Monthly Archives: November 2011

The joys of life in these automated 20-teens

Used to not have to sweat this, but today I got my electric bill in the email.

The Dallas trip is great, but I’m pushing myself way too hard trying to fit everything in, family, friends, business. So I’m headed back to San Antonio tomorrow. I’ve got to get in a better routine. Fortunately, the latest damn pill, Ambien, is actually effective in allowing me 7 hours of solid sleep per night. If only I could quit taking it at 9pm, which is why I’m headed back a little early.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Smoker Talk, Segment 1

My little buddy, the head-banging poker player with the hippie hair, the Great AlCan’tHang, asked for smoker recommendations, and I quote, “not looking for anything dramatic”. Well, that’s something that I know a little bit about, though I still consider myself a student of the art.

My first thought was that, as long as you’re not looking to become the neighborhood pit-master, the best smoker for the money, is the Weber Smokey Mountain:

I used one of those for Beer Can Chicken, racks of baby-backs, brisket flats, sausage, pretty much anything for 1-4 peeps. It produces an excellent, even smoke. The only drawback is fire control…if it gets hot, it’s hard to damp down. That’s my opinion, and in my opinion, fire control (really, heat control) is the hardest part to learn, and I still haven’t gotten it completely down.

The next thing I said was, if you want something that looks like a real smoker, with an offset fire-box, a flue, and a thermometer, but don’t want to buy a truck to trailer it around, go with this nice New Braunfels number, the Hondo:

I happen to have one of those on the deck — I got it at a garage sale for $20. It works great on all of the above, and it has more grill real estate for dealing with heat and/or bigger parties. New Braunfels makes some quality gear, too…it won’t fall apart on you like something from the Dollar General.

Of course, I’ve got the giganto humongo New Braunfels thing that’s bigger than the bed of my pickup. I used it exactly 0 times last year, which is an embarrassment of the first order. Well, I was busy, and I have no friends in this pitiless city, so, well, whatever. I’m going to try to find a home for it at my uncle’s ranch, where I can go visit it from time to time. It’s truly an awesome five-at-a-time brisket smoker. Maybe even six…

This makes me want to cry…

Report — Approval of Houston Astros sale conditional on move to American League – ESPN.


Major League Baseball told Houston businessman Jim Crane it would not approve his purchase of the Houston Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the American League, The Associated Press has learned.

Crane was forced to agree to move the sale along, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made by MLB or the Astros. Approval of the sale could be announced as early as Thursday at a meeting of baseball executives in Milwaukee.

Crane reportedly agreed to the move in exchange for a drop in the sales price valued earlier this year at $680 million. The person who spoke to the AP could not confirm the sales price.

An inter-league game, every day of the season…yuck.  I detest inter-league play.

A new set of playoff teams…yuck.  Get ready for the Boys Of November.

All around, another awesome Beelzebud Selig move.  How can the fans dynamite him out of that seat????

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

And I ain’t getting much. All those “damn pills” I’m supposed to take have utterly disrupted any kind of rational sleep cycle. It usually works like this:

  • 5am: wake up, take a pain pill
  • 6am: fall asleep in front of a droning business channel, like BTV
  • 7am: wake up groggy as hell
  • eat something or drink something…CALORIES!
  • nod off at desk
  • 10am: take a pain pill
  • go back to top & do it all again

The hours aren’t regular, either. Sometimes I’ll sleep for two hours at a time, sometimes for 45 minutes. The docs said they’d give me a pill to make me sleep, and all of a sudden, my life is sounding like a Rolling Stones song. I don’t know what’s more stressful — taking a pill to counteract another pill, or just gritting my teeth. I think the pain would eventually keep me from sleeping more than four hours, but still — four glorious hours of sleep is quite appealing right now.


I don’t like that this has turned into a bitch-blog, either. Well, people wants to knows.

30-for-30 & 6-for-6

Well, now, that’s all wrapped up. I had my 30th and last radiation treatment today at the Chernobyl Machine. I’m including a picture here for no real purpose. I finished my sixth and last chemo treatment last Wednesday. And so that concludes Round One. Of how many, only the Lord knows, and this is completely in His hands. I now get a month off, more or less, with scans to come to see what the results are. Apparently, the Chernobyling causes tumor shrinkage well past the end of treatment, and probably the same with chemo. The one thing I’m pretty sure about is that I will have to go into the “strong” chemo treatment for Round Two, which is one day every three weeks. Apparently, this will be where I go bald?

Just having this initial round completed is a big mental lift, let me tell you. I wasn’t really prepared for that.

The Chernobyler, or as Tom calls it, The Beast

Now, onward. I have some goals, pretty lightweight ones, really, but I need to be working on these things over the next few weeks.

  • Get off the dope.
  • Get some strength back with weights & walking.
  • Get off the coffin nails for good.
  • Get back to North Texas.
  • Get ready for the “strong” chemo.

That’s really all I have the lucidity for right now, folks. I’m gonna go eat (another) bowl of soup, and take (another) nap. Thanks for all of yall’s support, both the ones who’ve kicked in to the Collection Plate, and the ones who’ve prayed or said a few kind words for me, or bought through my Amazon link…it’s all appreciated greatly, and it’s beyond humbling.



A Small Charitable Request


That link (^^^up^^^there^^^) is to, and includes my Associate ID. I’ve been an Associate for a loooooong time, and never really bothered to pimp it much, usually because I forget. I think I’ve made $10 in the last five or six years. Well, now things are an eensy bit different, and so I’m asking for your help. If you’re reading this, you’re online, and if you’re online, you probably have shopped at Amazon and will continue to do so. By using my link above, with my Associate ID, you will be contributing to me at no additional cost to you. Sweet deal…win-win-win.

I suggest you click-n-drag that link to your bookmark bar or Favorites folder or whatever you use for organizing your links (browsers are hard), so it’s readily available for your E-Z ordering needs.

I’ll also be pimping Amazon a little more regularly here, almost always with personal recommendations, but sometimes with general categories and stuff that looks cool. I hope you don’t find it annoying, but times change, circumstances change, and it’s a must-do instead of a wanna-do these days.

The absolute first thing I recommend, if you’re a regular Amazon shopper and you’re not already a member, is an Amazon Prime Membership. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best deal on the internet tubes today. For $79/year, you get

  • Free two-day shipping on almost every item
  • Instant streaming of thousands of movies and teevee shows
  • Access to the Kindle Lending Library

I’ve run four years of my own various businesses using Amazon Prime for laptops, hard drives, networking gear, reference manuals, single-board computers, all manner of office supplies (like printers), and on and on and on. That two-day shipping is like having a warehouse full of stuff just up the road. Even *I* can plan around a two-day window. If you’re a regular Amazon user, you’re probably already a member, but just in case you’re not, I very highly recommend it. Heck, Amazon is even selling ammo these days!

So, I took the damn pills!

And slept for about six hours, in two hour stretches. So I’ve got the graveyard shift…yall can still catch a few cocktails before last call, if you get gone. Tell everyone I said Hi.

While I was sawing logs, my sainted mother saw fit to go marketing and fill up my pantry with enough hydration & calorie-rich products to float the USS Iowa. There’s nothing quite like opening up the cupboard door and seeing a family size jar of chicken bouillon and 20 cans of chicken & rice soup. I’m truly blessed, and that’s not a joke.

The main problem with the graveyard shift is how boring the internet tubes are these days. And the pain pills cause mental cotton-candy brain, so reading a book is right out, unless it’s a Golden Reader, and even that would be tough to follow. I honestly don’t know how people function in society with oxycodone in their system.

PS This is a good internet radio station from the land of windmills and wooden shoes…I have no idea how I found it: Arrow FM Jazz. They play Steely Dan followed by James Brown, and how can you not dig that, baby?

Half-time of the Super Bowl

That’s what I felt like — the star running back, having gained 150 yards in the first half, so dehydrated I needed an IV. That’s what I got today, when I went to see the doc. He got all over me about drinking more fluids, and eating more calories…I dipped down to 199, and my BP was 89/63. After the IV, it was a respectable 110/81.

This has been the worst week of all. Big pain from swallowing anything at all. Liquid, solid, hot, cold, doesn’t matter. Though cold is worse. My entire rib cage feels on fire when I swallow. So, doctor says, MORE PAIN PILLS! I hate that, he looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I wasn’t full-timing them, but I hate being dehydrated, too. No, I don’t need pot, so all you pot-heads step off, quit telling me to go get some weed.

No more chemo for a month or more, and only three more radiation treatments. I’m almost done with Round 1, or the first quarter, or the front nine, or whatever you want to call this. I’ll be Churchillian, and say, “…the end of the beginning.”