Radloff Family

April 2002

November 2003

January 2004

September 2004

October 2004

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

July 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

June 2011

July 2011

November 2013

Andersen Family

Bouncing Around

Deeper End of Chaos


I Am Not a Mused

Gifts from a Broad

Lots Better Then Your Blog

Grant Miller Media

Human Voices

Passionate Dale

Skyler's Dad

Vegetable Assassin

Able Home Builders

Advanced Computers

Affordable Cars

Alchemy Trans. Svcs.

Bill's Urban Wear

Byron Kuehl

The Chesterfield

Enabled Vets Outdoors

Fleet US

Healing Run

Heartland Hearth

Hope Talks


Iowa Dual Recovery Anonymous

Knotty Pine Kreations

Leather 'n Hawgs

Magnificent Board of Directors

Midwest Pipe

Northwest Iowa ALR

Parrot Film Co.

RVP Sports Productions

Shesler Hall

Simply Staged for You

Siouxland Freedom Fest

Siouxland Honor Flight

Siouxland Sleep Out

Tall Paul's Pickled Asparagus

Tom Foolery's

Friday, December 26, 2008

Well THAT was interesting...

I'd like to thank everyone for all the good thoughts whilst I've been on the mend!

Last Monday I had my septum fixed. Wasn't too bad... The worst part of it was getting the IV hooked up, actually. When I came out of recovery I felt kinda bruised and battered, but not bad.

The next few days weren't all that bad, either. I had what felt like a bad sinus headache, and my face was pretty tender -- both side-effects of the plastic stents they'd sewn into my honker. (I've been spelling 'em "stints" this whole time, but I was wrong. Go figger.) I could sit up and act human for an hour or two at a shot, but I spent most of my time laying on the couch gurgling.

By Wednesday night I could see a pattern, though. Every day I was getting more clogged up, more miserable, more swollen, more tender... It wasn't getting better -- it was getting worse! I was really struggling to breathe, constantly gasping for air, could barely move for fear of upsetting my nose. I couldn't blow my nose 'cause of the stents, nor could I sniff. Finally, somewhere in there Wednesday night or Thursday morning the dam broke, finally, and my sinuses cleared.

And immediately started filling up again.

But I got a good half-day of relief anyway, which was welcomed! Thursday evening I slept for three hours straight -- a record!

Today (Friday) I spent most of the day fretting and dreading my visit to the doctor to get the plastic stents removed. My nose was terribly tender, and my headache something fierce. It seemed like each day the misery added to the previous total. The last thing I wanted was for someone to dig around in my schnozz to tear stitches out, then pull chunks of plastic out of my head. But MAN was I looking forward to it. It seemed like every time the second hand hit the :15 and :45 mark I was dreading having the procedure done, but every time it swept past the :00 and :30 mark I was looking forward to it... Needless to say, I thought about it a LOT today.

The appointed time finally arrived. I'll not go into how the removal went (that's another post altogether), but I was surprised at the size of the stents. I'd assumed they were about the size and shape of a .22 caliber cartridge -- a simple plastic tube. I wasn't ready to see a 3-1/2" by 3/4" (I'm guessing) sheet of plastic with a small tube running along one edge... No wonder I had a headache!

One thing I did learn today is that while you often have the choice of screaming or not screaming, you seldom have a choice in HOW you scream. Turns out I scream like a little girl. I also learned that if the doctor takes you into a room with a suspiciously thick, possibly soundproof door, there's usually a reason.

But within two minutes the pain was gone.

By the time we got home my week-long sinus headache was a thing of the past. I could walk and talk and BREATHE like a real-live human bean again! I ate dinner and tasted it!

I'm still awfully tender -- feels kinda like I've been whacked in the face with a board -- but the swelling's gone down almost entirely already and I feel SO much better! I'm confident that I won't need that last pain pill, and I'm sure that by the end of the weekend the "bruised" and "raw" feelings will be fading...

Dagmar has been WONDERFUL through this whole thing. She was always there when I needed her, and really did take good care of me! She's a peach!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

As requested: Beak Update

Hello friends!

Well, the surgery went well, mostly. They said my problem was more intricate than they had anticipated, so I was in surgery longer than they wanted. I guess they actually use liquid cocaine in nasal operations to keep the swelling down and whatnot... Unfortunately that spiked my blood pressure to 240 over 210, so they had to keep me in recovery for three hours rather than the usual 20 minutes.

That was all on Monday. Since then I've been home, trying to stagger through the days until Friday when they take the stints out of my nose. They had to sew these big plastic things inside my nose to help shape the cartilage as my nose heals.

It looks and feels exactly like I snorted a ping-pong ball halfway up my beak.

Between the ping-pong ball, blood clots and regular ol' mucus, I can't breathe at all through my nose. I've got a constant headache from the pressure the stints put on the nerves in my face, and I feel like I've got the worst head cold of my life. The stitches itch; it's hard for me not to pick at 'em. I'm all clogged up but blowing my nose isn't productive -- it just makes a pretty whistling sound from the plastic stints. "Nasal irrigation" isn't working much, either. I'm simply too clogged up for that to even make the slightest difference.

But, all that is expected -- they told me that I'd be pretty miserable this week. They also told me that when I get the stints out Friday I'll feel instantly better and will be mucho happy (though the swelling might not go down for another week after that). So I'm just kinda trying to get from minute to minute until then.

The worst part is not being able to sleep. Every time I doze off I wake up gasping for breath -- which is exactly what I had the operation to stop in the first place! But that'll go away along with the stints.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Breathing Easier?

I gotta be at the hospital tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. for my nose surgery. I'm a little nervous.

It's just a 20-minute deal, I'll be home by early afternoon, but I hate not knowing what to expect. I'm also dreading having to do the usual "no food or water after midnight," and having plastic stints sewn into my nose for the rest of the week...

But it's gotta be done. Doc says when I sleep I'm only getting 60% of the oxygen to my brain that I need -- which is why I don't sleep much more than a few hours a night.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Und ve dance

"Vhat do we do?" my Alpine Snickerdoodle Dagmar asked yesterday morning. "Everyone else is closed but where I verk. I have to get to my job this morning."

I'm not very polite at 6 a.m., no matter how long I've already been awake. But I can't be rude (at least not intentionally) to my beloved bride, so I stomped instead.

"What do you want ME to do?" stomp stomp stomp. "I suppose you want ME to go out there and shovel?" stomp stomp stomp.

"No, no," she replied, "I'll do it." (This is where I should have recognized sarchasm.* I rarely do.) "You just go back to sleep." (That time I got it. Sarcasm.)

I reached for my brand new long underpants. These days I wear long johns under my pajama bottoms, with blue jeans over both. "Hush, you. I'll get it. Just give me a minute..."

Five minutes later I was outside, standing knee-deep in snow on my sidewalk. I looked at the sidewalk. I looked at my shovel. I looked at the driveway. Deeper there, with a nice drift. I looked at my shovel. I paused for thought, idly tracing a picture of a palm tree in the snow with my finger. I walked out to the street -- they hadn't plowed yet. The snow was nearly two feet deep over most of the street, though not quite so deep up at the corner... I could see truck tracks in the snow in the street of the "main road" half a block away, but I could also see where the truck had gotten stuck. I went back inside.

"Honey, I don't think you're gonna drive anywhere this morning." I pulled off my gloves, hat, face mask, coat, sweatshirt, and jeans, putting them up where they could drop on a towel as the ice melted. "Why don't you take a vacation day?"

"I can't," she said. "I only have two vacation days built up and I'm going to use them vhen you have your nose surgery Monday."

"Well, you're not going to drive to work today, that's for sure..."

"Vell, then, I valk."

"Stubborn mule."


Half an hour later I'd put my jeans, sweatshirt, coat, hat, gloves and face mask back on. The dog had her little pink coat on and was all harnessed and leashed and ready to go. The vunderful vife was so bundled up all I could see was the tip of a nose and two big green eyes. "You're sure about this?" I asked. "It's cold out there."

"Yeah, I'm sure. Let's go."

Outside went we, and down the street. "I see vhat you mean," Dagmar said. "There's no way I could drive in dis." The closest main road wasn't plowed yet. We went another couple blocks to the "main drag." It had been plowed, but no one had scooped their walks yet, and the traffic was too bad to continue walking in the road. "Vhy don't you two go back home?" Dagmar asked. "It's nice dat you vant to walk me to work, but I'll be fine. It's just another ten blocks or so."

"No," I said, "I want to go at least halfway." We crossed the street and headed eastward. Zoey-dog led the way, wearing her pretty pink coat, picking out the easiest route for us. I followed, wearing my black leather jacket. Dagmar brought up the rear.

We trudged. Then we trudged some more. And yet a little more after that. We finally got to where we could see Dagmar's workplace. "Now you turn around," she told me. "Take Zozo-hund and go home." I tried to kiss her on the nose, missed by two feet, and turned to go.

On the way home I made mental notes on which stores and shops had failed to scoop their sidewalks, forcing us to trudge through 10-inch snow on their sidewalks. I shall never buy anything from them, EVER. If anyone wants a list, I'll send it to you.

After about twenty minutes (or hours, I'm not sure) Zoey and I finally made it past the main drag and were close to home. One of my neighbors, someone I'd never met, was stuck in their driveway. I waddled over to help push. I tied Zoey to a pole and put my shoulder into pushing the car, but it wasn't going anywhere. We tried rocking the car back and forth to get it out of the rut, but no dice. After a few minutes the man came to me, "Gracias," he said. "I call my brother Jorgé. He come, take me to the plant." I smiled at him, collected my pink dog, and headed homeward.

Shaking the snow off my boots, I let the dog in the house and took her coat off. She made a beeline for her food and water. Me? I sat for a minute, then went back outside. My across-the-street neighbor had told me I could use her snow blower "anytime you need it," so I decided to take her up on the offer. I knocked on the door and was met by her grandson, who got the key to the snow blower for me and told me where it was.

I got the machine out of their garage, got it started and proceeded to start clearing their sidewalk off for them -- they're letting me borrow their snow blower, after all. As I got to the end of their sidewalk I saw the other neighbor was struggling with his shovel, trying to get his car out.

What do I do? I want to help, but it's not my snow blower, and it's not my gas. Hmmm... I have ten bucks, I'll just leave that on the snow blower when I return it. Okay...

I get the other neighbor's attention, the one who was struggling with his driveway. I know he understands English, for the most part, but he doesn't speak it well, so I didn't try to start a conversation, opting to mime instead. "You want maybe I should use this here snowmachine to dig your sidewalk and driveway out?" I said with one hand. He nodded, which means "Yes" in Vietnamese. So I got to work.

I cleared off his driveway, then a couple passes on what I thought was his sidewalk and I was done. Across the street I went. Might as well do the OTHER neighbor's walk and drive while I'm at it -- he did, after all, try to fix my car the other day. (Car's still busted -- won't start now. But the neighbor guy fixed my flat tire and de-dented my dinged door.) Back and forth and forth and back I went with the snow blower. After about an hour I was finished.

As I was dragging the snow blower back to put it in the neighbor's garage, I noticed that when I cleared the Vietnamese neighbor's sidewalk, I had missed his sidewalk by about ten feet. I'd cleared a rather snaky path right through the middle of his yard...

When I had the snow blower put away, I heard the familiar whine of a stuck car at the end of the street. The Vietnamese man's wife and sister-in-law were stuck. I went up the street and helped push them out. Once they were on their way I turned up the street to go home, only to see the neighbor lady standing on her sidewalk. "I ain't takin' this ten dollars. Now you just take this back, or I'll stand out her arguing long enough that you'll have to spend the damned ten dollars on a get-well card for me when I have pneumonia... Now you just use that snowblower any time you need it and don't be trying to give me any money!" So I took the ten dollars back. (Dagmar took them a $15 gift certificate to the local pizza place later that day.)

I finally got back inside and took my coat 'n stuff off by about noon, a little earlier. The rest of the day was spent in a rush to try to get nine hours of work done in four and a half hours. (Strangely, the first e-mail I read when I got to my computer was from someone saying how they loved winter. I choked back a little bile and ignored it. They live in the south.)

About 4:10 in the afternoon I got dressed again to go pick Dagmar up from work. The streets should be clear by now, and the driveway's clear thanks to the neighbor's snow blower... I went outside. Cool -- the city hadn't plowed our street yet, but enough traffic had gone through that I was confident I could get out. I went to the garage and started the car. As I was backing out, the snowplow came by, clearing the street. Unfortunately, when they clear the street, it's usually done by the expedient of pushing all the snow into my driveway -- and sure enough, that's what they did this time.

Now I'm back out with a shovel again...

But, you know, all the time I spent clearing snow gave me time to ponder, to philosophize a little. I wondered why, when my forefathers came to America, did they choose Iowa to settle...? The proverbial covered wagon must have been going through Iowa in that one week in June where the weather's nice. I also wondered why Iowa's one of the few places in the world where it's not considered strange to wear your wife's underwear. If you do, people just assume it's because YOUR long underwear is in the wash...

This morning I woke up to blizzard warnings on TV. Dagmar and I spent another half an hour scooping out the sidewalk and driveway earlier today, only to have the snowplow come by just as we finished, rendering all our work useless. Half an hour's work doesn't sound like much, but when it's below zero and the wind chill is between -20 and -25 degrees, ANY work is difficult and taxes your system.

Dagmar's happily wrapped up in blankies alternating between TV, napping, and meditation. I'm trying to get a little work done, blogging a little, and enjoying the rum in my tummy-tum-tum. The world can keep on blizzarding out there. We're taking the rest of the day off.

*"Sarchasm (n.): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit, and the person (usually me) who doesn't get it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Slow Friday

The Good

I went out to walk the dog yesterday afternoon. The neighbor guy was out in front of his house trying to beat the ice off his sidewalk with an old ice chipper. We stopped and chatted for a bit.

"Hey, where's that little red car of yours?" I asked him.

"Oh, it's parked behind my friend's house," he said. "It's gonna take some work to get it to run and I didn't want to leave it sitting in the street all winter getting in the snowplow's way." At this point it felt natural for both of us to look over at the little white car parked in front of my house, buried in snow.

"Yeah, I gotta do something with that car too," I said.

"What's wrong with it?" asked my neighbor, leaning on his ice chipper.

"Aah, the front tire's flat," I said. "And someone ran into it again so I can't get the driver's side door open. I just don't have the tools to mess with it. I'll probably crawl in through the other side and drive it to the gas station tomorrow to put air in the tire. Hopefully it won't ruin the rim."

My neighbor nodded, we talked for a bit about the weather (above freezing! Yay!) and life in general, then I continued on to walk the dog.

Half an hour later when I came around the corner on my way home, Zoey-dog proudly leading the way, I saw my neighbor walking away from my car. I caught up with him.

"Oh," he said, turning to me, "I blew up your tire for you, and I bent the dent out with a crowbar. The door opens fine now... If you ever have a tire go flat I have an air tank in the shed..."

What a nice thing! Without having the right tools I had resigned myself to spending an entire afternoon prying at the door with a phillips screwdriver to get in so I could drive the car to the gas station to get air in the tire -- possibly ruining the rim. I was thinking of putting the spare on, but the jack handle is missing and it's way too icy to feel comfortable jacking a car up... I'm thankful that my tire was merely low and not slashed as I had originally thought, and I'm VERY grateful to the neighbor for helping out!

The Bad

I found out today one of my first and best customers is thinking of canceling his web site. "I just don't know if I'm getting enough traffic to keep spending money on it. I mean, the site looks terrific, but if no one's looking at it, why bother changing it every week...?"

When I designed the site I tried to install Google Analytics in the code to track the stats, but for some reason it didn't work. I fumbled around with it for a while and never got it to give me any statistics... Meanwhile my customer keeps getting an e-mail every week from the tracking utility his old designer had installed, which is quite naturally telling him that he has zero web activity -- when I moved the site to a different server it nullified the old tracking software. So my customer has for the last six months believed that no one at all is looking at his site.

So I reinstalled Google Analytics on it today. Hopefully I'll get some meaningful stats on the site before he decides to pull the plug. I went so far as to put some other freebie tracking software on the index page, just to see if that works. (From that it looks like he's getting ten or fifteen different visitors per hour.)

I've never paid much attention to web stats. I always figure a business should have a web site, and as a designer I should put the best site up I can. Send the link out to the search engines and be done with it... But I guess from my customer's point of view it makes sense to want specifics. "I don't know if I should increase my radio advertising and cut the web site; if people are looking at the site, then it's worth having. But how do I know?"

The Fun

Last Saturday one of my volunteer groups got to give away all the goodies we'd collected over the year. That's the fun part of the deal!

The Independent Riders for Children and Charities holds a Toy Run every August. We have a group ride around the area, some sandwiches and door prizes at the end of the ride -- all for the low, low price of a new toy for a child and a couple bucks. Then in December we take the toys to the local Head Start and give the toys to the people there. We don't actually give the toys to the children, though -- the Head Start gives the toys to the parents. That way the parents can give their children a toy for Christmas.

The group also holds a fundraiser in the winter, the Leather 'n Lace Dance. This year we were able to donate several thousand dollars to local children's charities in addition to all the toys... You can see more about the group (and a whole bunch of photos on the photo page) HERE.

The Confusing

There are parts of our governmental system I just don't unnerstand.

There are 70 registered lobbyists on Capitol Hill for every one of our representatives. The car companies spent $50 million on lobbyists -- a fantastic investment as they're probably gonna get some $34 billion back. The oil companies spent $33 million in 2005 lobbying to get favorable legislation, and the oil lobby spent more than $100 million on a campaign this past year.

Think writing a letter to your congressman will get your point across? I doubt it. Not when he has 70 people who are paid to do nothing but foist their programs on him and various industries are spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to get THEIR point across...

We have gone from a government of the people, by the people, and for the people to a government run by lobbyists and special interest groups. My voice is not being heard in the torrent.

Lobbyists say that what they're doing falls under free speech. "How do the congressmen know how our industries feel unless we inform them?" Well, that's a good point. Lobbyists do provide information to our government. But it's out of hand... Well out of hand.

What can we do about it? Simple. Ban lobbying and paid lobbyists. I have no doubt that big industry will immediately find a way to get their points across to our representatives, but shouldn't we do SOMETHING to let them know that we're not happy with the situation, that OUR voices are not being heard, that WE are the ones who hold our representatives accountable...?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oddz 'n Endz

A Bad Start

Dagmar and I have two cars. One works, so Dagmar uses it to get back and forth to work. The other... well... The other car is the car that stays home in case I absolutely NEED to get somewhere. It's an old beat-up Ford of some kind. Heater doesn't work, it often stalls in traffic, it shakes a lot, no rear-view mirror, brake lights work on odd days... But it's the only transportation I have in the winter. (During the summer I ride my bicycle or take the motorcycle.)

Anyway, it's buried under a pile of snow thanks to the snowplow driver who, well, who did his job and cleared the street after the storm the other day. I went out to try to start the car to move yesterday, only to find that my front driver's side tire was flat. Just like the neighbor's front driver's side tire, and the other neighbor's front driver's side tire... AND someone had run into my car as it was parked in front of my house, leaving a dent just big enough that I can't get the driver's side door open.

So there the car sits until I have the time/energy to deal with it.

That smarts.

Stupid dog.

The last couple days have been an icy mess. It rained for about an hour Monday, then the temperature dropped a bit and it froze into a nice sheet of ice. Then it snowed on top of it. You know how it is. It makes walking the dog an adventure.

She's pulled me down three times in the last two days.

Here I'm walking along all bundled up and happy when the dog sees a squirrel or a shadow or something sparkly in the snow and bolts, which results in a bundled up hippie pirouetting around in little circles, arms windmilling frantically...

Stupid dog.

And it hurts, falling on your keester. Even though I've been wearing two or three layers of everything for weeks now (you know you live in Iowa when you wear your wife's underwear -- not because it's fun, but because YOUR longjohns are in the wash), but it still hurts when tuckus meets concrete.

Class Warfare in Sioux City

A couple houses in the Northside got tagged with graffiti the other day. It was on the news. The building down the street here on the Westside gets tagged nearly weekly, the bike paths a block away are constantly tagged, the building across the street gets it about twice a year, many of the traffic signs in my neighborhood are spay-painted over, and no one says a thing. But when the rich people get vandalized, THEN it's in the news and the police are all scampering about...

Here's my neighborhood:

Sure be nice if the city would pay more attention to our part of town. Dagmar carries a cattle prod with her when she walks the dog. Shouldn't be that way -- we're in Iowa for cripe's sake.

Yet more woes...

My Mac has locked up on me twice this morning and shut down on me once. I really, really need more RAM. It's hard to work when the computer's not cooperating. (Macs are wonderful machines, but I bought it to do web design and photography work. It handled that perfectly well. But now I'm doing some video editing and more high-end stuff, and, well, I didn't buy enough RAM.)

New Look

Aw, what the heck. I'll ditch the odd conglomeration of strangeness I've been using as a blog for the past three or four years and start another odd conglomeration of strangeness.

I'll be tweaking the look for days, I'm sure.

Eventually I may even get back to writing again.

Monday, December 08, 2008



This is probably the best assessment I've heard of the Mumbai attacks yet...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Random Miscelltoes

Freeform Verse:

Seen through the green haze of NyQuill
the world is a confused, confusing mash.
Vapor rises off mint tea, fingers thick
fumble the spoon. Soon to bed. Soon.

If I Get a Tattoo

I'm thinking of getting a literary tattoo, should I decide to ad art to my sagging carcass. "Live with Morality," maybe, or "Do What's Right, Not What's Easy." The first has fewer letters and probably wouldn't hurt as much.

Maybe I should get my ear pierced first or something, just to see how I react to needles.

I have a buddy who had his band's logo tattooed on his arm. Then he got a job in Houston and moved away... I wonder if his musical replacement got the same tattoo. Probably not.

Icky Icky Icky

I found out yesterday that I gotta have an operation on my schnozz. Turns out my beak's bent on the inside. My septum is a deviant. So they're gonna straighten things out in a few weeks.

The doc peeked at my file. "Oh, you had a sleep study done a while back. Why did you do that?"

"Because I can't sleep." (You'd think the doctor would be able to figure THAT out on his own.)

"It says here that you don't have sleep apnea or anything, but you're only getting 60% of the oxygen your brain needs. That's not good." The doctor paused to look at me. "How do you feel?"

"Stupid, for the most part," I answered.

"I can understand."

The doctor says he can fix my proboscis, and there's a good chance that'll fix my sleeping problem. He said he didn't know if he could fix my stupid, though.

During part of the exam the doctor got out a hose and shoved it up my nose. That hurt. And I mean he didn't just, you know, peek politely in my nose -- he jammed the tube at last eight inches into my head. "Oh, I see you had your tonsils out."

I just hope the operation doesn't keep me from working. And I hope I have work to do.

Copyright 2001-2010 | Designed by Chris @ HippieBoy Design | Contact Chris | Contact Dagmar