A New Start

I’m feeling inspired to create this year. Not sure what that means… but we’ll start with writing again. If you’ve liked any of the non-Pulitzer winning things I’ve rambled about in the past, I’m moving everything to a new location.


So long troutdog – hello new troutdog! I hope to see you on the other side.


Weekly Wrap Up #2389

Thoughts for the week. Because thoughts posted on a Friday probably won’t be read and I can’t think of anything else to post on the Instagram. Even I’m tired of posting dog pictures.

– I finished “Suicide of the West”. I do recommend it. The author has an understanding of classical history that makes me wonder what classes I took in school. I vaguely remember learning something about the pilgrims and I think there was something about robber barons and Egyptians. Definitely pyramids. I remember pyramids. The libertarian in me mostly liked the book, but I’m probably not smart enough to know if I really do or not.cruise2

– After swearing I wouldn’t watch another one, I sat through most of the second Jack Reacher movie. Firstly, what the hell did Tom Cruise do to his face? There’s a weird Wayne Newton thing going on. Second, on what planet did someone think Tom Cruise would make a good Jack Reacher?

– Sticking with the movie theme, I finally watched “The Last Jedi”. Brace yourselves Star Wars geeks… it was unwatchable. Horrible. I’m out.

– On the golf front, I’ve spent approximately 83 hours at the range in the last few days. I’ve got the ball going in the air about 40% of the time. Only a few clubs have been thrown. To the ten year old having her first lesson, I apologize for the words you heard. Those are golf words and you’re going to have to learn them at some point.

– Here in Idaho we went from cold and wet to 100 degrees. To all the friends and family we convinced to move here… you actually believed me when I said we don’t have much heat until late August? <insert Dr Evil sinister laugh>

– Several hundred dollars in ice cream (don’t ask) sitting in the freezer is not conducive to the diet. If this is some sort of Zen/Buddhist/navy seal willpower thing, I’ve failed.

– I’ve been mountain biking with the hound quite a bit lately. It’s pretty hard to tire out a Vizsla when you can’t keep up with him (see ice cream note above). mtb dog

– I’m going down the vitamin/supplement road. I saw some stuff on YouTube, so it’s got to be legit. D, B12, apple cider vinegar. I chase it down with bourbon. Not sure which one is making me feel better.

– Been doing the time restricted feeding thing for a bit now. Down 10 pounds. If I could keep my feeding window from being mostly nachos I’d probably be able to ride uphill better. The downhill part is going well (something about mass + velocity).

– Mrs Troutdog and I officially cut the cable cord. Doing the streaming thing only. The interface sucks and I don’t have the patience to find anything to watch. The end result is that I rarely watch TV anymore. I’m not sure what I’m doing with my time now, but it’s not TV.

– I’m developing a serious love/hate relationship with old people. Some of them are the coolest patients and I could spend all day listening to their stories. Some of them are the nastiest human beings you can imagine. Generally, If they weren’t a nice person to begin with and managed to make it to 80+, there is no filter anymore. Don’t be one of those people.

Until next week (unless I win the lottery, turn pro on the senior PGA tour, get picked for Dancing with the Stars, or the zombie apocalypse)…

Dean Vernon Wormer: Here are your grade point averages. Mr. Kroger: two C’s, two D’s, and an F. That’s a 1.2. Congratulations, Kroger. You’re at the top of the Delta pledge class. Mr. Dorfman?

Flounder: [drunk] Hello!

Dean Vernon Wormer: 0.2… Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

On Compassion

I received a little recognition the other day at work for being “compassionate and caring”. This was funny to me since that’s certainly not how I see myself, and probably not how others see me. I like guns, teasing fish with badly tied flies, the Darwin awards, and generally have limited tolerance for people who repeatedly make poor life choices. How could I poscallbellsibly be considered compassionate?

Being an RN has lead me down an interesting road of self discovery. I find that I’m becoming increasingly more caring towards people in need, and simultaneously far less tolerant of general asshatery and poor decision making. On my floor we see some pretty terrible things. Horrible car accidents resulting in brain injuries that aren’t recoverable, strokes, spinal injuries, brain tumors with poor outcomes, generally some of the worst days of peoples lives.

When dealing with these patients, you’re reminded of how lucky we are – and how fleeting our time here is. You never know what’s around the corner. I’ve been extremely fortunate and can’t imagine what it’s like to be in their shoes. If I can do something to make the brief time I’m with them better, I do it. It’s a side of me that I didn’t realize was there. It makes me feel good and hopefully eases their burden a tiny bit.

The other side of the coin has hardened me. The repeat drunks detoxing, chronic users sneaking drugs into their room and injecting into their IV lines, pemtdewople who are convinced they’ve checked into the Fairmont hotel and expect to be waited upon, and the 400 pound patient on oxygen who’s eating a bag of Doritos and is pissed at me because I won’t help her waddle to the patio to smoke or give another dose of morphine.

For these people I’m rapidly losing my ability to feel sympathy. Life is short and you have a choice as to how you want to live it. Being a jerk is a choice. Treating others like crap is a choice. Making poor lifestyle choices… and then continuing to make them is a conscious decision. (Yes, I understand addiction and mental illness and its impact but a very large percentage of these folks are just generally not nice people) Knowing that the hospital and taxpayers will be dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars and days/weeks/months of care on someone who is going to check back in for the exact same thing before too long is hard to process sometimes. My compassion meter runs a little low some days.

I think that the reason I received that little nod at work is not because I’m Mr. Compassion, crying and empathizing with every patient who spilled their pumpkin spice latte, but because I treat everyone exactly the same. From the drug user to the VIP, I give the same care. As a patient, you’ll never know what my inside voice is saying. I think the trick to longevity in this job is finding an outlet so that inside voice stays inside.

As the old saying goes, don’t be a jerk to the person fixing your food, cleaning your hotel room, or caring for you at the hospital. You never know when their inside voice might become their outside voice.

“Well the jerk store called, they’re running outta you!” – George Costanza


Monkeys And Script Writing

The infinite monkey theorem states that an infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters, given an infinite amount of time, will produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Or Matt Groening. Recently Hollywood has embarked upon an ambitious effort to validate this theory. Fox studios bankrolled flotillas of monkeys, all tethered to tiny little typewriters (the monkeys were unable to manipulate iPads)  in giant air-conditioned warehouses. Thousands of monkey handlers kept the “writers” comfortable with banana smoothies and back rubs while they banged away at their tiny little keys. The result? Ridley Scott’s blockbuster hit Prometheus.

I’d be curious what the public thought of movies in the 60’s or 70’s. Were they bored with The Graduate or Hang ’em High? Today it seems rare when a movie has a great plot that feels original. There seems to be only two development tracks in Hollywood when it comes to big budget movies these days. The first track is a remake of an older film or TV show. Why waste money on a good story when you can re-hash something already done? The second path I’ll call the effects track. Otherwise known as “I have a gazillion dollar special effects budget and have already started blowing shit up (CG of course). The action figure production line in China is already in full swing. Someone should probably write some words to go with all this cool stuff.”

Prometheus felt more like the later. However, they certainly didn’t shy away from the implied tie to the original Alien series. The problem is that the monkeys, while certainly doing their job admirably, have little grasp of plot lines and story continuity. Dozens of plot lines never seemed to come together. Lack of clarity on character motivations. Understandable since monkeys, while seasoned space travelers, have little experience in the corporate world. They also have little understanding of basic human anatomy. Otherwise you wouldn’t have a primary character running, rapeling, and doing basic alien dodging (don’t worry, no spoilers here) mere minutes after major abdominal surgery. Uh, wait this is the future. Never mind. I forget that we’ve solved basic physiology issues in the future.

Oh, and if you’re going to invest a truck-load of cash in a mega star like Charlize Theron you may not want her to deliver lines like a robot. Unless she is. Or is she? Hmmm… Call me crazy, but for all that money I’d think you’d want your big star to have more than five minutes of screen time. And more nearly naked push ups. Just saying.

The Swiss Ball Creed (for DPR)

This is my swiss ball. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My swiss ball is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My swiss ball, without me, is useless. Without my swiss ball, I am useless. I must sit straight on my swiss ball. I must sit straighter than my co-worker who is trying to outwork me. I must outwork him before he outworks me. I will…

My swiss ball and myself know that what counts in this marketplace is not the faxes we send, the noise of our printers, nor the typing we do. We know that it is the buildings we build that count. We will build…

My swiss ball is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its valves and its ridges. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my swiss ball clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before God, I swear this creed. My swiss ball and myself are the defenders of my company. We are the masters of our competitors. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is DPR’s and there is no economic slowdown, but construction!

Mmmmm, Barbeque

I decided to try something I’d been thinking about for a while on the grill – pulled pork (or simply BBQ if you’re from the south).  Since it was a trial run, it was supposed to just be a few immediate family members who’d understand if it went terribly wrong.  Somehow we ended up inviting two cousins, their three kids, and grandmother.  12 people in all – so much for a trial run!
Fortunately, all went well.  I used a Boston Butt (A.K.A pork butt, pork shoulder).  Made a dry rub of paprika, cumin, mustard, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Marinated it for almost 24 hours.  I slow cooked the roast over indirect heat at about 275 degrees for six hours.  Took it off the grill and let it rest in aluminum foil in a paper sack for 40 minutes.  Added about a quarter cup of my homemade barbeque sauce after chopping it up.
It came out very moist with great flavor.  Next time it needs to be chopped/pulled to smaller pieces.  Barbeque sauce needs to have more tang, less sweetness.  I probably could have taken the meat off the grill at five hours, but the temp was only 170 in the center and the book I was using said should be 185.  I’ll definitely be doing this one again.