Noah's Arkive

Cosmic Musings and ColdFusion

Noah's Arkive

Sick and Tired

August 06, 2019 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

January 2018

I was sick. Sick and tired. My contract with USDA was at an end. I was 69 years old. I wanted to work 'til 72, max out the Social Security. But I was tired. Tired when I woke, when I trod off to work, tired at work, on the way home. At home too tired to do much beside watch TV and some chores. 

And sick. Diabetes, you see, and cardiac artery disease (CAD) and periphial artery disease (PAD) and a thyroid on vacation.

The pain from the blood pooling in my legs was such that I could walk no more than a few hundred feet, if that, before I had to stop and wait until it susbided, then continue. My feet were on fire from neuropathy. (A neighbor remarked that I "looked so angry" walking home. It wasn't anger, it was pain.)

There's short hill on the way to the bus; really just an incline of 20 feet or so. I paused at the bottom contemplating it, I rested in the middle, and at it's end I often stopped completely. My heart pounding in my ears, my chest heaving, gasping, my legs knotted. I dared not move. And the, angina: the pressure eminating from the center of my chest, upwards into my face, laterally into my arms. I knew that one day it was going to force me to the pavement, and there was no getting up.

The were three times I remember (perhaps more that I don't want to remember) when I turned about, crawled back home and called in sick. Unable to make it work. As it was, I was sicker than I even knew at the time.

I looked online for one of those "mobilty scooters". I thought about having groceries delivered, maybe make arrangements for an accessible van to get me to the metro. 

And so I began assembling my resume, updating my laptop demo, took some online courses to brush up some coding skills (I am a programmer) and started to look for work. But my efforts soon languished. I had no energy, no focus, no particular goal. I could not see past my circumstance or condition. I had accepted my inevitable and quickening decline.

I wrote in a notebook that "diabetes is death by millimeters: every day you feel a tiny bit worse and it never gets any better." And so I sat in my lounger watching cable news, yelling at the talking heads, eating bags of the "healthy - faux - potato chips." I waited for disease to cripple me, destroy my kidneys, my arteries, render me helpless and finally kill me. I had given up.

So I retired. And retirement meant Medicare. And Medicare meant a new doctor. And a new doctor meant a complete workup. The results were worse than lousy across the board: out of control blood sugar, triglycerides way too high, indications that my kidneys were in trouble, and a host of very dangerous symptoms.

My doctor said "What happened Noah, what happened to you?!" And then, holding up the printout for me to see, said "You cannot hope for a good outcome with numbers like these." I was a bit shocked; no physician ever spoke so directly to me. He pointed to my weight - 223lbs. at the time - and said that it was critical to get my weight down. He pointed out that if I can do that, a lot of things might take care of themselves.

He woke me up. He scared the hell out of me. I realized at that moment, at that very moment, I had a decision to make: I could face a problem that plagued me my entire life - that I was obese - or I could accept it.

I chose to fight.

No CommentsTags: Diabetes · Pilates · THWN · Transformation · Weight Loss · Yoga


November 21, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

Discovered a bug in Test::WWW::Mechanize, at least using the Catalyst framework.

ok($mech->put(),"returns true, though the RESTful PUT fails!");
$mech->put_ok($put, "returns false, though the RESTful PUT succeeds!?");

This bug really degrades the quality of TAP as any subsequent tests within a subtest are skipped on failure. Futher, the $mech->put() failure proscribes a work-around. More research for me, for sure.

No CommentsTags: Development · Perl · Testing


November 21, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

Distressing news from Charlotte: my mother Ruth is in hospice after a horrendously painful bout of cellulitis. Someone who have lived so long and generously does not deserve such suffering. We hope her time with us will be at least comfortable. When I last spoke to her, she sounded weak but lucid, surrounded by Leah, my sister, and her spouse, Terri. We are thankful for that and for them to comfort and support her.

It is a time to reflect on the breadth of her life. She was born in 1911. She remembers the influenza epidemic of 1918 that took her brother Ignaz's life aboard a troop ship returning from Europe's battle field. She remembers the depression, when her father Max lost 'the jewelry store', and World War II, Korea, many wars.

She spent 50 years as secretary to our local temple. Judaism was always the focal point of our family. She raised three sons and a daughter, all of whom, a bit battered and worse for wear, will survive her.

One hundred two years.


No CommentsTags: Personal

A Conservative Alternative to ObamaCare. Really?

November 16, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · 1 Comment

Ponuru and Levin bemoan the lack of an Republican Conservative alternative to the Affordable Care Act. "To avoid a lurch to the left if the current law fails, the time is right to present sensible, market-oriented reforms."

On Morning Joe, where JS never fails to miss the point, Scarborough remains depressingly consistent by insisting just how much better Repubs would do in '14 if they just presented a plausible alternative to ObamaCare.

Let's consider the Ryan plan, the GOP's flagship alternative. It would roll back all of the ACA's benefits and would allow insurance companies to incorporate in states with the lowest regulatory standards. Though it claims to allow persons with pre-existing conditions to enroll and dis-allow recision (gee, maybe the ACA is not so bad afterall), it says nothing about the process or financing that would support such features. In short, the Republican plan would leave the country worse off even without the implementation of ObamaCare. Like most of Paul Ryan's policy excresenses, it has crawled back into the Heritage Foundation's archives and out of the political spotlight.

But that's not the point. There will never be a credible Republican alternative for universal health care.

It's very clear that the GOP doesn't believe that the government has a role in seeing after the health of ordinary Americans. It doesn't believe that the welfare of the elderly, the very young, the poverty-stricken, the working stiff should be a national concern. 

The Republicans do not believe in Medicare, in Social Security in Food Stamps. If you ain't got the bucks, if you must deal with adversity, tough luck, too bad.

Universal Health Care? You must be kidding.

1 CommentTags: Politics

New OS, new language, new frameworks

November 16, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

Moved over to USDA/NASS (National Agricultural Statistical Services) from HHS/ASPE. From warm and fuzzy to hardcore development.

All at once I move from Windows (yeah!) to UNIX (cool) while learning PERL and the Catalyst restful framework. Its been three weeks of head-stuffing and often frustrating development. I fell exhausted at the end of every day.

I'm in a bullpen with a guru and two other developers, under the gun because of some supervisor's paranoia. The team seems confident of coming through on time; me, I have no idea.

I find my own task quite frustrating. When my tests fail I must determine whether my code is at fault, if the test is deprecated or if the test is dead in the water. The last I discovered after hours of trying Friday. I seems that a RESTful request by a test - as opposed to an HTTP request - fails authentication. Our geeks were unable to come up with a solution. Back to the forums and newsnets.

I just wish I could be more productive.

UNIX rocks! I've always been on Windows (I write this on Win8 from home) and a mouser. Now, using Ubuntu, terminal windows and Vim, I gotta keep the hands at home and away from the arrow keys. That education is coming along well, however, slowly. It takes time to develope muscle memory (and fix bad typing practices from years of using the dreaded mouse).

Especially using Vim, I still have to think. There are times I really get lost, inronically, when I complete a command automatically - :q! - without thinking, then try to remember what I've done!

So, just a ton of stuff to learn. I really hope I get a handle on all this soon.

No CommentsTags: Development

The Apotheosis of Cruz

October 16, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

We have seen it. We have born witness to the Ted Cruz apotheosis.

It was in Ted's power to lay claim to the shutdown, to the default. He had the power of veto, to make his claim, to stay his course of obstruction and chaos.

When all eyes were on him, when his name was on every commentators breath on every news channel, when he was the lynchpin of the mob, when he acheived what he so eagerly sought - the complete attention of the the nation - Ted Cruz demurred. Ted Cruz proved himself a coward.

In the end, he did not have the will to claim  responsibility for all the damage, the suffering, the humiliation he caused. Instead, he will settle for a quiet 'no', a final vote to keep government shut and send America into economic chaos. A pathetic and useless end.

No senator in recent memory has engendered such overt hatred and dismay as Cruz. No political personality has been so transparently self-serving. Neither Congress, the House and the Senate, even Tea Party conservatives, will trust him with anything. When this continuing resolution needs renewing, and the debt ceiling needs raising, no one will seek Ted Cruz's council. He has betrayed friend and foe.

Maybe he can rehabilitate himself with the hard, unglamorous work of legislating, though I think it's not something that interests him. He will continue to look for the 'hook', the easy lever to power and notariety. However, the memory of the Senate is longer than that of the public. In that body, where politess and political comity count for much more than effusive personality,  he will not be forgiven.

No CommentsTags: Politics

Tea Party Lies About WWII Memorial

October 16, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive ·

It seems that Tea Party Assholes (TPA) - especially Bachmann, Cruz, Palin (oy veh what a cast!) - invited America to a masquarade based on lies.

TPA Representatives in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (chair by TPA Issa) called National Park Service Director Jarvis on the carpet to explain why he denied WWII veterans access to the World War II Memorial. Director Jarvis responded that he allowed veteran groups access to the WWII Memorial -  as well as the somewhat less photogenic Korean and Vietnam memorials - as 'a First Amendment activity'. No veteran group was ever turned away from visiting these national monuments during the shutdown.

The national freak show in the shadow of the Washington Monument was a lie, a sham and certainly entirely off the irony meter.


Who wins?

October 16, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

In the face of possible default, the stock market is up 200 points. More suffering for the middle class, more gelt for Wall Street.

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The nihilists in charge: default tonight

October 16, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

Day 16 of the shutdown. I've been out of work two weeks. As a contractor, I've lost irrecoverable income; no retroactive pay for me.

It is so discouraging. I worked at ASPE, the heart of darkness as far as Obamacare is concerned - the offices that shaped policy for that landmark legislation. And if I learned anything working as HHS, it's just how hard people in government labor in service to the nation.

Yet the far right can only disparage those efforts. It has no understanding of policy, no interest in a constructive dialog. Instead, we get avowed un-truth, slander and wanton disrespect for the institutions of legislation. It is a conclave of ignorants, steeped in racial bigotry, with minds poisoned by religion. Somehow, this minority has been allowed to grab the levers of national power.

I really believe that the Shutdown was the point of the Shutdown. The Tea Party regards closing the government as its own victory. They have vindictively punished hundreds of thousands because they've been unable to achieve their political ends legitimately.

So now we come to the final impasse, the 11th hour despiration, the ultimate attempt at sanity before catastrophe. Will the bona-fide assholes - Ted Cruz in particular - be able to resist the temptation for grands standing and agrandizement at the expense of the country's welfare? I certainly hope so.

Stocks are up at this moment. I don't know why. I'm certainly not so optimistic. To the Tea Party, America in default is its own point. Why? Because they can.


No CommentsTags: Politics

An urgent appeal to Dan Savage

October 14, 2013 · By Noah's Arkive · No Comments

It is far, far past the time that you do for Ted Cruz what you did for Rick Santorum!

Please? Pretty please?

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