Code Test0rization

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system in your neighborhood. Safely ignore this unless you believe that you are under so much duress that your situation warrants assistance.

What this really means is that I am doing a little test and that this post can be safely ignored. Maybe I found a use for this blog finally?

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Blog Usage

It has been well over a year since I posted anything on my WordPress.com blog. There just does not seem to be any particular reason to post on it since I have my very own WordPress powered blog on my own domain. However, I do not want to get rid of this blog, and do want to post something of value here.

With that said, any suggestions on how to better use this blog? Like, maybe, any ideas for quality content that I should post here but not on my personal blog?

Is 2005 Over Yet?

This year has been utter hell on me and my family. I have spoken about the majority of what has taken place though there are a few things that I have not mentioned, for various reason.

It started on January 1, 2005, when, after midnight on the 31st, my wife and her parents got in to an argument that resulted in her having a huge anxiety attack. This, that and the other thing happened throughout the beginning of the year. There was the a series of three tree fire attacks on my house throughout the beginning of summer. A couple weeks after I returned back home from the deviantART Summit I found myself involuntarily terminated. Some other intriguing odds and ends between now and then took place.

Things culminated this weekend as my beloved wife found herself checked in to a local hospital after having been rushed there via ambulance.

I am sitting at home Friday afternoon working on a few things while Junko heads out to the bank and to do some quick shopping at the local supermarket. She parked the car in the store parking lot and walked out to the bank. While in line she started feeling a slight pain in her lower abdomen though she was able to get through the banking. Thinking that maybe a bout of constipation was creeping down on her she headed for the bathroom though that was pointless.

The pain would not subside so she left the bathroom. On her way out she searched her purse for her cell phone; it was not there as she left it at home. She made it out of the bank and surveyed the area for a pay phone. Not a single one within sight. Junko set out to make it back to the car and head home, as she had a parent/teacher conference at 1530 and here it was already 1440.

As she started walking towards the supermarket more pain shot through her lower abdomen. It was unbearable. She was sweating like it was the middle of summer yet the temperature outside was a balmy 70c, give or take. After a few steps of this tormenting she almost fell over. Luckily a street sign-pole was right in front of her; she was able to rest her body on in order to hold it up.

She doubled over in agonizing pain. A few people nearby noticed and asked if she was alright. After quickly explaining the situation as best she could considering the circumstances, she was advised to get to a hospital ASAP. A nearby man made good use of his cell phone and called for an ambulance. Out of sheer luck, not that this situation involved any of that whatsoever, this particular bystander was able to speak English. My wife gave him our house number and he dialed it so that he could tell me what was taking place.

I am sitting at home Friday afternoon working on a few things while Junko heads out to the bank and to do some quick shopping at the local supermarket. She left the house around 1330 and said she would be back soon as she has a parent/teacher conference with Anthony’s fifth-grade teacher at 1530.

While working I notice the clock and realize that it is 1440 and think to myself, “where is Junko?” I figured that she must have run in to some traffic at the bank and that was why she had yet to make it home. A few minutes pass and the phone suddenly rings.

“Hello,” I answer.

“Hello,” in a male voice, with a Japanese accent. “How are you?”

“Uh … I am fine,” I retort. Thinking to myself why this guy is asking me how I am doing. I have not the slightest clue who it is and quickly figured that he must be a salesman trying to play nice. Since I was not doing anything dangerously important I decided to play along for a moment. “How are you?”

“I am fine too, thank you.” Then he says something that puts the fear of God in to my heart. “Your wife is not feeling good. She has a very bad stomach ache and can not walk. An ambulance is on the way.” He explains the whole situation in good enough English that I understand the gravity of the situation. We exchange a few more words before hanging up and I rush out the door.

Junko has the car and the store is roughly 3km, mostly up-hill, from the house. I grab her bike, which has damn-near flat tires, and take off like an F14 being jettisoned from an aircraft carrier. As I am riding I can hear an ambulance in the distance; the neighborhood we live in is a fairly quiet one. Somehow I make it over to the supermarket in 15 minutes even though I told the man it would take 10, knowing full well that was a lie at the time.

Throw the bike down and survey the area; end up proceeding in the area where I assume that they are located. I see no ambulance though as I pass the entrance to the bank I see a young mother, with her daughter in a stroller, as well as an older lady look at me. Their faces somewhat light up as we make eye contact with each other. Something tells me that this is the right place.

The younger of the two calls over a man standing about 10 feet from them. We quickly greet and shake hands. He proceeds to tell me that the ambulance left 5 minutes ago and explains which hospital they were destined for. I express my extreme gratitude to all of them and rush back to the bike only to end up completely ignoring it and deciding to grab a taxi to get home as fast as possible.

I get home within 5 minutes, if not sooner, find Anthony at the park and call another taxi. The two of us jump in the back seat and head for the hospital.

When we arrive there Junko is being checked out by the doctors. We wait patiently for about 20 minutes until we see a nurse rolling her in a wheelchair. She looks spent and can barely speak. An IV is attached to her arm, feeding her antibiotics and other important fluids.
Her white blood cell count is roughly 3 times the norm so the doctor wants to run some more tests on her. Unfortunately she will have to be admitted for 1 night if not more; observation is necessary so Junko is not allowed to return home.

What a way to begin December; the final month in a year that will ultimately not be forgotten; one that we wish would end sooner rather than later.

So here we are; it is now late Saturday night and Junko is still admitted to the hospital. The tests thus far have been inconclusive so on Monday they plan to do an MRI. Depending on the outcome will determine if she can go home or if a longer stay is necessary.

This long, and overly-lengthy, explanation is, in some strange sense, therapy of some type for me. Having had happen all that has taken place this year is bad enough. But to cap it off with my wife in the hospital is just icing on some kind of shit-filled cake.

It is time for me to go lay down and relax while watching “March of the Penguins” by Luc Jacquet. Hard to loosen up under these circumstances but you have to do it. For those that do read this in its entirety I thank you very much in advance. I pass along my most sincere gratitude for any condolences that are passed along.

I pray that a year like mine does not happen to anyone. Much love to all.

Eye Level Opens

Eye Level, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s blog, just opened and is welcoming new visitors that are interested in art. In short, the folks behind the blog investigate the history, evolution and currents among American history.

With so many art lovers out there they endeavor to get valuable dialogue going between artists, curators, collectors, and enthusiasts on a broad range of subjects related to American art. The idea is to spark the same types of conversations you would see in an art museum.

Sounds like a very unique and intriguing idea. There are not a lot of art blogs out there so this is a welcome addition to the Intarweb.

How To Treat Your Customers Right

Six Apart, creators of Movable Type and TypePad and owners of LiveJournal, have just posted some lessons learned regarding TypePad’s performance and how they have interacted with their customers throughout the entire ordeal. It is an excellent read that any web based business should really pay strict attention to.

A couple of the points that struck me as extremely important were the following:

  1. Ignore the tone of nasty complaints, but pay attention to the underlying messages.
  2. Understand that the people giving feedback represent many who remain silent.
  3. Don’t be afraid to communicate.
  4. Trust your customers.

There is more substance to each of the aforementioned points if you read the actual article itself, which you should. Those just stood out, especially when coupled with how deviantART, Inc. reacts to the very people it relies on in order to remain in business.

If only deviantART, Inc. was capable of being so transparent then we all might have a much more enjoyable deviantART.