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Posted on 2017.02.19 at 10:36
Current Location: 67114

Its not that I have too many vehicles, its just that we don't have an ideal traveling vehicle if we're packing both dogs and both kids. I absolutely love my Tiburon GT, but its not ideal for conversation or long, accompanied trips what with the excessive engine noise, wheel noise, exhaust noise, and wind noise. I do fine soloing to Texas and back, but plus-one and things start to escalate quickly. Better suited is the Grand Marquis (especially with the the new shocks) but having been forced into the backseat late last month, I now understand firsthand the cramped space behind the driver's seat and uncomfortably springy seats. So, we set out on the ideal traveling vehicle. Atop my list was something quiet with more than adequate legroom. I've narrowed it down to two thus far:

Cadillac CT6 Base
Ford Flex Limited

Interesting enough, our local dealership carries both Cadillac and Ford, but I couldn't get to the lot to check out their cars. A quick call establishes the only way to the lot is through the showroom gauntlet (insurance, he explains, unlike every other car lot I've ever been to my entire life which doesn't have that restriction). At any rate, they've promised to pull both vehicles side-by-side for me so we can compare the two (they're two very different vehicles, the salesman found necessary to tell me).

Of course if we decide upon the Flex, we'll likely get rid of Turducken.


Burying the Dead

Posted on 2017.02.15 at 12:38
Current Location: 67114

Not a fan of things outside my purview spiraling out of control, yet here we find ourselves once again. Dad told us kids for years and years that his funeral costs were already taken care of; he carried in his wallet a card with the particulars and often reminded us to just call the number and everything would be taken care of.

That turned out to be partially true. Let me explain.

The Dallas funeral home sold dad a casket and a plot, and threw in, for free, the chapel, the service, and everything else required to send him to final resting place. Except the part where they charge $1000 for refrigeration prior to the burial, and the, well, actually putting him in the ground - another $1000 for internment. Something they now include in their "free services" when one buys a plot and a casket, but not in the early 80s when he and mom picked out their eternal resting places side-by-side thirty years ago.

So I tried to exchange the services I wouldn't be using (chapel, service, etc) to offset the cost of the services I would requiring, but given they were "free" services they had no value. Completely frustrated with being fucked over by the funeral home, there was nothing to do but be extorted - because Texas has a law saying if a contract exists, it cannot be backed out after death. In other words if there were a less expensive option available to offset the costs of being fucked, we would be unable to utilize them.

At least we were prepared when mom followed a month later.

Or were we?

No. No, we were not. For reasons unknown, the funeral home has no record of mother having a contract, and are therefore charging us not only the $2000 for the internment and refrigeration, but also another $4000 for the casket and the plot.

I don't know how I'm going to get out of this one yet. I'm hopeful since they can't find her contract, I will not be held hostage by Texas law and can, perhaps, find a less expensive solution. I know I shouldn't be astonished at this gross ineptitude, but I really am. Restland is the premier funeral home in Dallas, and the place is run like a goddamn circus.

Coming Storm

Post-Op, Week 2

Posted on 2017.02.15 at 12:20
Current Location: 67114

Two more weeks on crutches :(

Janeway (Alt)

Post-Op, Week 1

Posted on 2017.02.07 at 15:05
Current Location: 67114



Posted on 2017.02.01 at 18:58
Current Location: 67114

Eric Howton Post Op Day 1

My knee surgery had been scheduled for over a month, and I was so excited I could hardly concentrate on anything else the week leading up to my Monday appointment. When a fever developed overnight the Thursday prior, I was afraid I would lose my surgery date. Excitement for the procedure aside, both GF and I had scheduled a week from work post-surgery for recovery, and there would be quite a bit of logistics involved to rescheduling everything.

There's a long list of medications and supplements you can no longer take leading up to surgery, most of which are exactly the kind of thing which can eradicate a fever or soothe a cold. I called the surgeon's office and the nurse told me as long as I didn't take any of that stuff, they'd consider keeping the appointment as long as the fever didn't recur, and to let them know Monday morning if I needed to cancel. Sadly, I had the fever again Friday night, leading into Saturday morning. Knowing by then they'd cancel me regardless, I took all the good cold medicine and got a fantastic night of sleep Saturday night, pulling out of the cold in earnest Sunday. I called the nurses' station to update them and let them know I'd blown my list of things not to do.

Now, I'm not saying the surgeon didn't have a payment past due on his Maserati, but he called me himself Sunday afternoon and suggested we not only stick to the original surgery date, but move me up two hours (essentially nullifying the list of pre-op requirements) and as I'm not one to argue with a surgeon (unless he believes the pyramids were built for...grain storage), we agreed to proceed as planned.

I was so excited, I couldn't sleep. I think I managed three hours that night. The initial appointment at the surgeon's office had been handled quickly and efficiently, the pre-op the previous Monday at an auxiliary hospital had impressed me with their friendliness and efficiency, and I was finally going to the main campus downtown!

Only...It was like one of those really old hospitals you only see in horror movies. I swear I could still see the avocado walls under the thin layer of whitewash. I changed into my gown and laid in the bed adjacent one of those ancient, gurgling radiators to which serial killers are always handcuffing their next victim. One nurse took all my vitals, followed by one who came in to shave my leg and slather it in two coats of betadine before wheeling me into pre-flight. As an aside, everyone who came in contact with me expressed some sort of silent astonishment that I was stark naked under my gown, which had me start wondering about their expectations - I really couldn't put my finger on it. Anyway, I say pre-flight because it reminded me of an airport; people in beds being taxied, parked, "refueled" and moved out. It was a bustling place. I had all my vitals taken again, and a visit from both the anesthesiologist and the surgeon. The former who asked me if I wanted a nerve block, to which I replied, "I have no idea, why am I just now being informed about this?" and the latter who wanted to know if I had any questions for him; "Why did you not mention to me the nerve block and what are the pros and cons?" (I ended up declining based on that conversation). There hadn't been much of a delay from the time we walked in until I was in pre-flight, and with only a 45-minute surgery, I was excited to get to it! The nurse then gave me a sedative, and I have no recollection of anything else.

In the surgical waiting room they had this huge television displaying patient IDs (for privacy) and where they were in the operating process; pre-op, staging, anesthesia, starting surgery, surgery underway, recovery, patient room. Because they kept scanning the bar code on my wrist every time they moved me, I assumed that updated whatever real-time database was tracking all the patience movements, much like how FedEx and UPS track the movement of billions of packages all over globe - not that GF would have time to watch the screen as the plan was to have her sign for the polar pack cold therapy device, the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, and my prescriptions. But no, the display in the surgical waiting room was an Excel spreadsheet being updated by a geriatric volunteer who was transcribing from little yellow sticky notes written in pencil. When she wasn't accidentally deleting rows and cells. Or forgetting to update the information. For FOUR HOURS. GF sat in that room for four hours without a single update. And without the polar pack, without the T.E.N.S unit, and without a prescription. Believe me, when you've watched as much Grey's Anatomy as she has, it's never a good sign.

I awoke in recovery coming out of a very refreshing sleep, and half an hour later was back in my room, reunited with GF. That's when the alien-abduction scenario hit. As soon as I discovered I'd been gone so long, I started asking GF for information - what updates had they given her which explained the long surgery? I couldn't understand why she wouldn't in turn relay that information to me. I didn't understand that she'd gone the entire time without any updates herself. Oh, that poor nurse they sent in to kick me out of the room as quickly as possible! We both started firing questions at her for updates on pretty much everything. None of our questions were answered amidst a growing feeling of unease.

The nurse turned to GF and let her know I was to stay completely off my foot for a FULL MONTH as the damage sustained was a little more extensive than the MRI had shown. This was...unexpected news; I was planning to be back to full capacity far sooner. As we were absorbing this, we noticed my dressing was unadorned. I should have been layered with a cold-pack and electrodes, leaving the respective circulation tubes and leads exposed - for the polar pack and T.E.N.S. to attach to - yet none of that happened. And I was hot. So hot, I thought I was going to blow chunks. I wanted to hydrate quickly, and the nurse kept telling GF she would bring me another cup of ice water but she never did. Throughout all of this, I thought I was communicating very clearly. I even asked GF, "Am I slurring or not making any sense?" (No), but the nurse kept telling GF that no matter how much morphine they kept giving me, it hadn't done anything to alleviate the pain, so they'd ended up giving me two units of dilaudid, twice the amount they normally give anyone, she said. I began actively listening to myself clearly articulate to the nurse, the reply to which would be NOTHING - presumably because she thought I was bombed out of my mind. I was appalled she wouldn't help me dress, walk, or urinate, all the while saying in an inappropriately jovial tone, "He's got to learn to do this on his own!" I was all like, "Sure, but right now? I have to learn how to do all this RIGHT NOW?" ("He's got to learn to do this on his own," she repeated to my GF. I finally realized she hadn't once spoken directly to me.

All of a sudden I'm Commander Peter Quincy Taggert onboard the NSEA Protector asking Sigourney Weaver to ask the computer a question for me. "Please ask the nurse when they're going to unrap my leg to apply the electrodes."

"When are you going to unwrap his leg to apply the electrodes?"

"We're not allowed to touch the wrappings but as soon as you leave you're welcome to do it yourself."

"Please ask the nurse when she expects the T.E.N.S. unit to arrive."

"Do you know when the T.E.N.S. unit is going to arrive?"

"We don't order that so we don't have any way to track it. Once you leave, you can follow-up with your doctor's office."

"Please remind the nurse our doctor told us we'd need the electrodes to be placed before we can use the T.E.N.S. unit."

It was ridiculous. And I was growing increasingly hot. I asked GF to ask the nurse to lower the heat in the room. She couldn't. I asked GF to ask the nurse if our windows opened. They didn't. I was so hot I just knew I was going to barf. At some point different people arrived with both the polar pack and the T.E.N.S. but with nothing prepped in the bandages, these were useless and we'd run out of ways to explain these did us no good as I was currently bandaged, much to the increasing consternation of the nurse who was completely baffled as to why we hadn't left yet. GF called the surgeon's office across town for an immediate appointment hoping they could better handle the fallout of this hospital's dismal post-op.

The nurse ordered me to get into the wheelchair unassisted - and started loading us up like pack mules - handing GF the heavy cold-pack unit and having me precariously hold two vertical crutches with one hand. "Not like this!" I must have yelled. "Put the heavy items on my lap where I can bear their weight and hold on to them and please give my GF the crutches to carry."

"Well he's one of those who just has to have everything his own way, isn't he?" she quipped, back to speaking about me rather than to me.

For reasons which still puzzle me, they let GF sign for, and pick up, my Schedule-1 narcotics while I had the patient transporter transport me outside where I could finally cool down, cool off, and hopefully, not barf. GF brings the car around. I'd thought it exceptionally brilliant on my part to drive the roomy Grand Marquis, but found that with my limited mobility and worse, the velour seats, it was like scooting across Velcro. Sliding in and out of the back of that car with those velour seats had me crying tears of frustration by the time we left the hospital to not go home.

It was at this point GF made an unscheduled detour and single-handedly saved the day. She palmed me an iced coffee, and a liter of ice cold water. That made all the difference in the world. The surgeon's office properly wrapped my knee with all the required equipment and sent us home.

Where I discovered far too late they'd told GF, but not me, that dilaudid can make you incontinent.

I'm probably still high.



Posted on 2017.01.21 at 21:32
Current Location: 67114

December 17, 1944 - January 20, 2017


120-hours of Mom

Posted on 2017.01.16 at 12:42
Current Location: 67114

Mom has been bedridden for over three years with both the autoimmune hidradenitis suppurativa, and dementia, and she has been rapidly declining for a number of reasons since dad passed away nearly a month ago. First and foremost, he was feeding her pain medication above and beyond what the nursing home was supplying because (and I know this sounds completely asinine) even with dementia she had to request them. Which, as you may be able to imagine, someone with dementia doesn't actually do. So when he passed, she was on her own, and in increasingly greater amounts of pain.

Additionally, dad was shipping her off to surgery once a month to keep her with him - he had all the hospice and DNR paperwork filled out, but hadn't signed any of it, choosing, at the last minute each time, to rush her to surgery. After discussing everything with my brother, I signed those papers when he passed away, and we placed her on hospice Thursday evening.

It was a relief to finally see her pain-free.

Monday morning I saw I had a voice mail from Shelly at the nursing home, who asked me to return her call. I did, but discovered she was in a meeting. "May I perhaps speak to another nurse?" I was told Shelly is the nursing home Administrator, and if she needed to speak to me, none of the nurses would know what it was about. Fine. I drove up there instead.

Imagine now my surprise when I found my mother absent. Additionally, there are two Shelly's (who apparently don't disambiguate themselves from one another and it was nurse Shelly as opposed to Administrator Shelly who'd called) and they'd shipped mom off to the ER on the authority of the hospice nurse who was now in charge of mom's care. I talked to mom's primary nurse (not nurse Shelly who was off-shift) who couldn't understand why a hospice nurse would take that action, and to get to the bottom of it was going to have a member of the hospice team contact me. When that finally happened, and I explained the situation, the hospice team member couldn't understand either, so wanted to contact mom's primary nurse, who I'd just spoken to, to see if she could figure out why her hospice nurse rushed mom to the emergency room once again.

The saga continues.

Hospice nurse said that mom's feeding tube was blocked with fecal matter, and they consider feeding tubes comfort care, which is why she was sent to have that corrected.



Posted on 2017.01.15 at 14:49
Current Location: 67114
Tags: ,
./VBoxManage internalcommands sethduuid /path/to/virtualdisk.vdi


The Art of Flowdown

Posted on 2017.01.10 at 16:03
Current Location: 67114

When I built my new desktop, I parted out my previous desktop and turned it into a headless fileserver in the server room. My daughter got the video card and GF got the RAM. I don't need 16GB of RAM and fancy graphics in a headless fileserver. Pulled all the drives except the 7200rpm 1TB boot drive and put the 10k in my new desktop as Photoshop scratch space - figure it will do pretty well at that.



Posted on 2017.01.10 at 14:18
Current Location: 67114

I made the mistake of telling the kids I was getting them the exact same thing for their birthdays this year. Bad move on my part, because now I can't give one their gift without altering the other (their birthdays are four months apart). Admitting my mistake to them, we worked out a plan to give them their birthday presents at the same time, one child two months early, and the other child, two months late. The date will be April 1st. In addition, I promised them one (and only one) hint: "While the tangible, non-cash gifts are identical, you will each use them differently." I've promised them they will love the gift (I usually suck at gift-giving), but one thinks I'm overstating and the other remains cautiously optimistic.

laptop, mouse, keyboard


Posted on 2017.01.10 at 14:00
Current Location: 67114
Tags: ,

Getting little buddy packed tight in anticipation I'll get the RMA from MadCatz. Poor little guy is only 18-months old (and has doubled in price since I bought him). Fortunately, I have three of these in a variety of styles, so hauled out my oldest one (a menacing, almost stealthy matte black - back when they were still branded, `Cyborg`) to run in its stead. I know you all are eager to hear of his adventures, so will keep you posted on his journey!

Dallas Pegasus

Justice of the Peace

Posted on 2017.01.05 at 15:52
Current Location: 67114

Received a copy of my father's Certificate of Death from the Dallas County funeral home to review before sending it to Austin for finalization. The date was incorrect, so I corrected it and resubmitted it to the Dallas County funeral home. They rejected my change because the Wise County Justice of the Peace gave the Dallas funeral home the date, and only the Justice of the Peace is authorized to rescind that date.

Curious, I called the local Wise County funeral home and asked them what day they took possession of my father - it was the day before the date on the Certificate of Death signed by the Wise County Justice of the Peace. Apparently the Wise County funeral home, using 1970s technology, sent a facsimile to the Wise County Justice of the Peace which arrived after midnight :O

I have since asked the Wise County funeral home to contact the Wise County Justice of the Peace to explain how all this works in hopes he will contact the Dallas County funeral home so we can finalize a corrected copy of my father's Certificate of Death.



Posted on 2016.12.28 at 20:25
Current Location: 67114
Tags: , ,

I lost my 2nd Xeon processor. I pulled it out of my server a couple of years back for reasons unknown, and now can't find it. Trying to update our DL360 Minecraft server and Biomes O'Plenty for our holiday games.


A Very Supernatural Christmas

Posted on 2016.12.23 at 20:22
Current Location: 76234

October 13, 1943 - December 19, 2016

We had, this past November, what most people probably consider a stereotypical Family Thanksgiving. We had the leaf in the table, the giant turkey, homemade pumpkin pies, fancy beer and wine, and a seven course meal. With my new lens, I finally got some fantastic portraits of Dad, and some excellent, excellent shots of Dad and the kids together. We went to the theater (something he enjoyed doing every time he came down) and watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on the big screen. He enjoyed watching Hello Dolly with his grandson in high-def late at night the next day, and he got to share one of his all time favorite movies with Dorian, Les Misérables, again in high-definition, with the subwoofer thunderously announcing each musical number. God we had fun.

And we talked, often. Every other day or so since I got back stateside from overseas deployment. We never left anything unsaid, nor took offense at one another, and could share our sometimes very different opinions with one another openly and without repercussion. We never harbored hidden agendas or attempted to gain the advantage over each other, rather sought to fully understand the other's perspective. Often we would call one another just to ask the actor we'd forgotten in a movie, or an ingredient in an upcoming recipe we wanted to make. And my son shares the same love for filmscore my father passed on to me.

I miss the shit out of him already, but am relieved beyond words that I have no regrets, no guilt, and had no missed opportunities to tell him how much I loved him and how much I appreciated him. Everything that is happening now is exactly the kind of thing I would be sharing with him, were I able. He passed away quickly and quietly in his easy chair Monday night.

Dorian and I will be spending Christmas in a hotel in Decatur, TX, just like Sam and Dean Winchester.


Windows 10

Posted on 2016.12.16 at 16:36
Current Location: 67114

When Windows 95 was first released, IIRC it came on 30 floppy disks. It was later released on a shiny new, "CD-ROM" where it remained for a very long time. Having shied away from optical media this past decade, I ordered my first standalone Windows install media since Windows ME came out in 1999 on USB. Here, for comparison, I happen to have, thirty floppy disks.


More Koken

Posted on 2016.12.14 at 17:13
Current Location: 67114
Tags: ,

Back on ChunkHost using a second VPS I created awhile back to migrate from one I am (now) seriously overpaying for. $14/month was a fantastic VPS price when I started using it back in 08/09 but that same build is now something like $1.95/month and they're still charging me $14. ANYWAY, I'd built out a way beefier one for the same $14 but ran into Ubuntu upgrade issues after my snapshot restore. Like, six times, so built a new one to just migrate everything to six months ago or so and still haven't done that. So I'm using it in the interim for NEWTONKANSAS.US which is great news! Unfortunately a block-upgrade of Koken disallowed the deletion pictures from the online library (and the forums were NOT helpful). You know what was helpful? Koken support! I turned in a ticket and with the patience of a saint, he got it working.

There were several packages I had to install/upgrade, none of them under the default repository. Which I had to jump through hoops even to add the software which adds the repositories:

apt-file search add-apt-repository
apt-get install software-properties-common
add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

I then took the opportunity to uninstall php7.0 before installing php7.1:

apt-get install php7.1-readline php7.1-opcache php7.1-json php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-mysql php7.1-fpm php7.1-cli php7.1-common libapache2-mod-php7.1 php7.1-curl

Then lastly, UTF-8

apt-get install php-patchwork-utf8
spt-get install php7.1-xml
a2enconf php7.1-fpm
a2enmod proxy_fcgi setenvif
service apache2 restart

And before everything would work, I vi'd apache2.conf and added/edited:

AddDefaultCharset UTF-8 to the # Global configuration, and
default_charset = "utf8" to php.ini.

Koken now has its own tag :/

laptop, mouse, keyboard

The Dreaded Upgrade

Posted on 2016.12.10 at 13:29
Current Location: 67114

Its been happening from time to time - the random, "freezes" and the occasional CPU/MEMORY/DISK spikes. The DISK ones are the worst. And here lately - probably related to those spikes, well...my games haven't been nearly as responsive. Lower frame rates, intermittent hangs. It was time, though I really haven't been looking forward to this day. Upgrades are rarely as joyous as they sound; they are overwhelming upheavals of your entire way of life. Unfortunately, entropy affects us all.

And I hate this part, the deciding upon. I've pretty much compared everything for six hours straight, and here's my second configuration, which puts me close to $400 over my artificial budget (most places will sell you a mid-range gaming rig for just over $1000, this will be significantly better than those):

8-Core 4.0GHz AMD FX-8370 w/Wraith Cooler
32GB DDR3-2133MHz RAM
MSI 990FXA Gaming Mobo
MSI GTX-1060 Graphics
Fully Modular EVGA SuperNOVA GOLD 750W Power Supply
Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card
4TB 7200 RPM/128MB Cache WD Gold Datacenter HDD
Cooler Master Storm Stryker Full-Tower Case

I really wanted a smaller form factor case, but I have too many drives to stuff into that fucker. and this one operates almost like a test-bench which is nice for all the impromptu configuration when you have to stuff your mitts in the internals. Surprisingly, perhaps, my circa-2004 36GB 10k Raptor is still running (fantastic for VM guests) and I plan to have not only a hot-swap SSD boot drive, but also a tertiary SSD drive, as well as a separate volume just to host my iTunes music (mostly for ease of backup/recovery purpose). The impressive stats of that enterprise-level 4TB harddrive should perform flawlessly for photo storage/manipulation & gaming, and while everyone in my household would love the GTX1080, dropping $300 instead of $600 for a graphics card seems prudent, especailly knowing PhotoShop & PowerDirector both can still benefit from ancillary usage of its GPU.

So that's where we are. If I get it before the end of the year, I think I should be able to write-off the upgrade to EHOWTON PHOTOGRAPHY.


Newton, KS Snowfall 2016

Posted on 2016.12.07 at 19:17
Current Location: 67114

Steve Martin

Commissioned Work

Posted on 2016.12.05 at 18:04
Current Location: 67114

1:00 1:09

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Eric B&W

December 1st, 2016

Posted on 2016.12.01 at 23:59
Current Location: 67114

Eric Howton Self Portrait December 1, 2016

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