standings.

How, then, did this pedestrian skier make it into the Olympics? Loopholes! “Women’s pipe skiing World Cups rarely see more than 30 competitors, so it’s not hard to meet the Olympic requirement for a top-30 finish,” writes Jason Blevins of the Denver Post. Swaney, who has aspired since childhood to make it to the Olympics, chose the least popular sport she could find, so that even if she was the absolute worst international competitor, she had a chance to qualify for the games just by showing up at World Cup events.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Proper Response to the Idiots

Fear The MRI

Walt sends this horror story:
A 6-year-old boy died after undergoing an MRI exam at a New York-area hospital when the machine's powerful magnetic field jerked a metal oxygen tank across the room, crushing the child's head.

The force of the device's 10-ton magnet is about 30,000 times as powerful as Earth's magnetic field, and 200 times stronger than a common refrigerator magnet.

Forrest Fenn Kills Again

Last year, my sister, nephew, and I had a great time searching for the treasure. You just have to know how to avoid going to extremes:
BILLINGS, Mont. - A 53-year-old Illinois man who fell to his death in Yellowstone National Park last year was looking for a supposed hidden cache of gold and jewels.

KULR-TV reports that Jeff Murphy of Batavia, Illinois, was looking for the treasurer that antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn says he stashed somewhere in the Rocky Mountains several years ago.

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Bye, Bye Life" - "All That Jazz"

My favorite movie musical sequence ever, and more pertinent than ever!

Serious as a Heart Attack

Monday in Albuquerque

I had a cold, starting about 2 weeks ago. The fever went away, then I went to New Mexico to give my annual talk to the Southwest Popular/American Cultural Association meeting. I continued to slowly-heal from the cold.

On Monday, the last day of my Albuquerque trip, I got a burning sensation on both sides of the sternum in the center of the chest. It wasn't much of a burning sensation. At first, I figured it was some new, opportunistic lung infection.

I paid a lunchtime visit to former-Sacramentan Bruce Warren. Bruce was once a reporter at the Auburn Journal. He fed me a turkey burger. Afterwards, I was having a bit of breathing issues, and feeling tired. Lugging suitcases around the Albuquerque Sunport, and reshooting "Breaking Bad" filming locations there, was hard. Like, really hard. Maybe getting back to sea level in Sacramento might be good.

Striving For a Normal Tuesday

Quiet morning and afternoon. Prepping blog updates featuring new photos from the trip. The mild burning sensation was still there in the chest, unchanged, and not moving around, which was curious for what I still assumed was a lung infection. Kind of dreading coming back to speed on "Carousel" rehearsals in Davis, given how long I had been gone. Regular Zumba class was at 6:30 p.m., but I'd have to leave early, in order to get to rehearsal in Davis at 7:30 p.m. (for which a late arrival was not a good idea).

Still, Zumba was hard. Like, really hard! I stayed only half-an-hour.

Rehearsal in Davis was less-demanding physically than Zumba, but weariness made rehearsal hard.

Valentine's Day

Wednesday morning, the mild burning sensation was unchanged in the center of the chest, but now I was a bit lightheaded too.

I talked to Carolyn Gregory. She called to welcome me back to Sacramento and wish me a Happy Valentine's Day. When I mentioned my symptoms she freaked out. Her husband also had had similar symptoms, and was reluctant to seek medical care. Carolyn's son arranged to rendezvous with Carolyn's husband at the hospital ER in Roseville. Her son made the rendezvous. Carolyn's husband never did. "Call an ambulance!!!" Carolyn urged. "Go now!!!" A bit too shrill for me, but I was beginning to get worried myself. Could it be I was having a cardiac event? Whatever was going on wasn't normal.

I called my doctor's office for an appointment. My regular doctor, Dr. Norene, wasn't available, but his colleague, Dr. Whitman was.

I drove myself in early. If I was having a coronary, it'd be better to have it at the doctor's office rather than at home. Doctors' appointment was for 2:40 p.m., but didn't get in until about 3:20 p.m.

Dr. Whitman listened to my story and decided to take an EKG. The EKG wasn't normal. She suspected atrial fibrillation. So, they ordered me to go to Sutter Medical Center.

I arrived at the Sutter Parking Garage B at 4:09 p.m., getting to the emergency room about 4:30 p.m.

They moved surprisingly-fast, taking chest X-Rays and blood samples. If I did have a heart attack, it would reveal itself. It's funny, I didn't feel terribly stressed. I'm supposed to be in the next DMTC show, but may have to drop out if anything bears fruit.

There's a lot of sick people here! Face masks galore. I recognized one woman from when I was here in December for the auto accident. She's on staff. Indicates I'm coming here too often.

They put me through some regimen. Nitroglycerin patch on chest. Blood thinner shot in belly. Two baby aspirin. Chest tightness started receding. Now I just felt like I had a cold.

One ER doctor who passed through said "massive" heart attack (based on elevated triponin levels). Not good. They're unhappy I waited so long to come down. My ER doctor, Dr. Gordon, said "You realize you're not going home tonight."

Well, here I was at Hotel California, aka Sutter Medical Center, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). Apparently I had a heart attack, probably on Monday, on my last day in Albuquerque. I would spend the night, as they do whatever it is they do here. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

I was moved from the ER to Cardiac ICU. 4th floor, new tower on Thursday at 5:30 a.m. A Heparin drip was started.

Thursday, February 15th

I'm impressed with people's skill sets. Good people!

The latest doc in here, cardiologist Dr. Xu, didn't like the term "massive" heart attack used by ER doc last night. Not a medical term. Maybe not so massive.

Been drifting into sleep. Heparin drips. Erlynda and Chris came by. Waiting for an angiogram later.

I had an angiogram Thursday evening. Results were good, but with enough mystery to confuse. My arteries were clear, so no balloon treatment was necessary, nor stents, nor bypass surgeries. Still, blood flow is unusually low, and the arteries sludgy, which puts me at risk of clots and strokes. To Dr. Huang, I appeared to have the heart of an ex-smoker. Funny, that. I've never smoked (except possibly childhood second hand smoke). It's possible the heart attack was caused by a myocardial infection - maybe a virus from my recent cold (or flu). So, mysteries, but the news tonight is basically upbeat.

They saw signs of arteriosclerosis. Not enough for a blockage, but enough. Apparently the catheter didn't have a camera. They released radioactive dye and imaged it on a screen. They kept shifting the screen around during the procedure. I tried looking at the screen while they worked but my position was awkward. They were concerned my blood pressure was way too low - in the 70's - so they took me off the nitroglycerin patch. Interestingly, my cough, which had been gone while I had the patch, slowly returned.

Friday Morning Sunrise

I was having sleep apnea issues last night. They eventually responded with oxygen.

Nurse Rose took me on a short walk down the hall and back. I have to be careful. Jacked on so much heparin that a trip and stumble could be fatal. No daredevil stuff today! Whoa! Unexpectedly demanding work, this walking! Getting back to Zumba will take awhile!

I talked to Dr. Ikeda, one of the cardiologists. He's concerned that triponin levels keep rising (enzymes released into blood stream when heart damage has occurred). Ikeda suspects a blood clot occurred when a cholesterol plaque burst. I might have had a stroke, but instead had a heart attack. He recommends getting religion on cholesterol.

Here's my bed in the ICU.

Status Board.

Nurse Rose (on the right). Great assistance, attitude, attention!

Computer monitor.

The DMTC Group Comes For a Visit!

Dannette Vassar, Marc Valdez, Jan Isaacson, Steve Isaacson (photo by Nurse Rose).

Move From Intensive Care

Goodbye Room 4612; Hello Room 4316.

Fourth Floor Bridge Over L Street.

Nurse Benjamin and my new bed.

I liked the nurses here too, particularly Nurse Yuliya.

My Little World

Sunday Morning Amble (including novel view of Sutter’s Fort)

Triponin levels apparently peaked, so that's good. 0.06 is normal, first measurement was 26.2, peak was 57.1. New blood sample will be taken in 2 hours. My arms are pincushions. Official diagnosis is Non-ST (NSTEMI) mycocardial infarction.

They tried to get more blood from me at one point, but I sent the phlebotomist back since I had just given blood. Four visitors, including Erlynda. Learned that someone else in the Zumba class, had a very similar infection, and she's had heart surgery and repeated hospitalizations since December. I didn't know she had these problems. It's also a possible vector. I've done high-five's with her. (Sounding paranoid, but who gets heart attacks like these?)


Sunday morning amble

Sutter's Fort.

A patient on the sidewalk below with his IV rack gazes at the hospital's statue of John Sutter.


The Ewey Clan Came For a Visit!

Well, my cardiologist Dr. Xu signed off on my release, but he’s only the most-important in a hierarchy of doctors and nurses who need to sign off before I can be released. The others will come soon. Since I won’t get out before tomorrow I might well get my heart-wall MRI tomorrow rather than Tuesday.

MRI Test

A sleepless night, per usual hospital custom. Headache. The plan is to be released today, but whether or not I have an MRI first depends on whether a trained technician is available on Presidents Day. I’m worried my body is setting up for opportunistic infections - diarrhea and gum inflammation due to no available dental floss - and it’s now probably better to leave this environment and go home.

I got rid of the immediate gun inflammation by using an old tea bag for floss. This oversight is kind of disturbing. Sutter always badgers me with survey requests, and this oversight needs to be noted.

Holy crap! Just got out of the MRI machine! Endurance run! Started laughing though, when it sounded like the high-tech machine was farting. Spelunking experience back in the day came in handy in this tight space. It's hard to hold your breath for controlled, extended times after a heart attack. Requires focus.

My helpful MRI operator. "Take a deep breath. Now breathe all the way out, and hold!"

The MRI. Strange experience! I loved its tribal thrumming. Reminded me of the soundscape underground with the Morlochs in "The Time Machine" (1960). MRI report will be available this afternoon. MRI won't change treatment plan, but it may reveal weaknesses that need to be monitored going forward.

Continual shifting of goalposts regarding release. At first it was getting a drop in triponin levels, then getting a MRI, then getting MRI results report. Dr. Singh was nowhere to be found, but Dr. Orozco appeared when I started complaining.

According to Dr. Orozco, MRI shows damage consistent with a heart attack. No details available yet.

From the nurses.

Fortunately the nurse wheeled me to the truck: otherwise, it might have too taxing to do pharmacy errands. Fortunately the parking garage clerk waived the $50 fee despite the fact I didn't have a doctor's letter (a need none of the nurses mentioned who looked into parking for me). The clerk saw my discharge papers and wasn't inclined to charge me. Thank you! Met Erlynda at Rite Aid. Fortunately the medications didn't cost much, and fortunately I didn't have too far to drive.

Final wheelchair roll out of the hospital, Monday evening, Feb. 19th, about 5 p.m. Mary Young arrived for a visit just as I was leaving. At home now, where I will hole up for awhile.

From the pedestrian skyway crossing 29th Street at L Street, two turkeys can be seen crossing 29th Street just outside the pedestrian crossing. Just weird.