Brain Salad Surgery

I recently had brain surgery (MVD) for a problem with trigeminal/glossopharyngeal neuralgia.  Big words, and big pain in my tongue off and on for years.  Finally had it properly diagnosed, and when typical drugs stopped doing the job, decided on surgery.  I found, via the internet (yes, it is useful after all), a hot shit surgeon up at the University of Utah Medical Center Dept. of Neurosurgery...  Dr. House!  Thankfully a totally different personality from the TV character, and a confirmed whiz at this type of cranial exploration and correction.  So after a few months of waiting and scheduling everyone's availability for a full month of recuperation (particularly Nurse Lacey, the ultimate candy striper...), I was wheeled into the surgical theater...  Thanks to ELP, I think I must have looked something like this as the crew literally bolted me in (well, a more manly face...).

After 4-6 hours of the most delicate of surgeries, they first of all did find a brain (there was some doubt going in), a severely compressed nerve which was teflon padded from the compressing blood vessel, and a tiny vein shooting through another nerve (clipped and cauterized).  Wow! how can they do this stuff!

So now I'm home, still woozy (like a major concussion) but feeling more comfortable.  Today we removed the bandage and this is what we found (gory stuff)...

And somewhere in there is a quarter-sized titanium plate protecting the replaced skull fragment.  Can't wait to go through airport security!

It may have been the drugs, but I do remember a minor benefit of the hospital stay... something like this... (click on it to increase size)

I'll have more later, hopefully including pictures of the inside of my skull proving once and for all that I am possessed with great brain power (if a little dirty minded).


Downtown Abbey

I've seen 5 minutes of this series.  But it's really popular, and many of my friends are addicted.  So how the hell did I end up communing with the show's star characters?

Maybe the mysterious dragon lady had something to do with it.


Escaping the Murk

Well, we had to get out of town.  The murk was choking us.  Couldn't see downtown from my front window, time to leave...  and it was NAMM!  So off to SoCal we went.

First things first at NAMM was a pic with the booth babe...  you bet!

Pretty cute dress....

As usual, NAMM features a zillion tons of music gear, software, accessories, and weirdos...  Nothing much new this year, but we did find a booth full of curious bass guitars.

Try to get your head wrapped around that...  let alone your fingers.

On a stage outside, we heard the surprise group of the conference...  L'Angelus...  really a great live performance of modern "cajun" and "swamp rock" music.  Terrific energy and a great selection of songs.

NAMM burns you out quite quickly.  So the next day we decided to enjoy some other aspects of the SoCal lifestyle.  Unfortunately, it was the rainy season, so outdoor activities were out.  So we went car shopping....  Rod couldn't believe they had a McClaren dealership in Newport Beach, so we drove down there.  Very nice, and very, very expensive cars.

Then, up the street, was the Tesla dealership.  Too bad they no longer make the roadster.

Finally, on the day we left SoCal, the weather broke giving us sunny skies.  So we decided to take the long way back via Joshua Tree National Park

Rod had a trillion dollars worth of camera gear, and was excited to shoot everything in sight.

 Here's a few of his shots (I suspect a little photoshopping was added for color and light).

I got a few shots of my own, mostly plant life (or death, as it may be).

From Joshua Tree, we took Highway 62 through 29 Palms, then east through some very desolate valleys and mountain passes.  What a weird area!  Finally, we headed north to Needles (another rat hole), then further north to Vegas (actually Henderson where I have a favorite hotel of OK but dubious quality and a favorite restaurant of equally dubious quality).  Then the next day back home through blizzards, ice, and snow...  why come back?