Ann Arbor Ants, Washington Apple

From Jusby’s Blog about visiting Frogtown~

Orion and I took Grampa Dave’s Camry into Ann Arbor to check out the Fairy Doors. It’s got some issues: the driver’s side window won’t go down and it doesn’t have air conditioning.

We’d gone shopping, and I’d picked up a bag of Granny Smith apples… from Washington. I’d packed his lunch box with some bananas, a PB&J, a protein bar and an apple.

On the drive Orion yells, “There’s an ant in the car! There’s two! I see them!” I let him know that it’s no big deal. Later he’s complaining that he can’t get his lunch box zipped back up. I let him know that it’s no big deal.

Then we park the Camry and start traipsing around A2 looking for fairy doors.

Left in the car the ants are traipsing too. When we get back I notice the unzipped lunch box. I reach in and pull out his half eaten apple.

It’s covered black in ants. I scream, “Ahhh!” and throw it into the bushes, “How do you like them apples!?” Then I do the heebie-jeebie shiver.

Later, Grampa Dave puts down bug powder to kill ’em. He’s not too surprised. The Camry has had previous tenants: mice, squirrels, snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails.

Dad’s all about killing bugs on our trip. He’s got an elaborate set-up to attract, stick and poison the vicious deer flies. Apparently, they love the color blue.

an earlier version, later the cups grew to the size of plastic gallon pots spray painted blue

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Wyeknot Demo Animation

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1121000&dest=24295]

Fun unicycle with bubbles circles animated logo, made by David Y. Wright of Wyeknot forensic animation

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New Puppy for Grumps

It’s Peabody Magical Mystery Tour.

Learning Stick Technique from Karma Chocolate Pudding

Peabody and Grump’s destroyed slipper

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Chapter 1 – In the beginnings

I went digging through archives. Some of it unreadable 5 ¼ floppies, tapes of various arcane formats & long hard drives long rusted solid.

I think I found a cache of Frog Tales – a few are hieroglyphically encoded – possibly Word Perfect 0.001 or something. Others are text files and seem to be decipherable, although spelling is atrocious and formatting is quite peculiar.

Frogtown Tales

Chapter 1 – In the beginnings

Part 1 getting the land

We had been looking for new house ever since Julie moved in to McMunn, March 1984.

It’s a long story about McMunn and pretty boring too. The place sucks and I just keep it fixed up enough so it doesn’t fall down. Julie wanted to replace the moldy tattered carpet but I pointed out that it would be a major hassle and we wanted to move to a bigger place any way.

I keep caulking up the cracks to keep the gales to under force 4.

So we started looking. Actually Julie started looking. We looked at a bunch of houses, but mostly I couldn’t stand them.

I hate houses that look like houses. The quintessential house. The archetypal house.

I like the Kaufman house (Falling Waters designed by Frank Lloyd Wright)

I’m not sure I’d like to live there. It is one effort to be something besides the same.

I’m not rational on this.

The more I looked at houses, and condos, the more I developed this reaction.

The Sameness. The Conformity. These houses were all trying to look the same. Only more so.

I had been driving the same route into Dearborn – to sell my time (and perhaps my soul) to Ford

Outside of Plymouth, before I had to leave the country roads, and merge with the lemmings on Gerbil Trail, I-96, there was a piece of woods I passed. I observed this land for several months. Like a time lapse movie. I took a frame every morning a mental frame. It started in the fall

First there was a sign in front. “Shady Oaks Condominiums”

Then there were yellow construction vehicles. Like the Vogon Constructor Fleet.

Then there were no trees. Just naked brown land.

It stayed that way for all winter. When there was snow, it helped hide the raw ground. But snow never last long in this area. Mostly it was dirty and nasty.

Then the streets.

Then the building. All identical. They looked much like the ones in the next development.

Then the sod and a few pencil trees.

Then people.

The people merged with the other lemmings.

Something in me keeps screaming “I am NOT a lemming.”

as I merge with the others…

Maybe it is the style – lots of odd gables, for no apparent reason seem to be popular. and half brick and half wood siding. But whole massive developments of the same model.

Anyway I just couldn’t be satisfied with what we found.

And the property.

Maybe I’m getting to be a hermit. I’d rather not have to see other people when I look out my window.

It had to be physically interesting – 3d geography – like hills.

And trees. And a view. Of something other than ugly lemming houses.

What did Julie want?

A place stuff grows and to grow stuff.

And to be able to go on a walk with out leaving our property.

And privacy.

And close to her client’s and work. Not more than 20 minutes drive time

We took a map and drew a circle around the area.

We made lists of what we liked and didn’t. Julie said she wanted the property to have “Hansel & Gretel”. It took a while to figure out what exactly that meant. Best described as heavy woods – with trees on ether side, covering drive or walk.

As we drove around we identified places with differing degrees of H&G.

We looked and looked. One or two were just ok. We got further and further from the center of our zone. A couple of years went by.

This one was too flat, that one too small, too far, too many neighbors, too expensive…

To be continued….

Grumps

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a Tadpole Tale

Current temp at Frogtown is 4.7° actual.  Wind chill is about -20.

Got some nifty snow devils going out in the field.

        Not to be perverse or anything, but we could use a little global warming in our micro cosmism

Which reminds me of a story (from The Tadpole Tales)…

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        When I was a kid – maybe 7 or 8- back at Burns Park Elementary, us boys would sneak off behind the school during recess. It was dark and quiet there. Cool place to hang out, away from the girls and teachers.

        One day a Fred was picking his nose. Then he flicked the booger at a lady bug crawling along the ground. He missed, fortunately for the lady bug.

        Next thing you know couple of other kids were trying to hit the bug. All of them missed. But it was entertaining.

We made up “rules”:

1)      the one who hits closest to the target wins.

     – since the lady bug had moved on – a rock near her original location.

2)      ya had to stand behind the foul line – a stick
3)      we had to take turns.
4)      spitying and lougies counted half points.
5)      We had to take turns.
6)      No girls allowed – they thought it was gross anyway
7)      No telling teachers or parents.

Word spread through the whole school. Kindergarten through 6th grade kids were competing. Big kids had to flick from back further, while little kids got to be closer.

        Well, it wasn’t too long before the target was covered in boogers, snot, lougies, and spit. ‘Course nobody volunteered to replace or clean the target. We were boys, but not entirely stupid.

        As the days and weeks went by, the pile grew. Size of a baseball then a softball.. then a soccer ball.  By this time our game had pretty much petered out. Now it was a major group effort to just make the biggest pile we could. Aim for the Guinness Record.

        It was pretty disgusting – even by our standards. But fascinating too. A gross gleaming gelatinous greenish gooey glob. In fact, that’s what we named it. The Glob. It was sort of like the antagonist in Steve McQueen’s first movie, The Blob. Only ours was real.

 blob.jpg

        Finally one day, when The Glob was almost a high as we were, it began to wiggle and jiggle. Like Jello. Lemon-Lime Jello. At first we thought it might be the wind. But there wasn’t any. Or maybe an earthquake. Or maybe it was alive!

        Then it made a sound. A wheezy whistle, & a burbling belch.  We all got quiet to listen, and move forward a bit. But not too much.

        And THEN it began to speak! It said in a high nasally voice:

“If you keep sticking your finger up your nose, it will get stuck.”

WOW. We ran screaming back to the playground, sunlight and safety. We huddled next to the jungle gym, and eventually calmed down a bit. We talked about what we heard, and agreed that the fun was over and we should pay attention to the advice we had been given. After all, when a booger talks, it’s nothing to sneeze at.

        All of  us except Irving. He poo-poo’d the whole thing, and said he’d do what ever he wanted. Nobody liked Irwin. He was a snotty kid.

        The very next day Irving walked in to the classroom with his right index finger in his left nostril. Miss D’Meener took one look at him and said, “Irwin William MacWilliams. Take your finger out of your nose this instant.”

        ” I can’t.” he wined, making an obvious effort to tug his digit free.

Our teacher sent Betty Sue to get the nurse. The nurse tried rubbing Vaseline on the exposed portion of his finger, then tugging on his arm. The finger only wedged itself deeper.

vaseline.jpg

        A few of the girls giggled at the sight of Irwin in distress. Us guys were solemn and silent, in awe that the fearful prophecy had come true.

        They called the Fire Department. It was cool to see the fire engine come wailing up the street and pull into the parking lot. Firemen in yellow rubber coats and black rubber boots with axes and other fireman stuff came into our room. A couple of them smirked and chuckled at first. That stopped when they were unable to dislodge his finger, even with two firemen holding Irwin’s and a third pulling on his arm.

Bill, the janitor was sweeping up the hall, using his big push broom and that weird red sawdust. He glanced in the open door and saw what was going on. He looks thoughtful a minute, muttered something to himself then disappeared.

        A couple of minutes later he reappeared with an oil can with a long spout and a big monkey wrench. He poked the spout into the other nostril. He squirted oil up there. Oil cans make a cool noise when you push on the bottom. Sort of a dink-boink sound.  Bill tightened the monkey wrench on Irwin’s finger. Irwin’s eyes had pretty much rolled up out of sight and he was only making little whimpering noises.

 grotty_oil_can.jpg

        Bill gave the wrench tug clockwise, then counter clockwise. He squirted more oil. The finger twisted a little at first, more and more with each tug of the wrench.  All of a sudden the finger popped out. Irwin slumped to the floor. Bill picked up his stuff and went back to sweeping the hall.

        The lesson of the day was:

                 “Don’t Ignore Globular Warning”

[inspired by an invitation to participate in Earth Hour 8pm March 29, 2008 ]

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Snow on Frogtown

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Pedantics and Fancy Passing

Note: The following contains graphic descriptions, scatological references & and material that may be offensive to sensitive individuals. Immature individuals may snicker at some of the passages. I think the whole thing is hilarious.

Note too: There may be some departure from absolute veracity with minor hyperbolic enhancements, for the purpose of conveying the gestalt.

Also note: I’m fine – no cause for alarm or anything like that.

Hi All,

Been a while since I’ve had chance send out news from Frogtown.

Last month I took a very part time job teaching at ITT, in Grand Rapids. Mondays 6 –10:30 PM I attempt to warp eager young minds about the existential joys of multi-media.

A brief detour. If anyone asks you for advice – tell them “under no circumstances send their kids to ITT.”

Many reasons I’ve discovered – but it all comes down to ITT is a “for profit” institution. Education isn’t secondary goal. I’m not sure its anywhere on but on the marketing materials. Lots of procedures and infrastructure to keep kids enrolled – and borrowing $$. Most of the kids seem oblivious to fact that they will have to pay back the loans.

Lots more reading by googling

ITT Tech under federal investigation

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/biztech/02/26/itttech.subpoenas.ap/index.html

Sallie Mae

http://www.educationsector.org/research/research_show.htm?doc_id=482682

I could rant for several more pages about the subject – but suffice to know I’m attempting to undermine the place by teaching.


Back to the tail.

For past several months I’ve been experiencing symptoms associate with enlarging prostrate – frequent and difficult urination, especially at night, sudden onset of need to urinate (including near misses). Not to be unexpected. Dr. D has been keeping an eye (or his finger) on things for quite some time, and he even subjected me to a precautionary ultrasound/biopsy last year. Results were good, from a medical point of view.

Things came to a head June 18 – 20th. I spent most of Monday night on the can, with less than tablespoon for my efforts. Julie decided we should pay a visit to CCH ER, because I was in violation of Fudd’s First Law, “What goes in, must come out.” I was too groggy to disagree.

After the usual preliminaries the Doc confirmed that I was in fact retaining urine. He did this by pressing on my abdomen and listened to the waves breaking in my bladder. This also intensified the urge to go, but nothing to facilitate the processes. He said he’d send a nurse in to mitigate the situation, then left to attend to more urgent matters.

After several hours by my mental chronometer (few minutes real time) Brunehilda the Nurse came in dressed foul weather gear, full face shield & carrying several plastic packages, 4 buckets and a mop. She was petite – for a Marine.

After setting up her equipment, she asked “ever have a Foley before?” I admitted I was a virgin. She grinned. She snapped on thick rubber gloves that had No-Slip strips on the palms and fingers.

She leaned over and grabbed me with her left hand, and a garden hose in her right. “Mr. Happy, meet Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley, meet Mr. Happy.” She spit on the hose for luck – certainly wasn’t for lubrication. Then she brought her hands together with a smack.

OOff!” I said – eyes bulging. I acted like a man, only whimpering quietly as first eighteen inches went in.

Then we got to the road block. Brumehilda grabbed Mr Foley with both hands & heaved. Her face turned red. Mine went white. Julie turned blue.

Suddenly there was a breakthrough. “We have a gusher!” Brumehilda yelled, pumping her fist and jumping up and down.

Staff came rushing in to see the sight, and give Ms B congratulations and high fives.

I lay there panting and enjoying the feeling. Brought back memories of Saturday night keggers.

10 minutes later I felt drained. It had taken a lot out of me. About 600 ml.

The Doc returned – now that it was safe, and gave me a couple of pills to reduce bladder spasms. He mentioned a minor side effect. The meds would color the urine. “Not to worry”.

They fixed me up with two plastic baggies – one for walking around, and one for bed time. The bed time one was extra large. The walking around bag had Velcro straps to hold it to my leg. It also had a quick release valve at the bottom, so I could empty it through out the day. Down for drain, up for closed.

They duct taped the hoses in place, and sent us home. “Ya’ll come back. Hear?”

Two days later we went to see the urologist for a follow up. I was wearing white sweat pants – despite the heat. Julie thought the baggie might be offensive to some folks. Oh did I mention the pills did color the pee? Like orange. Day Glo orange. It looked like I was carrying nuclear waste.

When we got into the exam room, I noticed my right pant leg was discolored. Orange. Day Glo orange. Seems the quick release valve decided to release.

Dave – the PA came in and decided that I didn’t need the plumbing. I dropped my trousers. He ripped off the duck tape, grabbed the hose and pulled. Hard. After about 10 minutes he managed to haul Mr. Foley back out.

He prescribed some meds, FlowMax (cute name, huh?) and brought out a slightly smaller gage 18” tube. “Mr. Happy, meet Cathy. Cathy meet Mr Happy” The instructions were until the FlowMax started working, or when ever, I was to insert Cathy myself, effecting drainage. Doc also mentioned that FlowMax could lower my blood pressure, so I might feel dizzy if I stood up too quickly.

I was to return in a couple days, and they’d check to see how things were going.

Cathy and I became very close. We shared some intimate time together. She seemed to bring out the best in me. But it was painful when we parted. So I tried to see her a little as possible. The FlowMax helped ease things.

When I went back to the urologist, he did an ultrasound to see how thing looked. My prostrate was about 2x normal. The Dr recommended that I sign up for a Transurethral Resection of the Prostrate (aka TURP; aka Roto-Rooter)

There are No incisions made (at least on purpose). And not all of the prostrate is removed. A cystoscope is inserted in to the urethra. The Dr said they then remove excess tissue from the inside. “like coring an apple”, leaving the prostrate a shell of its former self, but pretty much functional.

“You’ll be able to pee like you were 19 years old” the Dr. said. Something to look forward to.

Eventually the prostrate will enlarge again, and procedure will need to be repeated. Generally about 15 – 20 years.

For more reading

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/Transurethral-resection-of-the-prostate-TURP-for-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia

http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic3071.htm

I hope this is a lot more information than you’ll ever need.

Looking for the silver lining – I came across this site with an animation of the procedure.

http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/yourhealth/healthgate/getcontent.asp?URLhealthgate=”135957.html”

I’m not sure if it would make a good example for the class on how multi-media can be used to explain medical procedures. My hesitation is the reflex response from the guys. Women seem to be more objective about this sort of thing: “You think that’s bad? Try having a baby!”

The Doctor assures me it is relatively painless (as compared to what?) and should be sent home next day (baring complications). About 2 weeks for complete convalescence is anticipated.

So back home – waiting for procedure to be scheduled and trying to avoid Cathy as much as I could. I know it sound heartless, but nothing last forever. We did get together before bed time for a quickie. It helped me get longer sleep.

A few days later I started feeling dragged out, and sweating a lot. And was running a low fever. Not a big deal.

I was scheduled to substitute Saturday morning. Julie decided she’d go along, and hook up with her sister in Grand Rapids for some power malling and good gossip. We paused at a couple of rest stops for a wee bit.

About 15 minutes out side of GR – I asked Julie to pull into one more stop. I took Cathy in with me. I went into a stall. Not that I’m particularly shy about our relationship, but it seems to freak some folks out. Maybe it has something to do with my facial expressions and vocalizations.

I got things in place, and began lightening my load. there was some blood in the urine – I’d seen it before, and had been told not to worry unless there was a lot, &/or clots. Seemed like some clots were coming out now. Then Cathy clogged up. it had happened before. Back out – clear the clots and back in. Good thing Mr. Happy had developed calluses.

Things had just started flowing, when the FlowMax decided to lower my blood pressure. Not only did I get dizzy, but was a nanometer from blacking out. Not sure how I remained on my feet. I was stumbling around in the stall – Mr Happy & Cathy hanging out, spitting blood and piss. Not much blood. Probably a few ccs max. We donate more to the mosquitoes. But it doesn’t take much blood diluted with urine to be very impressive.

Kept thinking to myself “Not like Elvis. I don’t want to go like Elvis.” I mean, how humiliating to be remembered as the last Elvis impersonator.

Several minutes passed before I got it together, and found my way out of the stall. I had a major cold sweat going and staggered towards the car.

Julie was pretty cool – under the circumstances. I tried to tell her I was fine, but the stains on my pants and shirt did little to reassure her. She said we weren’t continuing our journey, I wasn’t going to substitute, and we were going straight to ER. And she was going to drive. If I had felt better I would have argued.

She did agree that we should go back to Chelsea Community Hospital – they were familiar with us and the situation.

When we got there, I met Mr. Foley’s bigger brother. Not much left in me, but enough to tell them I had a good urinary tract infection going.

Antibiotics & rest prescribed. And Silicon Sally to replace Cathy. Sally is larger than Cathy, but with less of a bite. Also detailed and extensive lectures on hygiene.

We went home.

Phone calls made, and we finally got a scheduled for the roto-rooter @ CCH. July 26th.

As I lay in bed, I realize that the next person who walked into that stall is going to freak out. I felt bad for him, but not bad enough to go back and clean up the mess.

I also thought “what a great scene for a horror flick (rated R).” I mean – some guy staggering around spurting blood from his Johnson. What a concept. Way better than chainsaws hacking off limbs.

I gotta go,

All the best from FrogTown

Dave

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