Category Archives: Personal

More about my Mom

So it’s been a little more than a month since my mother’s passing. It’s been a crazy month. It’s almost a full time job managing and figuring out her estate. I’m finally meeting with a lawyer on Monday to hopefully get a grasp on what all needs to be done.

After going through a few of my Mom’s things, I’m starting to understand her a little better. She wrote a letter about her childhood that helped me understand why she was a die hard Republican. It started in college when her brother went to war in Vietnam. Her friends were all protesting the war, but she couldn’t because her brother was there. She couldn’t separate the war from the troops. She couldn’t support the troops while being against the war at the same time.

She is also against all social programs basically because her family didn’t need them. She was the youngest child, so by the time she was born, her family was pretty well off. She didn’t really know what it was like to struggle. She figured anybody that is willing to work hard, should have no problem supporting their family.

So pretty much those two issues guided her to choose her “team”, and she followed the Republican party line from then on.

Politics were one thing I never discussed with my Mom. I’m jealous of the people that can have open, honest, and smart conversations with their parents. My Mom was pretty stubborn. There was no changing her mind about anything, and I hated that. Any conversation with her was always “I’m right and you’re wrong, end of discussion”.

I shouldn’t focus on the negative though. Overall my Mother was great. She raised me and my brother by herself, and for the most part we got everything we wanted. In the last few years we were able to take quite a few vacations together as a family. I will be forever grateful of all the vacation memories. It’s really going to be hard to not talk about the fun times with my Mom anymore.

More about my Mom

So one thing I regret is not talking to my Mom more. My Mom was hard for me to talk to. She was very opinionated, and I disagreed with her on just about everything. Almost every conversation ended up leading to politics, or some pseudoscience that she believed in. I wish I could have talked to her about my beliefs, but it would have only led to useless arguments. I still remember the last argument we had about the Washington Redskins team name. She just hated anything to do with “political correctness”. I told her that if the name was Indians, you could have an argument there, but Redskins is clearly derogatory. The team is a privately owned company and they have every right to have a derogatory name, but to deny that it’s derogatory is just ignoring reality. I’ll forever remember that argument. We didn’t argue often, but that’s mostly because I bit my tongue a lot.

My Mom was a teacher and education was important to her, but she was kind of narrow minded. She was pretty much brainwashed by Fox News. I have nothing against being conservative, but not believing in scientific facts drives me crazy. Like most conservatives, She denied global warming and evolution. To make matters worse, She was also anti-vax and anti-GMO. You know how pro-science I am. These issues drove me crazy.

One thing I am so glad I had a chance to do though was to share my telescope with her. Last summer I brought my telescope with when we rented a lake cabin. She was amazed to see Saturn. She couldn’t believe how much it looked like the pictures. It was so great to share my love of astronomy with her. She even mentioned it to her brothers and sisters because they all told me.

I always thought I was completely different from my Mom because we disagreed on so many topics, but after going through her stuff, we had much more in common than I realized.

Goodbye Mom

So three weeks ago today I got a call from my Mom. Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever talk to her, and it was her last ever phone call.

Six years ago my mom discovered that she had an aortic dissection. It’s a very serious issue, but at that time the best thing was to just keep an eye on it. So that’s was she was doing. My Mom never let on at how scared she was. At that time she wrote a letter to me and my brother and her will. She was super organized. Her letter basically planned out her funeral. It’s really sad, but it’s now one of my prized possessions.

So on Monday the 16th I got that call from my Mom. She said her dissection was leaking a bit and she needed to go in for surgery. It was a very serious surgery, but she played it off like it wasn’t. She didn’t want anybody to worry and didn’t want me to tell the rest of the family, so I thought nothing of it. I never even looked it up to see how serious it was. Later on I learned that she collapsed at work and was brought to the hospital by ambulance. She didn’t want to worry anybody, so didn’t tell us that.

Tuesday we got a call stating that the surgery was successful and she was recovering. We didn’t hear anything Wednesday, so we just assumed no news was good news.

Then Thursday the 19th came. It was probably the worst day of my life. First, our cat of 14.5 years was going through kidney failure. We new she didn’t have too much time left. We saw her going downhill and didn’t want her to have to suffer over the weekend, so we brought her in to put her to sleep.

About two hours after we got home from the vet, we got a call from the hospital that my Mom was in critical condition and family needs to be there NOW. So in blizzard conditions we dropped everything and headed to St. Cloud. What normally is a 2.5 hr. drive took 4 hrs.

We got there at 11:00 PM and she was on about everything she could be on to keep her alive. They had to perform CPR on her for quite a while, so they weren’t even sure if there was any brain activity left. Her aorta ruptured at another spot, and another surgery wasn’t an option given her current condition. At about 1:00 AM they gave her an hour to live. She held on until family got there around 1:00 PM.

Then when everybody that was going to get there got there, I had to make the call to unhook her from the machines and watch her die. I know it was the right decision since there was no brain activity, but I’m still bothered being the one who had to make the decision.

The images of my Mom dying have been burned into my memory and I’ve been reliving them every night in my dreams.

So while most people were having their Christmas week, we were planning my Mom’s funeral. Christmas was my Mom’s favorite time of the year. I’ve never been much of a fan of Christmas, and I don’t think this year is going to change that.

I’ll probably have more posts about my Mom these coming weeks. I don’t know if anybody still reads blogs, but it’s helpful for me to get it out.


So I’ve been pretty quite on the interwebs these past couple weeks, partly because I’ve been busy, but mostly because I have nothing to say. My mother passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago. I plan on posting more about her, but just not feeling it now.

Today Billy the Kid posted a cover of one of my favorite Sugar songs. It was one of my favorite songs from my senior year of high school, and it’s really fitting for what I’m going through now.

20 years already?

So this past weekend was my second 20 year high school reunion this year. This one was for my central Minnesota school that I only spent three years at. I grew up in northern Minnesota and went to school there through my freshman year of high school, then moved to central Minnesota and spent my final three years of high school there. While I had a great time in high school there, I didn’t meet any lifelong friends. It was hard for me to fit in with kids that have been friends since elementary school, in just three years. I didn’t really have my “group”. I hung out with everybody. I bashed heads with the jocks on the football field, played music with the band geeks, and tried to pretend I was smart and hung out with the smart kids taking the hardest classes I could.

I never thought I would be one of those guys that didn’t want to go to their reunions. I went to my 10 year reunion, and it was awkward. Everybody looked familiar, but I could barely remember names. After 10 years we were totally different people, and really didn’t have much in common. I loved high school, and would do anything to go back to those times, but reunions don’t do it. If I still lived in the same town I probably would have stopped by, but it wasn’t worth the time to travel. I’m sure my reunions would be better if I would have gotten closer with people, but for now, being Facebook friends is good enough for me.

Smokers Stink

Over the weekend we were out of town, but my in-laws stayed at our house. My father-in-law must have driven my truck. Normally I wouldn’t have cared, but he smoked in it. Smoking is so disgusting. I am around it so little now that it really bothers me. I can smell it on my hands now after using my steering wheel. So gross.

I don’t get why someone would pay thousands of dollars a year to smell, not to mention the health affects. I know smokers don’t realize that they smell, but they do. If you smoke, you fucking stink and I don’t want to be around you. And please don’t just throw you cigarette butt anywhere. Seeing nasty cigarette butt everywhere is another pet peeve of mine.

Recurring themes

It’s always weird when odd-ball things come up multiple times a day. Today that happened to me with Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy. First I was watching TWiT and Leo mentioned the Carnegie Libraries. If you didn’t know, Andrew Carnegie donated money to help build over 2500 libraries across the US in the early 1900s. It seems like almost every decent sized town got one. Sadly many of them have been torn down. Moorhead had one, and Fargo had two, but none of them still exist.

Then I got an email about my 20 year class reunion (how did that happen). One of the activities is a tour of the newly remodeled Carnegie Library. When I lived there I didn’t realize that I walked by a building that was built in 1914 by money donated by Andrew Carnegie every day on my way to school. To me it was just an old office building across the street from the current library. Some time after I moved away I learned that it was an old Carnegie Library. I’m glad that they decided to remodel it rather than tear it down.

Then while I was listening to the latest Planetary Radio Podcast, they were talking about the Mount Wilson Observatory, and what do you know, Andrew Carnegie donated money to help build it too.

So there you have it. Three referenced to Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy before noon. It’s weird how that happens.

Remember 1990

This video brought back a lot of memories. 1990 was a big year in my childhood. It was the year my family and I moved. I was a sophomore in high school and had to leave all my friends and start over. I made new friends, but nothing like my friends from my old home town. To this day, the best friends I have now I’ve known since 1st grade.

The music of 1990 was horrible too. That’s probably part of the reason why I learned to hate mainstream music. It got better latter into the 90s, but 1990 sucked. Best new artist Milli Vanilli? WTF?

via laughingsquid

Back to the keyboard

Hello blog. It seems like forever since I last posted. I’ve just been enjoying some time away from the keyboard. Enjoying the couple nice days we are having before the mosquitoes take over. Enjoying some good books in my hammock, and got our garden planted. It’s been seven years since we have had a garden. We had one at our old house, but didn’t really have a good spot at this one until I tore out a little rock garden that was looking a little rough. I also built a permanent fence around the garden.

I think it looks much better than a chicken wire fence.

Now we just need some heat so things start to grow.

New Glasses


I got my new glasses from Warby Parker today. They might take a bit to get use to, but I’m liking them so far. I also thought it was time to change my Twitter icon. It’s probably been five years since I last changed it.

Funeral plans

So there has been a couple deaths in my life this past week. One was my Wife’s cousin, and the other one was a co-worker. Both died too young because of cancer. Because of the cancer, both planned what they wanted for a funeral.

My Wife’s cousin had every little detail planned. She wanted to have one final beer with everybody, so that’s what she got. There was a keg in the front of the church and they passed around cups and pitchers, and we all drank together, even the pastor had a sip. It was different, but was pretty cool.

My co-worker didn’t want anything. He was single, didn’t have much of a family, and wasn’t religious. He didn’t want any kind of ceremony, so that’s what he got.

It was nice to see both of these families following the wishes of their deceased family member. I’ve heard stories of families not doing what their deceased family members wanted because nobody would ever really know. In the grand scheme of things, it probably really doesn’t matter, but I think it’s a nice tribute to do what your deceased family member wanted.

I’ve been thinking about what I want after I die ever since reading Mary Roach’s great book Stiff. I’ve came to the conclusion that I don’t really care. In a perfect world I would like to just be dumped in the woods so my body can be eaten by critters and the molecules that make up my body would return to the universe where they came from. I’m sure there are laws against that though. I guess I prefer cremation over embalming just for the simple fact that I would take up less space, but I don’t really have a preference. I’m going to leave it to my family to decide that. I’m not religious, so I really don’t care about a funeral. The way I see it, the funeral is for the family, and they can do whatever they want. As of right now, the only wish I really have is that I don’t want any religious symbols or words on my headstone, since that’s going to be around a lot longer than I ever was.

Motion City Jackpot

It took eleven tries, but I finally got one of these last night!

I also got one of these!

And then another one of these!

Yeah, it was pretty much a Motion City Soundtrack jackpot last night. We hung around afterwards and talked with Josh for a little bit. Great band and great guys. I can’t wait to see them again.

Happy 61st Douglas Adams

Happy Birthday Douglas Adams

I love today’s Google Doodle. It’s a tribute to the late great Douglas Adams. He would have been 61 today. If you missed it, here is a video of the doodle.

You probably have to be a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan to understand it.

I have Douglas Adams to thank for turning me into a reader. High school made me hate reading. I did read some great books in high school, To Kill a Mockingbird, In Cold Blood,Lord of the Flies—to name a few. For me reading because I had to ruined the experience. After high school in 1993, I didn’t pick up a book until 1998. That was when I picked up The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy after hearing so many referenced to it. I’ve been ready 20-25 books a year ever since.

Thank you Douglas Adams.

Minnesota full of Muslims?

So my Mom has a job opportunity in Salt Lake City, and her biggest worry is the Mormons. I’m kind of dumb when it comes to religion. Aren’t Mormons Christians too? My Mom also said, “well at least it’s not full of Muslims like Minnesota is”. What? I have no idea what she is talking about. According to recent polls 3% of the population subscribe to a non-Christian religion which includes Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Not quite full of Muslims. And even so, who cares?

Maybe it’s just because I don’t have a religion, but I don’t understand why different people of faith despise each other. Most of the time they believe in the same god anyway. They just have different customs and rituals to show their faith. From what I know most religions have more similarities than differences. I really should educate myself about the different world religions, but it’s usually such a boring read. Anybody know of a good book about worlds religions that isn’t boring as hell?

Maybe my Mom’s irrational fear of Minnesota becoming “full of Muslims” is because Minnesota elected the first Muslim to Congress, Keith Ellison. I think that is great. Our country is full of all types, so we should also be represented by all types.

Keith Ellison is making the news today for going off on Sean Hannity.

I found it entertaining, but I wish he would have just refused to go on the show. He called Hannity, “the worst excuse for a journalist”. Hannity really isn’t a journalist though. He is just a Fox News talking head paid to spread the Fox agenda, and should be ignored.

What I read in 2012

I’ve blogged about what I’ve read the past year in previous years, so I might as well do it this year. I managed to read twenty-four books this year. While I’m not a crazy reader, two books a month isn’t too bad. I hate reading book review, and hate writing them even worse. So no book reviews for you. I’ve just included my Goodreads ranking following each book in my list. So here’s what I read this past year:

Death from the Skies – Philip Plait *****
The Upside of Irrationality – Dan Ariely ***
Ancestor – Scott Sigler *****
The Disappearing Spoon – Sam Kean *****
The Poisoner’s Handbook – Deborah Blum ***
Idiot America – Charles Pierce **
Madoff with the Money – Jerry Oppenheimer **
Fallen Dragon – Peter F. Hamilton***
The Pluto Files – Neil deGrasse Tyson *****
Scam School Book 1 – Brian Brushwood ****
The Culture of Fear – Barry Glassner****
A Universe from Nothing – Lawrence Krauss****
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins *****
Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi **
Suck it, Wonder Woman – Olivia Munn***
Bad Science – Ben Goldacre ***
Redshirts – John Scalzi ****
Bossypants – Tina Fey ***
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson ***
I Sold My Soul on eBay – Hemant Mehta ***
Freedom (TM) – Daniel Swarez ***
The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins *****
Down Among the Dead Men – Michelle Williams **
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Seth Grahame-Smith****

Funeral for a friend

So this past weekend we attended a funeral for one of my Wife’s family members that was murdered. I really enjoy the pastor from that small northern Minnesota town. I’ve never attended any of his church services, but really enjoy his funerals and weddings. If I lived in that small town, I would probably go to his church even being an Atheist. Last Saturday, at that funeral, I started to understand Christians a little bit. I was raised Christian. We went to church every Sunday. I went through all the motions and got confirmed, and hated every minute if it. Never once had I ever felt the way I felt this past Saturday. Maybe it was because the pastor wasn’t talking much religion. He was just down to earth, very uplifting, and positive.

Religion gets a bad rap because of all of the sexual scandals, their anti-gay stance, and a lot of other hatred they spread. I know that’s a small minority of the religious people, but I tend to hold it against all religious people, and I know that’s not right. It doesn’t help though when bunches of my Facebook friends, that I know are good people, spread the hatefulness of religion. I think they are just entrenched in that community, and don’t see it as hateful. For some reason, that I don’t understand, they think their religion is under attack and spreading their believes is a way to defend them, and they don’t see the hate in it. I don’t hate anybody. I only hate the haters. Life is too short to hate.

Churches do do a lot of good in communities. They could do even more if they didn’t have all the overhead of the church stuff. I now understand why people like going to church. It can be uplifting and bring some joy to your life, if that’s your thing. It’s not mine. Never has been, and never will be.

I miss my childhood Thanksgiving

I miss Thanksgiving. Since I started my job 14 years ago, I’ve never really had a Thanksgiving. The way my work schedule works I either work Thanksgiving, or I work the Friday and the weekend after, so it’s never convenient to travel to see family. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get some leftovers, but that’s about it. This year I’m working on Thanksgiving. The Wife is actually cooking a dinner for us, her brother, and a couple of her cousin. It will be really small, but at least I get it fresh before I head off to work.

I miss the old days of going to Grandma’s. Watching the Parade. I don’t think I’ve seen the Thanksgiving Parade in at least 15 years. Then, like everybody else, we would eat way to much, and watch football the rest of the day with my cousins.

Now my Grandma is no longer with us, and my cousins are all grown up and have families of their own, and there is no more John Madden. John Madden was actually a big part of my childhood Thanksgivings. It’s really been 15 years or so since I’ve had what I consider a “normal” Thanksgiving. Those Thanksgiving’s of my childhood are long gone. It’s time to make some new traditions and memories, but I think Thanksgiving will always bring back the memories of my childhood.

Life gets crazy sometimes

It seems like it’s been forever since I have last blogged, but I guess it’s only been a week since I showed off my tacos. I hate when people apologize about their lack of blogging, so I’m not going to do that. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and life always comes first.

It’s really been crazy around here lately. We’ve been busy replacing our TVs and everything else that was stolen. We have had half our house painted and are working on getting the other half painted. We have also begun getting our yard ready for a garden next spring, along with having family over the past two weekends. It’s safe to say I’ve been declaring RSS bankruptcy a lot these past few weeks.

Have you seen our TVs?

Hello internet. It’s been a while. It’s been a crazy week.

On Saturday our house was broken into. Our two TVs, XBox 360 with 27 games, and two iPods were stolen. I still can’t believe it happened. Hopefully today we will hear from our insurance company and can go TV shopping. Since it happened in the daytime, the cops, and us, agree that it was probably someone that’s been in our house and knew where things were. We suspect my Wife’s Uncle, who has been in and out of jail on various drug charges, but we have no proof. The police took prints, so hopefully they can catch the person, but chances are pretty slim. The chances of us getting our stuff back is even slimmer. We never wrote down the serial numbers. The cop said that’s about the only way to get our stuff back. Then it would only be if they tried to pawn our stuff. Pawn shops would run the serial number, and it would come up stolen. I now have the serial numbers of all our electronics in Evernote, another great use of that service. I don’t care so much about our stuff. It’s only stuff and all easily replaceable. It would be nice to see the guy get caught though. I’m so glad that’s all they took. They left all the computers, and my iPad. Those would have been worse because of the data they contain. I had find my iPhone set up on the iPod Touch that they took, but haven’t been able to find it yet. As soon as someone gets online with it, I should find out, and my iPod should then lock them out. I still changed a bunch of passwords though just in case.

So our house is in shambles, and tomorrow we are having a painter paint a few of our rooms that have high ceilings. I was originally going to paint them myself, but they estimated it at $425. For that price they can do it. I’m sure they can do a better job, and have it done faster. Well worth the money if you ask me. I hate painting.

Monday through Friday jobs suck; Goodbye Digg

I don’t know why people like Monday through Friday jobs so much. I worked my rare Monday through Friday this week and it sucked. I would take my nights and weekends over Monday through Friday any day. My normal shifts are 12 hours, and usually only two or three days in a row at most. Working five days in a row is a killer. Sure they were only eight hour days, but still five days in a row sucks, and now I only have a two day weekend. Normally my weekends off are always three day weekends.

I feel like I had no time for podcast listening, RSS reading, or Twitter all week. Thankfully I’m back to my normal schedule next week.

In other news, I logged into Digg for the first time in years, and dugg my last article. It was fun while it lasted, but like everything, it has an ending.