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Topics - RAFH

General Discussion / Ben Ure
Ben Ure is a figure from late 19th century Pacific Northwest. He was a smuggler and operated out of what is now called Bur Ure Island just to the east of Deception Pass. It's about 1000' long and 500' wide and about 80' at it's highest point. It site right at the entrance to Cornet Bay. There's a smaller island, Strawberry, farther out in the channel.

Ure was not a nice guy. He not only smuggled liquor but also Chinese workers, kept in burlap bags on deck so if the Government boats approached to board him, he could rapidly toss them overboard and let the currents take them to Deadman's Bay on San Juan Island.

However, his island is a very nice place. It's mostly owned by the Washington State Parks as part of Deception Pass State Park and there is a cabin on it the Park Service rents out. It's only 12' x 24' and there's no potable water and no dock. In fact, not much of a beach either to land a kayak or canoe on. That's a requirement, you can only visit the island by human or wind powered craft. The cabin is limited to two occupants. There are 6 other cabins, privately owned, on the island and they are off limits as is most of the island. But the State Parks cabin is really nice. It does have electricity and there's a complete kitchen and a small toilet room, the show is outdoors. Heat is provided by a wood stove and a couple of electric heaters. There is water but it's not potable and smells like sulfur. That's one of the downsides. The other is the awful futon. Best to just lay the cushion on the floor. You do have to bring, in addition to your own drinking water, your own bed linens and blankets. As well as your own wood.

But the views, from both the huge deck and from inside out the large sliding doors, are amazing. And it's so quiet. And there's no one to bother you. The residents of the other private cabins are not supposed to enter the State Park land associated with the cabin.

It's a short paddle over to the island from the boat ramp, about 500 yards. Strawberry is another 350 to 400 yards to the north. There's really no good place to land, though there are a couple of flat places in the rock at high tide below the 10' to 15' cliff. From those it's a couple hundred yard long walk to the cabin, which all the stuff you need to bring with you complicates some. Still, it's one of the best places I've ever stayed. The cabins at Waianapanapa near Hana on Maui might be a bit nicer, they do have running potable water and their views are at least as good.

There is a lot of current in the channels. A lot of current. Not the place for anyone not an expert with boating and especially not with kayaks or canoes. Up to 8 knots and with a stiff wind off Juan de Fuca Strait, up to 6' high standing waves and lots of very powerful eddies and whirlpools.

The park itself is also very nice. And the bridges over the Pass are gorgeous. It's one of the most scenic sights in a State with an abundance of scenery.

We spent two nights there two weeks ago and are going back for four nights next June.
Politics and Current Events / Suing Equifax
Suing Equifax over Breach

An interesting development.

Dunno, with 134M accounts compromised and this effort looking for $10,000 each, it could well be way beyond the resources of Equifax, if all victims sued and the courts awarded the request, that'd be $1,340,000,000. I would think Equifax would simply close up shop.

Upside of all this may be much tighter regulation of credit reporting companies. Much, much tighter. Especially when a bunch of Senators and Congresspeople find out their data was breached. Along with major bank and investment company big wigs, rich people, generals, CEOs of major corporations, etc.
Wow! That's all I can say about these islands, especially Lopes. I know it's against my interests to interest others in this place, but Wow.
We spent the 22nd through the 25th on Lopez. We were here last Fall for one night and fell in love with the place. It is excruciatingly beautiful, every view is a picture postcard. Doesn't matter which way you turn or where you are. It's all just gorgeous.

This time we camped at Spencer Spit, on the northern end of the eastern shore. It's an odd place, this spit of sand and gravel sticking out into a channel between Lopez and Frost Islands for the last 15K years. With a serious current between the two, both ways with the tide. It should not exist but it does. Great beach combing and a really nice campground, site 14 is especially nice. Long walk from the camp areas to the beach with a significant vertical drop.

The rest of the island is magical. From the numerous coves on the south end to Lopez Village on the east side (with one of the best sources of fudge in the world - but pricey) to Sharks Reef where there is a massive tidal race (heard the roar of the water from 200 yards back in the forest). I mean, seriously, some of the channels between the rocks were like rafting rivers.

One of the best experiences is Watmaugh Bay on the extreme SE corner of the island, with soaring cliffs and views of snow clad Mt Baker 50 miles to the ENE.

It's not inexpensive but not prohibitively so. There's also Odlin County Park which is pretty nice and has space right on the water. And lots and lots of BnBs. Some are very pricey and some are not so bad. But whatever the cost, it's worth it. No question about that. The San Juans are probably the most scenic place there is. Literally dozens of islands, most of them private, but four are public and those include Orcas (appropriately named) with it's 2400' Mt Constitution and views ranging from Mt Rainier (some 120 miles to the SSE) to the Canadian Rockies (some 50 miles to the NW) and fabulous lakes.

 Overall, a 5* destination.
Just booted up, find that my gmail accounts are fucked and I can't get into them unless I sign up for the new(?) Google Accounts. Sort of like MS's One Account. I don't like it, I don't want it. I want to go back to the old less intrusive gmail. I don't want to store my stuff on Google (nor with MS). I don't want "free storage". My business is my business. Why is it these people don't get that if it isn't broken don't fix it, and especially do not make the "fix" mandatory. Shit, I can't even get into my gmail to download whatever so I won't lose it if I choose to drop gmail. And despite their assurances they won't get hacked, unless that assurance included mandatory sepeku for the entire company and turning all of its assets over to me if they do, I'm not interested. I've a more secure system, hard drives that only get connected to my computer when it's disconnected from the internet (ie-no wifi or internet on).

Anybody else having this issue? Anybody know what to do about it?
Games / Subnautica
Anybody here play it? Subnautica

I got this for my grandson for Christmas. Unfortunately it pretty much requires a fairly serious machine and a relatively good internet connection. I'm working on both of those.

Anyway, I've found it to be a really interesting and challenging game. I don't play games much, but this one intrigues me. (Previous games have been from Amanita, primarily point and solve games but with really great graphics and a subtle sense of humor.

So, any other Subnauticans out there?
General Discussion / The GrowlerWerks UKeg
OK, here's introducing the GrowlerWerks UKegs. We just got ours delivered to the front step. No notice, no warning, just showed up. After two years.

OK, the UKeg, it's a stainless steel double walled (supposedly) container with a CO2 fitting and a gauge and a tap for keeping beer. Comes standard as stainless or copper plated, 64 ounces or 128 ounces. It was introduced back in the Summer of 2014, I think. Least ways that's when we saw it. Looked really great and at the time we were really into growlers and various local beers. The fever has cooled some. In any case, it became a KickStarter Campaign and it appeared to have all the answers to all the questions, they just needed money to get it going. Well, that was more than a bit of an exaggeration. First of all, they indicated they would be producing this in the US, but ended up producing it in China, with the usual issues and delays. Second of all, they failed to note they were possibly subject to a patent infringement lawsuit. Which has been blamed for everything. Their customer service is virtually non-existent and that which exists is negative, their PR appears to be aimed at flailure and insult. .

As to the actual item, this is the 128 ounce (1 gal) UKeg. It was supposed to be copper plated with a polished finish. It's not, it's a satin finish. Presumably to hide the production flaws. Maybe not. Supposedly, from comments, it works pretty well but requires a lot of maintenance. I guess if one was really into local brews that weren't bottled it would be worthwhile, but then you'd need a bunch of them and that could easily end up costing a lot. Given the effort involved I'm not really excited. We got it originally because it was really cool. Now it doesn't seem quite so cool and after waiting 2 years and seeing retail product out on the shelves on sale, it's a bit of a burn to have backed this kickstarter. Both of us have totally sworn off KickStarter as a result of this experience.
General Discussion / Total Knee Replacement
Starting in 2010, I began to have serious and increasing pain in my knees, primarily the left one but both contributed. It was intermittent but but gradually became more and more chronic. By 2012, it was a regular drag on my life. However, being the determined twit I sometimes am, I carried on. Fortunately I lost my courier job in July of 2013 so wasn't continually stressing the knees. As time passed, the situation got steadily worse. By two years ago I had to curtail beach and trail walks, was always on the lookout for places to sit and consumed a lot of OTC pain medications, most of which had little to no effect. In 2014, with ObamaCare, I entered into a campaign to diagnose and treat the problem.

Initially, my PCP was in charge, unfortunately under most insurance systems, the patient has little to no choice in their PCP. In the past two years I've had 9 different persons and two of those I never met because they were assigned to me and then gone before I needed any care. The initial program was to treat my knees with Steroid injections which could only be used every 4 months. These were nominally effective. Some rounds helped quite a bit, others did next to nothing. Overall, they all ran out before I could get the next round.

At this point, I was referred to an Orthopedist. Her staff evaluated me and determined I was a candidate for knee replacement, initially partial compartment but over the ensuing year, that escalated to Total Replacement. I was told to lose weight, about 30#, and get my PCP's clearance for surgery. In the meantime she started a program of Euflexxa injections as a possible alternate, since I needed something anyway to keep sane and it might have eliminated the need for surgery, which she assured me I really didn't want to do unless it was the only possible solution. 

I started working on both issues. Initially, losing the weight did not go very well. It was when I got the full report back on the surgery clearance that I got both the information I needed and more impetus to use it. All was good except I was pre-diabetic (AC1 = 6.0, Blood Sugar = 120 to 140 after 8 hours fast). and there was an issue with my heart. For the former, I undertook a massive change in my diet (exercise was not possible given the pain in my knees). I switched to a very low calorie very low carbohydrate diet and lost the weight and got my AC1 down to 5.2 and my daily Blood Sugar down into the 80s and 90s. For the latter, I was referred to a Cardiologist who did a regular EKG and then based upon that did an EchoCardioGram. Based upon the last, he cleared me for surgery, said my heart wasn't that of a 20 year old athlete but within normal range for my age, 60s.

The orthopedist scheduled me for surgery and I reported to the hospital on Nov 7. I had, on the recommendation of both the orthopedist and the anesthesiologist, opted for a Spinal Block and sedative rather than the full gas anesthesia, shorter recovery time and much lower risk of complications. In the meantime I had done a lot of research, eventually having extended conversations with about two dozen who had undergone the procedure. All of them recommended going for one at a time, all but one had done so. The one gal that had done both knees simultaneously said the only advantage was when it was over, she didn't have to go back and do the other one and she's not sure she could have done so. It's a very painful and disruptive procedure. I got estimated of the pain ranging from horribly excruciating to unbearably awful. Thanks folks. And for the length of recovery, estimates ranged from 6 to 13 weeks. The 6 week recovery was by a single young athlete, most of the reports were in the 10 to 12 week range with two at 13 weeks. However, everyone agreed it was one of the best things they'd ever done.

So, thus buoyed, I reported for surgery on November 7. I had taken a thorough shower the night before and wiped down with chlorhexidine. Donned freshly washed PJs and got into freshly washed sheets. At the hospital, I did another full wipe down with the chlorhexadine. Donned the special climate controlled gown and was taken to surgery. There the anesthesiologist administered and checked the spinal block and then gave me a sedative. Lights out.

Came to in my room. to be greeted by my daughter and the Girl. I was still under the influence of the spinal and sedative and they had started me on the demand pump IV for morphine. So, initially I wasn't in any pain. Unfortunately I didn't avail myself of the pump as much as I should have and so fell behind the curve until two days later. That was no good.

My daughter had made arrangements for me to stay with here. She's a PT so had the relevant medical experience. Plus her house is large and comfy and the ground floor where I'd be staying had it's own guest bath. And I had my grandkids to take care of me as well.

I would have preferred to stay with the Girl but her house is tiny and two story with the bedrooms on the second floor along with the only full bath. And we are still in the midst of an extensive remodel.

So it worked out for my daughter as I could watch the grandkids when they weren't in school. Even though there's not much I could do if something when awry, I could call 911 as well as keep the kids in line.

So, no more pump, I miss that a lot. But the surgeon has been kind and provided me with acceptable levels of pain meds. I'm getting full PT here at home (daughter can't, officially, due to ethics) and I'm making progress. It's been very painful. The incision is gruesome . It's hard to get around or do most anything. That's all complicated by the right knee acutely needing it's own procedure and now I'm having to shift the load to it. It's not happy with that role and lets me know in no uncertain terms it's unhappy. My primary directive, other than doing my exercises is to not fall down. So far I've been a perfect student.

At least I will know what to expect when I do the other knee. As it was, I had only the reports of others to go on. I was very apprehensive prior to the surgery. Now I have a much better idea of what's involved. Mostly it's not the least bit fun but I will survive it.

General Discussion / Medical Records
I have recently found out there is an entry into my medical records that is highly pejorative.  It basically states I have a history of drug abuse. This entry was authored by a doctor that saw me one time for 15 minutes, primarily on the basis of previous notes by my original doctor of 19 month previous when I first entered the system. The reason for the visit was I had terrible pain and inflammation in my left shoulder. The doctor examined me and then prescribed Oxycodone, 6mg per 8 hours with 15 limit, so basically 5 days worth.

The resulting entry from this doctor, that I had a "history of drug abuse", remember, only a one time 15 minute visit, was primarily based upon the rather incomplete notes from my doctor at the time of my establishment with the health agency some 19 months previous per my own statements at the time, which mentioned my use of Methodone between 1999 and 2009 , but failed to include any reference to the Pain Management Program I was involved in nor the names of the doctors that recommended and administered that Pain Management Program. which I was very emphatic about. This was not some adventure on my part.

The questionable entry was under the "Problems" category in my basic record (which does not include the doctor's notes) and stated "Has a history drug abuse."

In the real world, YES, I did take regular doses of methodone for 10 years. It was for pain management. It was per the recommendation of and under the supervision of a noted pain management doctor, certified by the DEA. And the primary consultant for the HMO I was a member of at the time for Pain Management.  Upon his retirement, apparently his book sold well enough, I was transferred to another doctor and he continued the Program until I voluntarily withdrew in 2008. This was due to my finding a exercise regimen that didn't cause more pain and seemed to relieve the pain I was experiencing. Over the next 9 months I withdrew from the methadone and finally quite totally. I have never since taken methadone and it's been a long while since I wanted to.

Anybody want to question me on this, start taking methodone and then after a year or so, tell me what it's like to quit. Otherwise, fuck off.

I guess at this point, I should explain, I've had a life of pain, culminating when I was 25 with a 12,000 volt experience. Not good. Supposedly I am lucky I survived it. I agree. But it did take it's toll. I've since avoided all pain at every option. But while I'm seriously allergic to the shit, I have little to no regard for those that wince at a shot. Just bend over and take it. It's just a shot. Try 12,000 volts and then shut the fuck up. If you've been there, I have no need of explaining, if you haven't, no explanation will suffice. You folks simple can not imagine.

So, apparently this doctor used the Bluffoonic Method of reading, for nuggets only. And, without consulting the doctor who wrote those notes or myself, decided upon 15 minute visit and her interpretation of a previous doctor's notes, that I was a former drug abuser.

I have complained to the company that employed this doctor, but with no effective result. They maintain the entry is valid. 'But they have offered to amend MY record with the notation: under remission". As though I am still a drug addict and might at any moment revert to my previous "history of drug abuse".

My efforts to date have included a complaint to the HMO which was, predicatably, denied.

Without comment. Other than they would consider adding the comment "under remission".

All of which is bullshit. I do not have a "history of drug abuse", any more than most of you.
I need some support and I need references to people that will take this on.

The second most cause of death in the US is doctors and the medical profession. Should this be allowed to continue?
Science / Height - What is it good for? Huuunh!
Interesting study on human height over the past century or so.

Although there is a notion that greater tallness is good for health and longevity, I maintain being short has its advantages, one of which being there's a lot less distance to the hard ground when you fall over. And you can hide in smaller spaces when zombies are hunting you. Beds are more comfortable without your legs and head hanging over the ends. And you can always cut down the sleeves of a shirt or the legs of pants or raise the hem of a skirt, dress or shirt, you can never make them longer.
Ah, Bluffy is once again on the rampage, getting his ass kicked in his previous threads, which apparently is so much fun, he's adding more.
Computers and Technology / E-Trikes
So, having gotten into the world of electric vehicles, I'm seriously thinking about electrifying my trike. I first got this trike in 2008, I really love it, but going up serious hills is not really an option. I've done it. It hurt and took a long time. The road up to my kid's place is 15% for over 1/2 mile. I'm not Tour de France material. I've done it twice. I don't think I'll do it again. My SIL (who has done the STP twice) did it once, sort of, he started throwing up about 2/3 the way up and walked the rest of it. I rode it up all the way, both times, though I stopped often. Easy to do on a trike. The stopping part.

Anyway, recently looked at a gas powered wheelchair that did 45mph. I could see it has way too many opportunities for personal injuries for my liking. Not that I didn't like it. Jeeze, it was beautiful. But I didn't trust myself to even test drive it. Too disaster prone.

So, anyone else out there a trike rider or considering electrifying their pedal mobile?

So, as I indicated in the previous life of TR, my GF bought a 2012 Leaf. 21K miles, battery reading 12 bars, pretty clean inside and out. She's not really gotten into driving it yet. She's got some sort of PTSD given the last 5 cars she's owned have been totaled by other drivers, the last one being rather serious. So, she's driving my Odyssey and I'm driving the Leaf. I don't drive much. However, it's a really cool little car. Very responsive, Great steering and braking. Handles well. Generally gets a range of about 60 to 80 miles, depending on load, speed and hills. That's the one down side, though the available charging states are increasing, many free, the rest reasonable. We'll be installing a 240VAC outlet in the carport and getting the Level Two charger.

For her purposes, specifically driving about 18 miles to work and then back again, including freeway and traffic at times, it would seem a perfect choice. Just got to get her comfortable with it. As she says, if it were my car, instead of hers, she'd not worry at all. She's even suggested getting a wrap that has big block letters "It's not mine!". I've suggested adding "It's his, the 900# gorilla with the 30 years of martial arts training and who loves large caliber guns." She likes that is has virtually no maintenance and that she will never have to go to a gas station again.

So, anybody else out there Leaf Drivers?