Sunday, February 15, 2015

Astro's Progress on Sleep

OK, so you may recall that I have had problems with sleep apnea for the past several years.  Sleep apnea is a condition where your air passage closes off in your sleep, choking off the flow of air into and out of your lungs.  Your body will then wake you up just enough to open up the airway again, and then you fall back to sleep.  The constant interruptions to your sleep do not allow you to get into the full sleep cycle.  You wake up in the morning and feel like you didn't get any sleep at all.  This condition causes me to be tired pretty much all the time.

So, I got a sleep study done, and sure enough, I have sleep apnea.  After that, I was given a CPAP machine to sleep with.  But for the first several months, it would not work because I could not keep the thing on my head.  I finally gave up and tried other things.  About a year ago, I got a dental appliance that I wear that pulls my lower jaw forward.  That works pretty well, but I'm still tired all the time.  Since the first of the year, I decided to try using my CPAP again, along with the dental appliance.  That is working now, because I am now keeping the thing on my head all night long.

Yet, I am still very tired when I wake up, and most mornings, I feel like I didn't sleep at all.  This just really, really sucks.  It's hard to feel good about stuff when you can't even get a good night's sleep.

Another experiment I have tried in conjunction with the CPAP and the dental appliance is to try different medical sleep aids.  I tried Ambien for a short while, but it made me feel very very strange.  I quit those after about a week.  I have tried Benadryl or "night-time" Tylenol, and it works pretty well on night one, but not so well after that.  The best thing, oddly enough, has been to try drinking some sort of alcohol before bed.  I don't want to turn myself into an alcoholic though.

What sort of alcoholic drink works the best for you to help you go to sleep?  I've tried beer, whiskey, rum, and pre-mixed margaritas.  I'm going to try red wine next.

The other thing to try is to lose weight.  Supposedly, if you can get rid of some fat in your airway, you won't have the problem with apnea.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Don't Trust the Media

How This Left-Wing Activist Manipulates The Media To Spread His Message
You know, you can't trust anything you read online nowadays, and that's been true for years.  This article tells how one liberal SOB used the media to get his message out there, completely fabricating it out of whole cloth.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Anyone Still Here?

I know it's been a while since I posted, almost three months, in fact.  It's not that I haven't had anything to say, it's that I have been too busy to post anything.  If you're still checking in here, please let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How To Not Get Shot By Police

If only someone had shown Michael Brown this video, and he had taken these lessons to heart.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Venus Disproves Alarmist Claims

Wikipedia: Atmosphere of Venus

OK, so they want to tell us that Venus is an example of a runaway greenhouse effect, because its atmosphere is 96.5% CO2.  The surface temperature is 462 degC.  That's pretty dang hot.  It's so hot on Venus, that some of the Magellan spacecraft data seem to indicate that there are lead snows on its highest mountain tops.

But of course, the atmospheric pressure at the surface is 92 atm, or 92 times higher than on Earth!  How hot is it in the Venusian atmosphere where the pressure is 1 atm?  The Wikipedia page linked above has a little table indicating that this is somewhere between 50 and 55 km altitude.  How hot is it there?  It's only 75 degC to 27 degC.  That's 167 degF to 81 degF.  Not so hot up there, is it?

I read a more detailed analysis once (can't find the link) that said that the average temperature at 1 atm on Venus is only about 17% higher than it is on Earth.  That difference is completely accounted for by Venus being closer to the Sun.

If CO2 is such a dangerous greenhouse gas that it, by itself, at 400 ppm or even 4000 ppm, would increase the average temperature on Earth, then why does it not do that on Venus, when it is 965000 ppm of the atmosphere?

Call me when the rise in CO2 is shown to increase the overall atmospheric pressure.

Bill Nye Reveals That He is a Condescending Ass

Wow...just wow.

Dismissing your opponents as whiny babies, and even expressing disdain for "those nuclear folks" is not going to win you points, Mr. Nye.  Plus, what do you propose to do about the 7+ billion people on the planet?  Do you want them to die?  You just want to continue to play in your little smarter-than-thou in-group with Dr. Tyson and throw stones at the coal, oil, and gas industries.  You're not interested in "science", you're interested in the celebrity that you've developed about yourself.

Climate change alarmist claims rest on whether or not increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere will lead to extra warming or cooling or whatever.  Usually, it is claimed that it will lead to warmer temperatures, melting ice caps, mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together, etc.  Therefore, we must stop emitting CO2 or we're all going to die.

CO2 is rising.  That is a measurable fact.  What isn't completely measurable is whether or not the increase is completely from man-made causes, but even so, it seems that we are going to see CO2 levels continue to rise past 400 ppm.

Will this cause extra warming?  Well, it could, but CO2 is not the only "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere.  Water vapor plays a much larger role in warming Earth's atmosphere, and I'm sure everyone would agree that there is no way that on a planet 73% covered by water, man would be able to influence H2O levels in the atmosphere.  All of the claims of extra warming caused by increased CO2 levels come from climate models.  It seems that in reality, global temperatures have fallen a bit in the past 18 years or so, and none of the models predicted that.

My skepticism when it comes to climate models being used to predict things comes from my general experience in computer modeling.  For 25 years I have been either an engineering student or a professional engineer, and I know for a fact that computer models will only reflect what the designers intend to reflect.  Of course, there is the old saying: Garbage In, Garbage Out, or GIGO.  If someone were to say that their model was able to be initialized with, say, 1990 conditions, fed actual measurements from the last 25 years, and then accurately predict what next years' temperatures would be, then I would pay attention to them.  As far as I know, no such animal exists.

Mr. Nye doesn't want to discuss such things, he just wants to call me an idiot.  Well, screw you, Science Guy, and screw Dr. Tyson as well.

Friday, November 14, 2014


I don't care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing

I'm sorry, but if some idiot's shirt is going to discourage you from pursuing a career in STEM, then maybe you shouldn't pursue a career in STEM.  It's not like you got an F in statics and dynamics or something, it's that you have to share your career with nerds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ebola: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

We've all heard about how our government let Ebola patients into the country in the last several weeks, including poor Mr. Duncan from Liberia.  Fortunately, despite the apparent complete incompetence of those entrusted with following protocols to handle disease outbreaks like this, the Ebola cases are still limited and we may not have a huge problem on our hands here in the U.S.  There are reasons why it's a huge problem in west Africa and would not be the same huge problem here, and those are mostly cultural and have to do with hygiene more than anything.

What's so frustrating about this is how it immediately turned into a political issue.  Really?  Why in the hell does something like this have to be political?  There are very simple procedures to follow to prevent the spread of virulent diseases like this, and they have nothing to do with politics or race or anything like that.  They should have everything to do with medical science.

Suspend flights from countries with outbreaks, and lock down their borders.  This doesn't mean that you can't send anyone there to help, in fact we can and should do so.  But then those people that go there to help should be adequately quarantined before being allowed to come back.  Instead, they're allowed to fly planes, ride subway trains, and go bowling!  This is madness.

Racism?  RACISM?  Well, I'm certainly sorry that the folks in west Africa are having to deal with a serious disease outbreak.  But the fact that they are black, or that Liberia was founded by returned former slaves almost 200 years ago is irrelevant.

Fortunately, Ebola still seems to be difficult to transmit, and that is going to be the saving grace for this particular outbreak.  This will save the butts of our incompetent politicians this time, but it also shows how unprepared our systems are to handle anything that is more virulent.  Our best bet, as always, is to educate ourselves at the individual level and to take appropriate precautions, and not rely on those fools in Washington or Denver or wherever.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The world is crazy

That's my conclusion after watching the news in the last several days.  I just don't get people sometimes.  I'm just going to concentrate on being a good man, husband, and father, and let the world go screw itself.  It certainly doesn't need my help.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day Camp

So I'm at Cub Scout day camp with my younger son yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Had to evacuate in a hailstorm yesterday afternoon, but everyone was fine.  It's a beautiful day out today.

Was just thinking that before too many more years, my sons and daughters will be grown and gone off to build families of their own.  I sure hope Mrs. Astro and I are doing a good job raising them.  We sure are trying our darnedest.

Take time to love your family and enjoy being with them.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Murphy Strikes Again

Why can I not get out of debt? Stuff keeps on happening. The latest? My son busted his knee on Saturday evening while playing out front with his siblings. We tried to just elevate and ice it for a while, but the swelling got worse so we took him to the ER. X-ray showed no fractures or anything like that, but he has a very bad bruising and swelling in the knee joint. They mentioned possibly needing to see a pediatric orthopedist and maybe even getting an MRI.

Just... son of a bitch!

I can't win for losing. On the bright side, my son should be OK in a few days, and we are already near our family deductible thanks to other crap that I have had to pay for since January 1.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Screw It

We are going on some vacations this year, and not just to Texas.

The kids won't be with us forever, and I might as well use some credit to pay for something fun after years and years of paying for natural disaster recovery, auto repairs, and medical-related crap. If I could get 3 years of no budget busting items, I would be fine! That ain't going to happen, though.

Dave and Sharon Ramsey wouldn't do it, but they can kiss my ass, and so can Murphy.

Career Inertia

A career at rest tends to stay at rest. A career in motion tends to stay in motion.

Or something like that. They are keeping me too busy to really consider any other options. There's so much work to do that thinking of leaving just violates my innate desire to see the job done to completion, which is quite a ways off. Yet I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to earn enough money staying where I am so that I can get out of debt and save for the kids and retirement. Then again, I am on a pension which, along with Social Security, is pretty much the only retirement I have so far. That pension is worth quite a lot, and if I were to leave, I would have to make, and save, at least $20K more per year to break even.

Dammit, it was supposed to turn out better than this.

Maybe we'll get that big economic collapse after all, and it won't matter.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Generational Observations

In a recent podcast, Nate and Viidad/Seven were discussing some generational observations. Mostly, they were ripping on Baby Boomers, and deservedly so. The Baby Boomers, collectively, are bringing about the downfall of this once great country. Some are working on this purposefully, but most are unwittingly bringing it about because of their attitudes and how they have lived their lives. Unfortunately, they'll be with us for a while longer. But this isn't what I want to talk about.

By the way, if you haven't checked out Nate's podcast, you should. He and Seven are a real hoot to listen to. I think Nate might very well be able to fill two or three hours daily with stuff, if he wanted to.

The thing I want to talk about is the Gen-X phenomenon of Latchkey Kids. I was a Latchkey Kid, from first or second grade on. This means that I, as a 7 or 8 year old, was responsible for getting myself up, getting ready for school, walking to school, and walking back home to do my homework and then watch TV until my parents got home. My mom was a teacher and had a 30-minute commute, and she had to drive my dad to his job because he couldn't drive. So I was alone for 2-3 hours every afternoon.

This was usually just fine, and I was able to handle it. There were a few incidents where older kids would pick on me or beat me up. I hate to say that I didn't fight back, as I was taught not to... I sure wish I had fought back. My life might have advanced down a better path in certain ways. I was pretty much a "gamma" as a kid.

The thing is, though: I have five kids, and one of them is that same age today, in second grade. I couldn't even imagine forcing him to do this! The only one of the five that I could see handling that responsibility is my oldest, but even then, our family really is blessed that my wife is able to stay home with them so that they aren't forced to grow up early and can be kids.

However, were I and my fellow Gen-X Latchkey Kids the unintended beneficiaries of being forced to grow up early? Did this lead us to become somewhat more independent in general? By the time I got to high school, I couldn't wait to get out of the house and be on my own. My family felt very constricting to me, I just wanted to bust out.

My kids aren't like that, they don't feel the same urge to leave the nest, and it seems to me that they should, at least a little bit. I'm glad that they do love our family so much that they don't want to leave, but then again I want them to be confident, independent adults.

Maybe my job dissatisfaction has a lot to do with this same dynamic: I feel forced to go to a job I no longer really like because I have bills to pay and I don't know how to break out of the employee mode and try to make it on my own. I thought it would be a good career, and I worked hard to pursue it, but over the last 20 years it just hasn't happened for me.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two Down, Three To Go

Yes, I know it's been a long time since the last post. I'm still around, just been busy, as I said. Hopefully y'all (Res and WB and whoever else) are still checking here from time to time. I am going to start posting again because there's just so much to comment on that I need to get it off my chest. Facebook is good for some of that, but I don't really want to offend some of my old friends from high school or whatever, so I don't post anything too controversial there. You might say, "Well, screw them if they don't like what you have to say!" Yes, I agree, but then again I don't see any reason to antagonize them, because there is more to life than politics.

Anyway, good news!

This weekend, my middle daughter was baptized! Our church's 4th/5th grade Sunday school classes have been going through a whole lesson plan with the kids about baptism and that culminated in 41 kids being baptized Saturday afternoon. It didn't have the traditional kind of atmosphere about it that I am used to, but it still counts.

Hope all of y'all are doing well.