Monday, December 12, 2005

Home Again...Again

Emily got to go home on Friday. They seem to be sure that rejection was the root of her problem. A little adjustment to her medication seems to have the situation under control. She felt good most of the time she was there and this made it really hard for her. No one wants to be in the hospital, especially when they feel good. We understand that this is very common in the first six months after a transplant and chances are she will be back in the hospital a few more times. I just hope she has a few months inbetween visits.

On Sunday the family, minus me, went to the annual Make a Wish Holday Party at Tempe Town Lake. They all had a good time and Emily met a bunck of people. This is a great organization, help them if you can.

A week ago Saturday, my friends in my game group held the last of their fund raiser events. This time it was Warhammer Fantesy Battles and it was a smashing success! The event was held at Imperial Outpost games and prizes were donated by Games Workshop. Thank you all!

More when there is news...which I hope is a long time.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Emily is still in the hospital but is doing well. She has been undergoing treatment for a mild rejection episode. It does not seem to be anything major but the medication is mostly I.V. so she has to stay in the hospital. The blood tests have been improving over the last 24 hours and if things keep going in this direction than she might be able to come home tomorrow.

Nothing to worry about really, but it is frustrating for everyone. Emily is really tired of being in the hospital, as you can imagine. She realizes that this is part of life now but she would really like to get in a few months between visits!

More later...

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Emily celebrated her 16th birthday on Friday. We had a bunch of friends and family over and everyone had a great time. Many of the guests had not seen her since she got home.

On Saturday morning she was not feeling well. She threw-up a couple times and was generally ill. About mid-day, after talking to the doctors, it was decided to take her to Phoenix Children's Hospital. After a few tests they decided to keep her over-night. We are sure that she has a stomache bug - the same one her little sister had about mid week.

When I went to see her in the evening she was feeling fine but later in the night she started getting sick again. This mornig her blood test showed some indication of infection. This could be a sign of the bug or it could be an indication of rejection. All of her heart functions have been perfect but they want to be sure, so they will keep her another night and do a biopsy in the morning. This will tell them if the indicators are signalling rejection. I don't think rejection is what is happeneing but better safe than sorry.

If everything checks out she will be home tomorrow. She has been feeling good today and getting plenty of sleep. This is her new reality. She will be visiting the hospital a couple of times a year and will catch everything that goes around. Nothing really can be done to prevent this.

More tomorrow!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Long Time No News

It has been a long time since my last update. Where to start? Emily and Kathy have been home for about a week and a half and are still getting settled in. As you can imagine home feels a little wierd after what they have been through. It is getting better every day!

Emily has her first set of labs, since comming home, tomorrow. On Wednesday she has her first doctors appointment. She will have another biopsy in a couple of weeks. So far everything is going great - we just need to see how this week goes.

A week ago Sunday, my friends at Imperial Outpost games hosted another fund raiser. It went very well and Emily and I were able to stop in and thank everyone in person. Thanks again guys! It is a big help. There are a couple more gaming events coming up.

Emily got a card from her former teacher and it seems that they also had a fundraiser over the halloween holiday. They had a haunted house and raised some donations. Thank you! As soon as I get the flyer scanned I will post it up.

Kathy was back to work last night. Her first night of work in three months. She was really stressed but it seems that all went well.

More news when I have it. No news is good news...right?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Emily is Home!

Kathy and Emily got home at about 4:30am today. My Dad drove over last night, after the doctors OK'ed the return, picked them up and turned around and drove all night. This is all starting to get real. I can't believe that we have gotten through this nightmare!

More later...I just can't believe I have to work today!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Almost Home

Sorry for the lack of post but things have been pretty quiet, thankfully.

The last couple of weeks Kathy and Emily have settled into a routine. They are back in the Ronald McDonald House, in a small room. The TV doesn't work very good and they are too far away from the wireless signals to access the internet from the room. They have been able to get out some and see the area but resourcs are limited for this type of activity. They have been managing but they are getting restless.

On Wednesday, Emily has another biopsy. They have been told that after the results are back the doctor will release Emily to come home! It will take atleast a day to get all the results back but it seems like she might be home by Friday. I just can't wait - it is even worse for them. We are so close now.

It is hard to believe that almost 15 weeks have past since all this began. It seemed like the day of her homecomming would never arrive and now it is just a few days away. Time flys when you are living through a family crisis!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Back from Another Visit

I, along with Grandma, Grandpa, and the girls, took a trip to see Emily and Kathy this past weekend. We had a great visit and Emily has improved dramatically since my last visit almost three weeks ago. The highlight of the trip was our visit to Venice Beach. Emily was able to walk almost all day, with only the occational rest breaks. In fact, she walked all weekend.

Her labs and biopsies have been coming back good. She is feeling good and is getting more and more active. She is really close to getting to coming home. That is a good thing because Kathy and Emily both are going slowly mad. It seems like now it will happen sometime between November 7 and Thanksgiving. Sooner is better.

The fund-raiser WAB tournament, that was held at Imperial Outpost games on Sunday, was a big sucess. Thanks for all of your help guys.

It is late so I will cut this short. One last picture from Venice Beach.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Fund Raisers

My friends at Leviathan Games (3131 E. Thuderbird Rd Phx AZ 85032 602-996-6646), who I have not seen in months, held a fund-raiser Flames of War tourny a couple of weeks ago. It sounds as if it was a success. Thanks guys!

This Sunday (Oct 30th) the guys from my local gaming group are holding a Warhammer Ancients Battles tournament fund-raiser. It will be held at Imperial Outpost games with prizes donated by the guys at Gripping Beast (my favorite miniatures).

Over the next few weeks there will be more miniature gaming fund-raising events. These include a Warhammer 40,000 tournament and a Warhammer Fantasy tournament. Prizes for these events have been donated by Games Workshop. There will also be a Flames of War tournament. All these events will be happening at Imperial Outpost, contact them for more info.

I have heard rumors that there are other fund-raising envents that have happened or are being planned. Strangely, I don't hear much from people about this. If you are planning something or have already had an event please let me know.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Kathy's Brithday

Happy Birthday!

Today is Kathy's birthday. She is spending it at the UCLA Medical Center with Emily. Today Emily is having her first biopsy since being released from the hospital. This consists of being put to sleep and then a 12" needle (or there abouts) is pushed into the heart from the area of the neck...ouch! I am sure glad they put her to sleep for that. Emily HATES needles - of course no one would like that kind of a needle.

In addition to the biopsy there are a few other test to be done. Most of which I know nothing about. The doctor did say that she would get to see her old heart! But, of course, they did not bring the camera. I really wanted to see it. I bet it is huge!

Not much else going on right now. We should have the test results back in a day or two.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Holding Pattern

Things have been stable for the last week or so. Emily has been going to her lab appointments and the results have all be good. They seem to have her medications dialed in. She will be having her first biopsy - post hospital - soon. I hd thought that this already happened but I was wrong.

Both Kathy and Emily are getting a little stir crazy. We are hoping that they only have a couple of more weeks over there but we just don't know. They both need to come home.

I have been VERY busy at work. I have been working some very long days with lots of OT. On the weekends I am working hard on getting the house clean for Emily's return. It is amazing how dirty the place gets when it is only the cats at home.

The West Valley View ran a follow-up story on Emily last Friday. It was short but good. I was contacted (OK I got a VM) the other day by one of the local TV stations wanting to do a couple of stories about Emily. I decided, after some careful thought, that this just didn't seem like the right thing to do. I am ready for things to return to "normal" and this would just stir things up. Emily was not interested in doing an interview either. Anyway, I never got a chance to say no thanks becasue I never got a responce to my follow-up call.

At the end of the month I will be going back out to LA for another visit. I will be taking Delaney and Sharleen. Grandma and Grandpa will be going too. We will have a little birthday celebration for Kathy and Sharleen. Should be a good time.

We are coming to the end of the major medical coverage for the transplant. That means that the real bills will start rolling in. I got a glimps at the prices for Emily's medications! Let me just say it was breath-taking! She will also have alot of doctor visits and lab work over the coming months. It will be very intersting to see how all this adds up. Perhaps, someday, I will reveal how much a heart transplant with 2 months of ICU costs... I still don't know for sure how much it costs but I have a very frightning image...

Did I mention that I am very thankful for the insurance company? Did I mention that I am very greatful to everyone who has helped? ...and the doctors? ...the nurses? I can't say it enough - thanks to everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Thank You

I just wanted to post a quick "Thank You" to everyone who has posted a comment over the last couple of months. I would love to have been able to reply to them all but things has been a little too crazy for that. I do read all the comments and greatly appreciate all your expressions of support. Thank You!

I also want to thank everyone who has helped by donating money, watching the girls, bringing food or anything else. You will never really know how much help you have given us. I do not know how we would have ever gotten this far without the help of friends, family and total strangers. We still have a long way to go but I know that with continued help and support we will get through this. Thank You!

I would also like to thank all the great organizations that have helped us manage this crisis. Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House. Thanks to the Nick and Kelly Fund. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You have all been great and I cannot wait for things to return to “normal” so I can return the favor. Please contribute to these, and any other, organization. They are all doing great work.

The most important thanks is for all the doctors and nurses at both the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the UCLA Medical center. You are all amazing people and you saved Emily’s life. Thank you is not enough.

The foundation of the entire effort has been our insurance company - Blue Cross Blue Shield. Without them and our case manager none of this would have happened. Thank You!

I will have more news about Emily, and maybe some pictures, soon. Right now she is resting and doing well. Our hopes of her coming home soon have suffered a reality check. It looks like the first week of November will be the earliest possibility for her to be home.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Emily and Friends

I had a good visit with Emily this weekend. I took a couple of her friends from school and everyone had a good time. She is getting stronger and moving pretty well but is still suffering from some muscle pain. She has about 25 pills a day to take and getting them sorted and the schedule worked out keeps Kathy busy. She has had a couple of sets of labs done since leaving the hospital and all seems to be going as planned. It will take at least another week to get all the dosages for the medications worked out. She has another biopsy tomorrow and this one will be used to determine when she can reutn to Phoenix. She may be home sooner than we expected.

More later...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Out of the Hospital Today!

Emily got the news that they are going to discharge her from the hospital today! Right on time. She really needs a change of scenery.

The last couple of days have held a lot of challenges for Emily. Tuesday she was having trouble with the pain meds and the anti-rejection medication was causing huge emmotional issues. By Wednesday, she was through the worst of that and was able to start walking. The physical theripists made it by and got her on her feet. It was tough but they got her through it. This morning she was climbing stairs!

She will need the PIC line and the pacer leads removed this afternoon and then by about 8pm she should be on her way to the Ronald McDonald House. She has appointments tomorrow and Sunday at UCLA, so she is far from done. She has her next biopsy on Tuesday but she will be sleeping in a real bed.

This is all so amazing!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Last Few Days

The last few days have been very good for Emily. On Sunday she got a visit from Corrie Llamas from the LA chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation. She was there to deliver Emily’s wish! When Emily first arrived at UCLA one of the doctors wanted to know if there was anything that Emily wanted to help pass the time. The subject of a laptop computer came up.

The doctor told Emily that she would check and see what she could do about getting her one. Kathy and Emily both thought that she was going to check with child life to see if they had a loaner. Instead she contacted the Make-A-Wish foundation. A few days later they requested that we give them specific details about what kind of laptop Emily wanted. Grandpa printed all the laptop information from the Dell website but before I had a chance to talk to Emily about it she was sedated and put on the respirator. The first couple of days that she was sedated I spent looking over the laptop specifications. I picked a nice mid-range laptop that had wireless and a DVD. Nothing too fancy but something she could use. The following week Kathy gave the MAW people the info and filled out some forms. Then followed more forms from the Phoenix chapter.

Then came Emily’s surgery and all thought of laptops was gone. Then, a couple of days after the surgery Corrie called and wanted to know when she could deliver Emily’s wish – we were shocked – we had forgotten all about it. She came to the hospital on Sunday with much more than we expected. She had the top of the line Dell laptop, speakers, head-phones with mic, a digital camera and a printer-fax-scanner combo! Emily was amazed and shocked. Corrie also brought fresh fruit, fruit juices and a tart for a little party. Dell, Kodak and the Make-A-Wish Foundation really came through for Emily. This is all stuff that Emily will be able to use for years to come. Thank you Corrie!

On Monday Emily was really starting to feel good. Her pain was under control and she was able to move much better. She could get in and out of bed on her own but she still wasn’t walking too much. This was the first day that she started to believe that her time in the hospital was getting close to an end.

Today, Emily had her first heart biopsy. They will not know the results for a day or two but this is a critical step in getting to leave the hospital. They removed the central line in her neck after the procedure. This will really help her feel more comfortable. She had a minor incident of atrial flutter on Monday night but the doctors are sure it is a side effect of the medications and not a sign of trouble. Even so, they will be watching very close for the next couple of days.

As of right now, Thursday seems the most likely day for her to leave the hospital. They may push that back to Friday if she does not get enough time in with the physical therapists. We are so close now; I just can’t wait for her to get out of the hospital. This weekend I am going over and I am bringing a couple of Emily’s friends to visit. By then she will be in the transplant apartment at the Ronald McDonald House. This should be a good weekend.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Over the hump

Emily had a much better day today. The pain is getting more managable and she is eating more. They had her sitting in a regular chair for about 30 min. while they changed her bed. She said it made her dizzy and he feet felt funny but her back felt great. In the afternoon she had the last of the chest tubes taken out which is also helping her move better. They are a major source of the pain. All in all it was a good day. She is on track to be out of the hospital by mid week!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Day Four...

Today was a tough day for Emily. The pain is at its worst and the medication has not been helping. It just nocks her out. She did sit in a cardio chair for a while but getting her in was very traumatic.

The doctor did say that is not uncommon for heart surgery patients to have some depression on about days 3-4 and this is true of Emily. She will feel much better once all these chest tubes are out. She is hangin' in there and I am sure tomorrow will be much better.

Day Three...

September 29, 2005

10:30 a.m. PST

Emily had two of the four chest tubes removed. One of her lungs is a little deflated so they left the side tubes in until they lung expand more. This was a painful procedure but an obviously important step.

12:00 p.m. PST

Emily has been having some very painful back spasms. It seems to me that these are more painful than the surgery but she cannot move to stretch the muscles. They got her some hot packs and some medication. She slept for most of the afternoon.

4:00 p.m. PST

Emily is awake and feeling better. Her back is not givering her any trouble and she was able to sit up in the bed more. She was also able to do some of her breathing exercises. She has a laptop computer, from child life, so she can watch DVDs. She ordered dinner but it never arrived. She will need to try solid food tomorrow, I guess.

Day Two...

September 28, 2005

9:00 a.m. PST

We got up early and got beck to the hospital. We couldn't get in to see her right away because the unit was closed for a surgical procedure. We just have to wait.

11:00 a.m. PST

Emily had the breathing tube removed! She is now breathing on her own and doing very good. She still cannot talk and she is worried about the pain of caughing.

6:00 p.m. PST

Emily is still very tired but is doing great. She is eating ice and had an orange popcicle. She has to start slow with the food because she has not eaten solid food for a month. Tonight she will be moved from the Cardio ICU to the PEDS ICU.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Emily’s New Birthday!

September 27, 2005

12:30 a.m. PST

Krystal and I made it to the UCLA Medical Center in about 5 ½ hours. Emily was supposed to have already been in surgery but issues at the donor hospital delayed the start of the surgery. We got to spend about 15-20 min. with her. She was very happy to see use and I can’t describe how good it felt for me. She was in great spirits and was ready to get this done.

1:00 a.m. PST

Emily is moved to the surgical area. It was quite a sight watching the move. She had a huge amount of equipment so there were several people helping. Since she has been on a respirator prior to the surgery she was ‘bagged" on the way to the O.R. At one point the guy squeezing the bag could not keep up and Emily took over the duty herself. In the surgical area we met members of the team and were given an outline of what would be happening. The most important step in the beginning is the ‘visualization" of the heart. It is not until they see the donor heart that the final decission is made to proceed with the surgery. We would be getting a call once the visualization was complete. This was going to be a tough wait.

2:30 a.m. PST

We got the call in the surgical waiting area that they had completed the visualization and the heart is "perfect" for Emily. Wow! What great news. Now she will be sedated and they will complete the sugical prep. The ETA on the heart at UCLA was 3:45 a.m. We found out later that Emily moved herself onto the operating table!

4:10 a.m. PST

The next call from the O.R. and Emily has been placed on the heart-lung machine and the heart was at UCLA. Time for the transfer. The next 2 hours are going to be even tougher!

6:00 a.m. PST

Emily’s new heart is in and beating on its own! She is off the heart-lung machine and now they will watch her for about 2 hours to make sure there is no bleeding. After that they will close her up and this part will be over!

9:30 a.m. PST

Emily is back in the 4East ICU. She is still asleep but everything is looking really good. The new heart is being paced and they tell me it looks normal, I’ll take their word for it. She has very few drips going and this makes the staff happy as well. All of this is great news but I suppose I don’t fully understand how good it is. I am just happy to see her. We were all exhausted and so it was time for food and sleep. We headed back to the Ronald McDOnald House for some sleep.

4:00 p.m. PST

After about 3 hours of sleep we are back at the hospital. Emily is awake and doing great! No signs of complications and very little bleeding. She still has the respirator on and a bunch of tubes sticking out be she looks so much better than just a few hours ago. They will begin to turn the respirator down today in preparation for removing it in the morning.

9:00 p.m. PST

After dinner it was back to the RMH for sleep. What an increadible day! Words cannot describe the emmotional rollercoster of this day. Emily is doing great and that is all that matters!

Monday, September 26, 2005


At 4;45pm PST we got the news that they have found a heart for Emily! I can't tell you how great this feels! Emily is very excited. She will be going into surgery sometime after 10pm PST. Now is time for the hard part. I am heading out to LA right now and will get there about midnight.

At this time of great joy for the Brightwell family I wish to express to the family of the donor my sorrow for their loss. I have such mixed emotions about all of this. I want them to know that their loss and their willingness to donote, have given Emily a chance. It truely is the gift of life. Thank you.

More later!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

25 Days...

As of today Emily has been on the transplant list for 25 days! Wow! They keep saying it will be anytime, and I believe that it will, it is just hard waiting. Today also makes 8 weeks in the hospital. That is just incredible. We have been taking his one day at a time and they have really added up.

I just got back from LA. The girls and I drove over early Friday morning and arrived about noon. Sharleen was very nervous about seeing Emily. The last visit, Emily was on the respirator and heavily medicated. She was only able to visit Emily for a few minutes and was very upset. This time Emily was bright eyed and happy to see her sisters! Even though she is still on the respirator they have the medications dialed in so that she is awake and comfortable. This was a great surprise for Sharleen – she has been very worried about Emily and I think this visit will help give her confidence that Emily will be OK.

The girls do not have the attention span for long visits so Mom got to spend a lot of time with the sisters. On Friday they went to the movies – Corpse Bride. Emily was very jealous! Dad got to do the bedside duty most of Friday and Saturday. It was good fun (well, maybe fun is not the right word). It feels good to be with her. When I am back in Phoenix my imagination takes hold and it is very tough to stay positive. When I see her I know that this will all work out.

On Saturday I got a call from my sister, or maybe I called her, and she told me that the West Valley View had run an article in the Friday edition about Emily. This is our local paper and we had some contact with them but had no idea when the story would run. The print edition included several photos that I had sent them. The story is really nicely done and draws heavily from my blog entries – but with the spelling corrected. Unfortunately, I did not get a copy before I went to LA. Emily can’t wait to see it. My Dad got a few extra copies to send to friends and family around the country.

Now the part that you have all been waiting for, Emily is doing well. She is in good spirits and has adjusted very well to her new reality. She communicates freely and still has a sharp tounge (pen). All the doctors and nurses love to come and talk to her. She gets staff members stopping in all the time to check on her. These people really care about their patients. Today, Emily and the girls made her name in big letters to hang on the wall. It was fun to watch and help.

Enough for now... I am hoping for a 2am wake-up call so I can drive back over! Thanks to everyone who has visited and commented. Thanks for the emails, cards and letters. Thank you for the donations and offers of assistance. All of these things are very important and helpful. Soon, Emily will be able to thank all of you herself!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Same Story…Different Day

Not much has changed in the last couple of days – Emily is still waiting for her turn. She and Kathy have been passing the time as best they can but I am sure the waiting is tougher than I can imagine (and I can imagine a lot). They got another visit from the transplant surgeon and he told them that they had another offer on Tuesday night. They turned it down. That makes 4 hearts - that we know of - that they have refused. It is comforting to know that they are comfortable enough in Emily’s condition to take their time and make sure they get the best heart for her.

On Friday, Delaney, Sharleen and I will be going to UCLA for a visit. Emily is really excited to see us and I can’t wait. I just want to go now!

On a side note, ran a story yesterday about the Scottsdale Mayo Clinic. It seems that they will soon be able to perform heart transplants. This is too late to help Emily but is great news for the people of Phoenix. Right now, Phoenix residents have to travel to Tucson or Los Angeles for this procedure. It does not make much sense for the fifth largest city in the nation to not have a heart transplant center. Right now 60% of the transplants in Tucson are valley residents. There are also a large number of valley residents in LA for transplants.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Time Stands Still

Emily is still waiting for her heart. She has been moved to an isolation room in the PEDS ICU. Kathy says it is very quiet and that Emily has been resting much better. Yesterday, she got a package with some cards and letters from some school kids in Missouri. They really made her day! It took her more than an hour to read them all. Now she needs to reply back, that should keep her busy for a while. Thanks kids!

I will post more news when I have it. Things are really slow and tense right now. Thanks again to everyone! You help and support are greatly appreciated!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fund Raiser

Yesterday, Kathy’s friends from her job at HEALTHSOUTH hosted a fund raiser yard sale in the parking lot. I stopped by with Delaney and Sharleen to say hello and thank you. It looks like they had a great turnout. Thanks everyone! You have no idea how much this means to Emily and the rest of the Brightwell family.

Emily is still waiting. There are a lot of heart transplant patients at UCLA right now and the surgeries have been happening very regularly. Emily is getting close. She had a good day yesterday. Mom is keeping her engaged in conversation even though she has to write everything on paper. This will inspire her to learn sign language, which she as always wanted to do. That way, if she ever has to do this again it will be easier to communicate. She also made a list of all the things she wants to eat when she gets out of the hospital. She hasn’t eaten anything for about 2 weeks.

More later… As usual, thank you all for your support, kind thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Another Day...

Another day has passed, or is it two, and we are still waiting. No real change in Emily’s condition. She is starting to have some stomach trouble again so they have switched all her meds to I.V. She seems to be dealing better with the breathing tube, which is good because she is awake most of the day. Yesterday she met with the transplant surgeon and he is still confident that it will be soon. Emily did not let him off the hook that easy, even with having to write all her comments. What else can he say? When it is time it will happen, I just hope it is soon.

She had another visitor yesterday. A “famous” Hollywood stylist (didn’t get the name, sorry) came in and did hair cuts and styles for several people in the hospital. Emily was one of them. She was very excited and sat up while her hair was done. No pictures of this event, unfortunately. After her surgery he invited her to come to the salon for the works! She will love that!

Thank again for all your support and prayers. We are getting close!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Still Waiting...

I came back from LA on Sunday. I was really tough to leave, as usual. Not much has changed over the last couple of days. Emily is still in the PEDS ICU and is still on the respirator. She is still very uncomfortable but the doctors think this is better than taking her off the machine. She is awake, but groggy, most of the day. The doctors keep saying it will be anytime, but who knows.

Kathy got to meet another family from Arizona the other day. They are from Chandler and their 10 year-old son just got his heart over the weekend. They are also staying at the Ronald McDonald House and their son is at UCLA. She got some very valuable information about how the transplant will impact our lives. We still have so much to learn.

I have heard that there is a family from Arizona with twins that are at UCLA. I guess they both need hearts and are VERY young. We have not met them but I am sure we will.

More as I know it….

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hell Week

I am sorry it has been so long without any updates. I got back from LA on Monday and was not in town for much more than 24 hours before I was back on the road. I am writing this from the LA Ronald McDonald House.

On Tuesday, at about 11 am Emily's defibulator fired a shock into her heart. It had detected that her heart had gotten stuck in a very bad rhythm and just before she blacked out it went off. She felt the whole thing and thought that her mom had hit her in the chest with both hands. After the shock they gave her some medication fro the pain and she was able to get some rest. Later in the afternoon, while she was talking to a transplant patient who came to talke to her, it fired again. Then in quick succession it fired several more times. This caused a great deal of pain and panic which just seemed to feed the problem. At about 4pm PST she was sedated and intubated.

My sister and I drove over Tuesday night to help calm Kathy who was very near an emmotional breakdown. We spent the next two days together with Emily. It was very tough to see her with the resperator connected. She wakes up every once in a while and the first thing she wants to know is if she has a new heart. It is very touching. On Friday my parents drove over with the two younger kids.

I took my mom and dad to see Emily today and Kathy stayed at the RMH with the girls. It was really good for Kathy to spend the day with them becasue it has been so long since they have been together. My parents had a tough time with the visit but they came through it OK. Emily is resting and her heart is doing much better. It was good for them to see that she is being well cared for by this excellent staff. UCLA has really wonderful people!

As for Emily, not much has changed. We are still waiting for a heart. She is sleeping most of the time now and when she is awake she cannot talk. Through all the medication Emily is still there and is still fighting. She will get her heart and the doctors believe it will be soon. Unless something happens tonight I will be returning to Phoenix tomorrow. I hate leaving...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Back From UCLA

I made it back from my trip to see Emily yesterday. It was a good weekend, but not great. The drive over was a little tough but I needed the time to think. I did have a little trouble finding the hospital once I got to the general area. When I got to Emily’s room she was feeling pretty down and was really uncomfortable. She was very tired and stressed. After about and hour of crying she started to feel better.

On Saturday they discovered that some of her discomfort was from a mild infection and they quickly treated it. This really helped her feel better and by the end of the day we were all laughing and joking. It was a good day. Sunday was also a good day but the strain of waiting was starting to come back. She really did not like it when we had to leave at the end of each day.

We watched a lot of TV over the weekend. This is about the only thing that she can do right now. She has IVs in both arms and this makes it tough to do much of anything. The ICU is not really setup for comfort as much as for medical necessity. It is strange to see her watching so much TV because it has never been her thing. Do what you have to do to get through the day.

UCLA Medical Center is a very scary place. It is huge! It is old! It smells funny. It is definitely an inspiration for those scary hospital movies. The people are amazing. They really know what they are doing and they work very hard. Needless to say, there are a lot of very sick people there and the staff is always on the move. I am more convinced than ever that Emily is in the best possible place.

Kathy now has her cell phone, which has been a great comfort. I want to say a special thanks to Daniel Garcia at Verizon Wireless for helping us get these phones. I just know that the call will come while Kathy is away from the hospital – these could literally be lifesavers! Thank you.

Kathy has a room at the Ronald McDonald House. It is a long way from UCLA but there is a bus line that goes straight to the campus, so it will be fine. The RMH is like a cheap motel. It is not fancy. There is no cleaning crew; each family is responsible for washing their own linins and cleaning the room. They have a communal kitchen were a family can cook meals and store food. They have a secured parking garage and you can’t get into the building without a room key. The beds are terrible and the plumbing has problems. There is a leaking ceiling outside Kathy’s room. All in all it is one of the best places I have ever stayed. Please, EVERY time you go to McDonald’s put some change in the RMH collection box. This is a great place that is doing excellent work.

There is so much more to say but it is all jumbled up in my head. The stress and pressure is incredible and I can’t even imagine how it is for Emily. She is doing good and misses everyone. She sends her thanks to everyone who has expressed support. Thank you all!

More later….

Friday, September 02, 2005

Good News

Emily was placed on the transplant list as of about 5pm PST. She is on some new medication and is stable and was even able to go to the nurses' station to use the internet! I.V.s, monitors, catheters and all! Hi Emily! She also had a chance to talk to a teenage transplant patient and got some first hand info from someone her own age. Kathy said it seemed to help her be more relaxed. Emily is also beginning to have trust in the staff and is opening up and telling them how she is feeling. This has been a really big issue for her in the past so this is very good news.

Kathy got a room at the Ronald McDonald House about 5 miles from the hospital. She got all the stuff there and is finally getting a chance to get organized. I think she will be in much better shape having a real bed to sleep in and having to get back and forth to the hospital. She bought a bus pass and will have to get the schedule in the morning. We talked about the need for her to always have cab fare with her because if the call comes she has to be at the hospital quickly to sign the consent forms. That means that my cell phone mission is critical. Tomorrow morning I will have the phones and I will be driving over tomorrow afternoon. From this moment forward Kathy must be able to be contacted immediately.

I am going to Cali today and will not be home for a few days so no updates over the weekend. I will have some news and more pictures in a few days. Thank you all for your caring and support. Keep praying!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Latest News

Emily has been moved from the PICU to the Cardio ICU. At first, when she was moved they were planning on sedating her putting her on an intubator. They are very concerned about her heart function and want to relieve as much stress from her heart as possible. They have since decided to hold off of the sedation and intubation for now but they are prepared if her heart condition worsens. If they do sedate her it will be for the duration of her wait, which could be some time. There are a still a few more tests to complete and it seems as if they want to have her on the list by end of today or early tomorrow.

The stress level for Emily and Kathy is very high right now.

First Day at UCLA

Emily’s first day at UCLA Transplant Center went well. Kathy has completely changed her views about the place and Emily is hangin’ through some very tough tests and procedures. She has several more tests left but the staff is moving very quickly. They plan to have a meeting about her on Friday to discuss her candidacy for transplant. It wasn’t until I spoke with the great people at the Nick and Kelly Fund that I realized why they are moving so fast – it is a holiday weekend and they want her on the list if a heart becomes available. Wow… That is a tough one to think about. I really hope that everyone is safe this weekend but if the inevitable happens she is in the right place.

Speaking of the Nick and Kelly Fund I spoke with them yesterday about their program to help families with travel and living expenses associated with medical treatment – they work specifically with pediatric cardiac cases. They are very easy to talk to and really have a lot of experience helping people in our situation. They are going to be a big help over the next few weeks. They are a private organization that has no federal financial assistance. If you would be interested in making contributions to this excellent organization email me for the contact info.

I will be going over to see her this weekend and will have some new pictures when I get back. They are very strict at UCLA so no visitors other than family. I will be leaving the little ones at Grandmas. I am trying to workout a deal to get a couple of wireless phones to help with the communication issues. They also put in a working phone in Emily’s room, but it doesn’t work very well. I will have to bring home most of the stuff that Kathy and Emily took with them as there is just no room for it. If you feel the need to send care items or packages please do not send these things to the hospital. Send them here and I will make sure she gets it when she comes home.

Emily has already amazed the people at UCLA with her bright smile and attitude. She has charmed them in less than 24 hours. They are just as amazed that as all this terrible stuff is happing she is still smiling and laughing. Amazing!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Emily was transferred to UCLA yesterday. She and Kathy left at about 2pm in an ambulance. The trip took about 8 hours and Emily was in a lot of pain. Kathy said it was the worst ride she has ever taken. Once there, the medical team immediately started doing tests on her. Kathy told me that the place is a nightmare and was really scared. Emily is temporarily in an isolation room in the PICU but she will be placed in a bed in the open ward. There will be no privacy (other than a curtain) and it will be very difficult to contact them. The phones don’t work so she has to go down the hall to a pay phone. She is very worried that Emily will not do well in this environment. In addition to all that, Kathy will not be able to stay with her. This morning she will be working with the hospital to find a place to stay that is close (walking distance). Of course, the insurance will not cover the living expenses and these can be quite high (maybe as much as $100 per day for the room). Hopefully, they will be able to help with all the options. We did apply for help with the Nick and Kelly Children’s Heart Fund. They specialize is help people with travel expenses related to medical treatment.

This is all for now. I am just sick about all this. I wish I were there but I can’t be…More later.

CORRECTION: If you would like to help, here is the account information: account name Emily Brightwell at Wells Fargo bank. You should not need an account number to contribute. If for some reason the number is required please send me an email. Do not worry about security as there are only two people authorized to remove money from this account and it must be done in person with ID.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Quick Update on Emily's Condition

It looks like Emily will be going to UCLA for her transplant evaluation. She will be transferred via ambulance either tomorrow morning or Wednesday morning. Kathy will be traveling with her and staying with her. I will be staying home with Sharleen and Delaney. I have no idea how long the evaluation process takes but I would guess a couple of weeks. If she is a candidate for a transplant then she will be staying there until the surgery (it can take about 3-4 months to find a donor). If she is not a candidate then she will be returning to Phoenix; possibly coming home but maybe returning to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. This is not very likely. It seems to me that they would not be sending her to LA if they were not already 90% sure that transplant is the only option. It looks like more waiting.

Emily has been doing well (as possible) through all of this. She is still in some pain after the pacemaker surgery and the medication does not agree with her. She is very scared but she plays the tough kid very well. She is always more worried about the feelings of the people around her than she is of her own feelings. The only time it is really bad for her is when she is alone. She likes visitors. She will not be getting very many of those is the weeks to come.

I want to take a moment to thank all of our friends and family for all there support. We were really hoping that last week as the light at the end of the tunnel and now we know that there is a LONG way to go. The pressure and the stress have been unbearable. It is so easy to watch something on the Health cannel and think “man that would really suck,” but the truth is some much harder than you can imagine.

Many people have offered to help in anyway possible and for this I am grateful. The truth is we will likely need a lot of help. We have setup a fund at Wells Fargo Bank for help with the medical bills and expenses. It is called the Emily Brightwell Fund (if you need the account number please email me). So far, the insurance company has been great but they will not be covering everything. I don’t know how much all this will cost. The cost issue is something that I can understand and so I find myself thinking about it a lot. It feels so shallow and insensitive to think about money at a time like this, but I am so completely powerless to do anything else.

I will post more as I know more…

Friday, August 26, 2005

Bad News

The news that we were hoping to never hear was delivered today. The doctors have decided that they have exhausted all options for getting her heart to function normally. The pacemaker is working but the heart is not responding properly. They have not been able to find a rhythm medication that works either. Her heart's condition is not getting any better; it is at about 40%. All this means that the transplant option is now the only option (provided nothing changes miraculously).

Sometime early next week Emily will be transferred to either UCLA Medical Center or Loma Linda to begin the transplant evaluation. We won't know any more specific info until Sunday, most likely. We do know that she will be there for 3-4 months before the transplant (all this depends on a donor) and then another 2 months of recovery time.

I am not sure how to take all this but Emily continues to inspire me every day...

More later...maybe even a picture.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Still not Home

Emily is still in the hospital. We were really hoping that today would be the day but thinks aren’t going as smoothly as the doctor’s hoped. The first day after the surgery she was very nauseous and had some vomiting. This caused her to have trouble with some of her medications. This morning she was feeling “weird” so the doctors hooked her up to the monitoring equipment for her new pacemaker and discovered that she was in atrial flutter again. So they sedated her and used the defibrillator to shock her heart back to a more normal rhythm. It took several hours for her to shake-off the effects of the sedative but she was able to eat some lunch. So we are back waiting…

Monday, August 22, 2005

After the Surgery

Emily had her pacemaker implanted this afternoon. She went into surgery at about 3:30 PM and was back in the room by 6:15 PM. Everything went well with the procedure and the doctor seems very pleased with the results. She was in quite a bit of pain afterwards but the doctor told her that she will get to go home on Wednesday. She has already had an improvement in her rhythm and her blood pressure is better. She said that she can actually feel her heart beating – always a good thing. More updates and picture when she gets home.

This picture was from a couple of days ago - she is not this happy right now!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Today Emily has an MRI. Yesterday we had a talk with the cardiologist and he explained the details of Emily’s upcoming surgery. He has decided that she needs to have a pacemaker and a defibrillator implanted. This is a very complicated procedure and he went into detail with us about all that will happen and what could happen. It is frightening but Emily is excited to get it done. It means that if everything goes right she will get to come home just a couple of days after the surgery. Within about 10 days of coming home she will be able to return to school.

The cardiologist is very pleased with her recovery and seems optimistic that with the pacemaker and medication she will continue to improve. He has put the idea of a transplant on the back burner but he still says that it may be needed. He also mentioned the possibility that over time she may improve to the point that the pacemaker and the medication are no longer needed. Only time will tell but things are looking better every day.

More later.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

An update on Emily’s Condition

It has been a rollercoaster few days but things are looking up. Over the weekend things were looking bleak. It seemed that a heart transplant was not so much an “if” but a “when.” The big problem that she has been having for more than a week is what is known as V-Tach (Ventricle Tachycardia). This is when the lower part of the heart beats rapidly and uncontrollably. This problem can only be treated with the right combination of medications or a transplant (this is greatly simplified but quite frankly I have a very slim grasp on all this). Last week it looked as if the chances of getting this under control were not very good. Then on Tuesday the doctor made another change to the medications (one of dozens so far) and it seems to have helped stop these runs. As of today she has gone more than 48 hours without any V-Tach rhythms. This is excellent news because it means that the likelihood of a transplant is greatly reduced. The other rhythm problems (and there are many) seem to be issues that have more treatment options including a pacemaker. It is still going to be several more days before we will know for sure but this is a very positive development. When I visited her this evening she had 2+ hours of Sinus rhythm!

Keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming!

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I just wanted to share some news of my daughter, Emily, with everyone. If you don't know she is in Phoenix Children's Hospital, being treated for irregular heartbeat. She has been there for a week and things have not improved much. The doctors have already shared with us their fears that if things don’t improve significantly over the next few days she will be transferred to the University Medical Center in Tucson, AZ for a transplant evaluation. She is, naturally, scared but she rarely shows it. She is still smiling and cheerful. The doctors are continuously amazed at how good she looks for someone who is so sick.

Emily and the rest of the Brightwell family thank you for all of your prayers, expressions of support, positive thoughts and positive energy. We will take all of these things we can get.

I will post an update in a few days.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What is an Activist Judge?

There has been a lot of talk in the last several months about “activist judges.” Most of these discussions have been centered around a few high profile cases and with President Bush’s judicial nominations. This article gives us a good example of what is meant by the term “activist judge.” This guy has no business what so ever to criticize the government’s policy concerning detainees at Guantanimo Bay. It has no relevance the case that he was presiding over. In addition, the detainees in GITMO were captured ON THE BATTLEFIELD by US military personnel, not by US Customs agents through the course of there normal law enforcement functions. This puts them in a totally different class of prisoner.

A judge's job does not entail making, shaping or criticizing governement policy. Their job is to determine the legality of an individual's actions. The courts have already upheld the use of military courts for GITMO detainees so this guy needs to stick to the issues at hand in his courtroom. This is what makes people so mad about judges – just shut-up and do your job.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Rise of the Police State

Well folks, the terrorist have won. No they did not destroy the United States or Great Britain. They did not topple the governments of the Western world. They did not convert us all to Islam or kill all the infidels. They have won none the less. You see, they have succeeded in making us afraid and forcing us to change our core values.

After the July 7 bombings in London I commented that it was sad that London is the most security conscious city in England, and possibly Europe, but the bombers could not be stopped BEFORE the damage had been done. All those security cameras counted for nothing. A couple of days ago it seems that a few more terrorist attempted another attack but were unsuccessful this time. No one is sure why they were unsuccessful. It certainly wasn’t the security cameras. Don’t get me wrong, the cameras do have some use but it is not for crime PREVENTION. Cameras DO NOT make society safer. In London the suspects are on camera and they still haven’t caught them.

Now we have stories in the press calling for more cameras in the US. This is sad and pitiful development in the outlook of the American citizen. It was not too long ago that the thought of watching people in public places would have caused a deafening outcry, now it barely gets any notice or, worse; people are in favor of it. Would you feel better being blown apart by a crazed terrorist knowing that it will be caught on film? Does it make all the deaths worthwhile if we can find the home of the suicide bomber AFTER he has killed innocent people?

This is not the worst example of the police state mentality creeping into everyday life. On Friday London police shot and killed Jean Charles de Menezes when he failed to follow the instructions of and then ran from plainclothes police officers. He was tackled in a subway car and then shot to death by the officers. Five bullets for an unarmed man all in the name of public safety. Then John Gibson of Fox News praises the actions of the London police for putting “five bullets in the noggin.” I like Fox News but this kind of attitude really makes me sick.

I know what you are going to ask – What about the Patriot Act? It was renewed on Friday with a majority of the provisions made permanent. I am not totally against the Patriot Act but I do not believe that any of it should be permanent. But these are the times in which we live. Once a right has been surrendered it is never returned.

So, the terrorist have won. They have changed our attitudes about Liberty and security. We are so afraid that we will allow the police to randomly search us before we get on a subway. We now think it is OK for the government to watch us in public places. It is OK of the FBI to have expanded powers to find “terrorists.” It is OK for the police to use deadly force when there is no EVIDENCE of a threat – just act strange in the wrong place and BANG, your dead. This is all fine with everyone I guess.

What is the next logical step in all this? What happens if London, with all its police state tools continues to be attacked? Will they want to put cameras in businesses with direct feed to the police? Will they want them in private residences? Well, they want them in the Muslim homes but they can’t discriminate so they will need to put them in everyone’s homes.

I recently re-read George Orwell’s 1984. I last read it when I was in high school during the Reagan years. At the time it seemed like a simple telling of Stalinism. After re-reading the book I discovered that it is so much more, it is a warning of a system of thought that is so diabolical we cannot imagine the horrors it will unleash. Now I am beginning to see the same attitudes expressed in the book coming to life around me. All it will take is for someone to gain power who will user all of these new powers and attitudes to their fullest – but then it will be too late to stop it.

I will ask again – Would you rather be free or safe?

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Letter from the Administration

This was sent to me in an email yesterday and I thought it was too funny to pass up. Instead of spamming a bunch of people I am posting it here. Enjoy!

A letter was written to the current administration, complaining about the treatment of a captive taken during the Afghanistan war. Below is a copy of the response.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC

Dear Concerned Citizen:

Thank you for your recent letter criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care. Your detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment.

We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter. Although Ahmed is sociopathic and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome this character flaw. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences.

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless you feel that this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him. He has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he considers appropriate, but I'm sure that over time they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka. Just remind them that it is all part of respecting his culture and his religious beliefs.

Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you inform us of the proper way to do our job. Take good care of Ahmed and good luck!

Don Rumsfeld

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What's happening today?

London attacked again! Muslims in Great Britain had better watch out. The British people are not the most tolerant in the world, no matter what the media would like you to think. It is only a matter of time before we see tanks on the streets of Leeds. Expect a few “good kicking’s” as well.

Chinese no longer peg the Yuan to the US Dollar. This may be one of the most important stories in months but no one really understands how important this move is. It is not only good for the US economy but, in the long run, it is a good move for China. It signals a change in attitude on the part of the Chinese government towards normal trade relations with the rest of the world.

It’s hot where I live! What I think is strange about the stories of heat in Phoenix is the fact that the national news is reporting it. It is ALWAYS hot here! This isn’t even the hottest it has ever been. It is not the first time that homeless people have died. Strangely, the impact on the illegal aliens crossing the desert seems to be much lower than one would expect with “record breaking” heat. I think the reason this is getting so much attention is two fold. The first reason is that despite an 8 year drought and “Global Warming” (dunt dunt da!) the last several summers have not been too bad. During that time a few hundred thousand people have moved here who have not been through an above average summer; they are still unprepared and they complain to friends and family back home. This, in turn, inspires the media to look into something they would otherwise ignore. The Second reason this is news is because, in this age of “Global Warming” (dunt dunt da!) hysteria anything to do with hot temperatures is going to get media time. This is the same issue as transients freezing to death in New York City in the winter.

This story just freaks me out! That is one HUGE shark!

China is mad about Pentagon’s report about the Chinese military. Look, the threat from China to any nation in the world is about as big as the US threat to any nation in the world. China is a huge country with a growing economy. They have strong economic interests with many nations around the world. They are dependant on the importation of key goods and they have a huge export system. Unlike booming Japanese and German economies of the past, the Chinese do not have the luxury of having the US government subsidize, or outright pay for, their national defense. They have a right and an obligation to defend themselves and their national interests. This does not mean they desire a military confrontation with the US or anyone else. The reality is that Taiwan will rejoin China and it will be a bloodless re-unification.

The House takes the first step in protecting US citizens from direct UN taxes. This is great news! The UN has been trying for years to put a direct tax system in place with the primary aim of collecting tax revenue directly from the US people, thereby bypassing the US Congress. All American should support and celebrate this move.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

How American are you?

You Are 73% American
Most times you are proud to be an American.
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Web site update!

No not this site! I have made an update to my main web site. In case you are not aware, I am an avid miniature painter, model builder and wargamer. My main web site is devoted to this hobby. Miniature painting - what's that? you ask. Well, it's like this:

Better yet, go to my home on the web and have a look! Maybe I should post a picture here every now and then...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Are you reading?

One good hate crime begets another – I wonder if the Guardian blamed the Tube bombings on Christainophobia? I doubt it. I wonder if they think the terrorists were hate criminals? I doubt it.

Boycott Exxon – I don’t think so. If you thought the move by environmental groups to boycott Exxon was about actually protecting the environment you need to read this. This is a political move not a move to protect nature. These groups want POWER not environmental protection. That is just a ruse to get the dull-witted among us to support their political ambitions. These people hate business and they hate progress. They hate this country and will stop at no lie or distortion to gain power. Some will even stoop to the level of the terrorist.

Here is an example of how science – when properly focused – can solve just about any problem mankind faces. If we could just get the scientists to stop trying to set policies and get them to work on real solutions to real problems, everything would be fine.

If you are in Missouri – get back to work – after you read this article.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

London Bombings

I don’t have much to say about this. It is a terrible thing but I think we all knew something like this was going to happen sooner or later. The part I find the most interesting is that London is one of the most security conscious places in the Western world. The place is literally covered in security cameras but it didn’t stop the attacks. If all these security cameras cannot stop terrorist why to the people of London allow them? What are they actually for? They DO NOT make them safer. Would you rather be safe or free? I choose freedom - especially when policies that are designed for safety don’t work.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Been really busy lately…

Work has been going good but the new noon to 9 pm thing takes some adjustment. Sorry I haven’t post much lately but I actually have to work at my new job so my research time is limited. Here are a few things that have gotten my attention lately.

For Independence Day, Supreme Court Slams Founders is a good article about the real meaning of the latest sets of Supreme Court decisions. The sad fact is that most people in this country have no idea what the Constitution actually says, and it is not taught in schools, so they will not understand the real impact of these decisions. Read and understand – a new darker day is dawning. The Kelo v. City of New London case is particularly important because if the government can take private property for public good then the door is now wide open for the government to nationalize businesses – Socialism here we come!

Justice O’Conner resigns! Well, after that last session maybe more should resign. Seriously, this was not the first justice I would have guessed to be leaving but I am not too sad about it. Perhaps we can get someone in there that can over-turn the decisions noted above. I think there will be two appointments to the court this year and MAYBE one more before President Bush leaves office.

If you thought the Kelo v. City of New London ruling was harsh take a look at what Congress may be doing with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). I don’t understand why we keep kidding ourselves about being free – we haven’t been free for a very long time.

I REALLY love it when different environmental groups clash. Here we have the consequences of ‘green’ electric generation (windmills) and their impact on wildlife. The only answer is for all humans to die, and then there wouldn’t be any pollution or dead animals, right?

I hate the UN! It is THE force of socialism and technophobia in the world. This article talks about how the UN has been blocking new technologies that could save millions of lives. Why? Who knows – probably because they like the power and needy people are always willing to give people power in hopes that their lives might be spared. Creeps.

Since we are talking (sort of) about technophobia, socialism and such I have a new book recommendation. Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, is a story that gives us a glimpse of what the world might be like if the environmentalist get their way (there is also a strange hint of a union between the environmentalists and religious groups). The book was written in 1991 and it is scary how much this book could have been written today. Thanks for the recommendation Dad.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

New Job

I started a new job on Wednesday! I am a LAN Analyst, sounds cool eh? As a friend if mine says, "no longer a phone bitch!"

Basically, I am doing user account migrations, creations and modifications for a LARGE financial institution that shall remain nameless. It is a 6 month contract position but when I get done I will be a Microsoft Active directory god! That means it will be a perfect time to take the test.

The pay is excellent and the commute is long, both are good things (I really like driving). With any luck I will be able to use this as a foot in the door for a permanent position or possibly another contract job when this is over.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Yesterday was a good day!

Yesterday was one of the best days I have had a long time (mostly). I had a job interview in South Chandler (which is like 45 miles from my house) for an Active Directory/Exchange Administrator job that I really want. It is a contract job but it is an excellent opportunity to get into a good company. The interview was outstanding and I left feeling great!

Once I got home I decided it was time to clean-up my car so I spent the next hour or so scrubbing and cleaning. Man, it was freakin' hot! Then I got a call from a friend to have lunch so it was off to North Phoenix (about a 20 mile drive). While we were eating our lunch on the patio of a nice Mexican restaurant another of our friends stopped by with his wife and talked for a few minutes.

After lunch, I stopped by another friend's house to pick-up my daughter, who had spent the night (his kids are in town for the summer). After a short talk my daughter and I headed home. I hadn't been home for more than an hour when I got a call about the job! I got it! Wo-Ho! Things are now moving very fast as they want me to start on Tuesday.

To celebrate, I took the family to an early dinner at our local Chinese restaurant (the wife had to work last night so dinner had to be early). After dinner, I finished painting an English Civil War unit for Warhammer ECW 9one I have been working on for months and never seems to be motivated to paint) and then played Codename: Panzers for about an hour. Good fun!

Later in the evening I went to play poker (in South Tempe only 37 miles from home) with some friends from my previous job. It was great to see everyone and catch-up with happening for the last couple of weeks.

A very good day!

(All that driving and I never left the metro area - people wonder why Americans drive so much. The place is huge! The Phoenix Metro area is about 90 miles across! It is at least 40 miles North to South. I am sure glad my car gets good mileage.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Never Stop Thinking…

I wonder if all the people who accused Michael Shiavo of abusing his wife and being an evil, vile person will now apologize. From the sound of the autopsy report he was advocating the correct action and Terry was finally humanely treated. I love it when people pass judgment without knowing the facts.

Several years ago I read George Orwell’s 1984; in this book there is a character whose job is the destruction of words. You see, it is much easier for a totalitarian society to censor the people if you destroy words that can be used in a subversive manner. The only difference between this book and real life if that in the book the government were the ones who destroyed the words and censored people, in real life the government just gets the big corporations to do the dirty work. I especially like how the corporate mouth-piece refers to authoritarianism as a “regulatory environment.” If a company were to enter into this type of agreement with the government of the United States what would the press say? The share-holders? The political parties? Would we all be keeping so quiet about it? So why do we think it is OK for a company to do this in another country?

I wonder why no one has ever made a movie that contends that Mohamed never existed. Oh yeah, because the people who believe in him won’t roll over like the Christians do! People will show this as an example of the true glory of the Freedom of Speech, and it is, but they will never question why these things are always about tearing down Christian beliefs. When will we get the movie about Moses being a legend? How about the Great Buddha, any movies in the works denying him? Christianity is the safest religion to attack because Christians do not have a RECENT history of killing people who don’t believe what they believe.

Just when you begin to think that good sense and honesty are things of the past in the academic world you find a story like this! What is truly sad is that a story about a professor writing an honest textbook is even news-worthy, but such are the times in which we live!

As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Ayn Rand and her Objectivist ideology. In her writings one of the strongest recurring themes is the destructive nature of Altruism and the welfare state. She contends that Altruistic tendencies on the part of society and government actually harm society, in the long-run, by destroying individuals and making them dependant on the state. I found an excellent article about the Swedish welfare system that seems to prove the point. Read it and understand that there are people in this country who believe that this is a model that the United States should follow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Michael Jackson

Well, the verdict is in and I must say I was not surprised. The jurors sited the mother’s history of lies as a main reason for the acquittal. Strangely, most experts on pedophiles say that this is precisely the type of people pedophiles target, it is the unreliability of the family that provides the cover for the abuse. Oh well, I think the local radio program said it best, “It just proves that in America you can get away with anything if you are rich and white.”

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Still no Job…

…and I am getting board. I am still applying every day for 2-3 jobs and I check all the on-line job sites, but so far I haven’t gotten any calls. It has only been just over a week, and I know it could take a month, but I started looking more than three weeks ago. Patience is the name of the game.

On the good side, the time off has allowed me to spend more time with the family and catch-up on my reading. I just finished War Trash by Ha Jin. This book filled me with some very mixed emotions. Throughout most of the book the Americans are the “bad guys” which was a new perspective for me. As I read the book I began to see it as a simple pro-Communist story, but the ending really changed my mind. The story is a very complicated tale that ends up not fitting well into a simple pro-East, pro-West argument. It is a very good book that I highly recommend.

I have not seen any new movies or watch anything of consequence on TV. Most of my time has been spent, when not looking for a job, on Medieval: Total War. My next game will probably be Codename: Panzers. For some reason I have not been inspired lately to paint, maybe I will get back into it this weekend.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Leftists attack each-other...

This may be one of the funniest examples of leftist kookery around. Sir Bob Geldof – a near saint if leftist buffoonery – is being threatened by even bigger left-wing nuts over his Live8 concerts and his “long march to freedom.” You see, Sir Bob hates modern capitalist society and has been active in African relief charitable causes for years. His latest efforts – Live8 and the long march – are continuations of this fine tradition. It seems that the real heavy hitters in the anti-G8 protest community have decided to highjack Sir Bob’s march in Edinburgh in July. Classic! I hope the commies beat the crap out of each other…

On a related note, Sir Bob is getting some criticism that the London line-up of his Live8 concert is too white. So now we are to believe that he is some closet racist I guess. Why don’t the critics of this event stage their own concert with the proper racial mix? Easier to criticize I guess. Just think, if they had let the Spice Girls play there would have been one more black performer!

Bob Geldof makes me sick! He does not care about starving people in Africa, he only cares about using Africa as a cover for his radical political agenda. He seems to like being in the public spotlight and seen as a humanitarian saint, however.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I have no job and I should be bitter…

The 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries. These books have been dubbed the most harmful by a group of conservative scholars. I agree with all of the top ten but in the Honorable Mentions there are a few that I would deem to be great works. Just as a side note, I have read some of these, mostly as excerpts. I plan on reading them all one day. Don’t ban books read them – but don’t believe everything you read.

Hollywood and the Anticapitalist Mentality is an excellent article discussing how Hollywood always portrays big business and businessmen as evil. This coming from movie studios that are themselves successful big businesses. There are many links in this one to keep you busy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Last Day of Work...and Other Stuff

Well, today was the last day of work for me. My place of employment for the last 4+ years has closed and our jobs have been relocated. I just want to wish my (ex) co-workers good luck on their new endeavors. A surprising number have already found new jobs and most seem to have done very well for themselves. I, on the other hand, am still looking. I didn't start looking for work until about two weeks ago and so far I have had a couple of calls and an interview. Tomorrow I will start putting some serious effort into the search.

On a completely different note, I have to bring everyone up-to-date of my latest listening, reading watching - always a popular feature.

Reading: I have been on a William Gibson kick for the last couple of months and I think I am getting close to being caught up. Last month (or was it the month before) I read Idoru. At the time I was unaware that this book is somewhat of a sequel to the book Virtual Light. Recently I returned to Virtual Light for a much needed re-read. I originally read the book years ago, when it was first released. At the time I liked the book but I didn't get it. Upon re-reading I found a book that was much better than I remembered. It was not until I read the third book in the series - All Tomorrow's Parties - that these three books are linked. They are not a trilogy in the traditional sense but they do share key characters and settings. These three books are highly recommended and should be read in order. Gibson's writing style is unbelievable - the way he can draw a picture so vividly with only a few words. A true talent.

Listening: Mostly I have been trying to listen to all the new stuff that I have added to the collection in the last year. The CD that has been getting the most play in the last few days is The Reason by Hoobastank. This is a very good driving CD - now if I only had a good car to play it in.

Watching: Like most people I know, I have been watching the new Star Wars movie - Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith. I must confess that I am a mild Star Wars geek - no costumes though. All-in-all the movie is very good and exactly what you would expect from a George Lucas film. It has lots of action and great special effects. On the downside, the dialog is crappy and the plot is terrible. I really could pick this movie to pieces - and in the future I may do a full and detailed breakdown of the Star Wars universe. Damn I'm such a geek!
Okay, that's all for now. I will get back to the news in the near future. I might also have some info on my 'new' Mac G4...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Kids Cross the Boarder to Attend School

It blows my mind that we allow children to cross the boarder to attend US schools. Anyone see a problem with this? Of course the activists think it is just fine for kids who live in Mexico to go to school in the US. I am sure we are collecting a HUGE amount of property taxes to pay for their education. We have lost our collective minds!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Cost of Illegal Immigration

It costs lives. Already a dozen people have died in the Arizona desert crossing into the country illegally. When will this stop? Mexico cares so much for their citizens that they refuse to fix their own country. If cheap labor is so important to the US economy why is not important to the Mexican economy?

It cost innocence. An illegal immigrant in Florida attacked and raped an 8 year old girl. He left her for dead and it is shear luck that she survived. This guy has been arrested multiple times before this attack and was never deported. Hmmm. What is wrong with this picture?

Seems like the answer to these problems is to make it easier for people to enter the US and stay here. Right.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Just Say “No” to Global Warming Kooks

Stop the global warming hysteria! Everyone needs to read this piece from Fox News and try to understand what is being said - there is NO evidence of any change in the Global Mean Temperature - because no one knows what the actual GMT is. This entire issue is a political move on the part of ‘scientists’ who have a political agenda. Many of the global warmers have a hatred for modern, industrial society and they see this as a means to force fundamental changes in how business is done. It has NOTHING to do with real science and everything to do with politics. Some people believe that scientists have all the answers and I say they are just humans who have the same biases and failings as any other person; the difference is they are supposed to be trained to look at the FACTS.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Journalists Lie and People Die…

Someone at Newsweek must pay for this - 15 people died as a direct result of biased and inaccurate reporting. The image of the United States was further damaged by the inaccuracies of this story. This type of cheap journalism makes the government’s job of repairing the image of the country that much more difficult. It is time the press understands that with FREEDOM comes RESPONSIBILTY.

Friday, May 13, 2005

More News of me

Don’t believe the hype! Scientists are not in agreement about climate change. This is a great presentation that refutes the major climate studies that form the basis for the Kyoto Protocol. It is kind of scientific in nature but you get the point. Don’t believe the hype!

I hate to agree with Arizona Democrats but businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens need to have some state sanctions. This is not what is happening in Arizona.

This opine piece from the CATO Institute is right on the money. The Federalist tradition of the Republican Party seems to be dead, and that is a real tragedy. It is time for the Republicans to remember who they are and get back to their core values.

This story just infuriates me! If it is true there needs to be some heads rolling! How can anyone justify not doing there job, especially a job as important as securing our boarders?


This is one place in the world that I must see. William Gibson, who is one of my favorite authors, uses Tokyo as a setting and an inspiration is several of his novels. Even when Tokyo is not there the influence is clear. This is an old article that he wrote for Wired about Tokyo and it just makes me want to go even more.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Boycotts and Blankets

Yesterday was Hispanic boycott day in Phoenix. This idea was for Hispanics to call sick and not purchase anything in order to demonstrate their economic power in the state. There is a glowing story about how successful the boycott was from I, for one, noticed absolutely no difference. I wonder what would happen if Ayn Rand’s idea, from Atlas Shrugged, of all the people who are the real moving force in the economy were to go on strike. What would the press say if a group was to call for a boycott by all the white people in the state? How about a strike by all the white men? It is funny that the immigrant advocate groups are the ones calling attempts to reform U.S. immigration laws ‘racist,’ but they are ones using the race card.

Global warming kooks have come up with a new idea. The Swiss are wrapping a glacier in a giant blanket to slow the summer melt. Wha..? Glacier… Giant blanket…

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I think the clock is slow...

Bill Steigervald points out that the press has given the Global Warmers a free pass. I agree. It is time the press begin to challenge scientists and politicians on this issue rather than treating it as FACT. It is not FACT and it is time people are educated on the real issues.

Organic farming has become the victim of its own success. Or, possibly, the victim of its own inefficiencies. One thing the envrio-Nazis don’t want you to know is that modern farming techniques were developed to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products. This benefits all people. Organic farming is a silly fad that makes rich people feel better about themselves - poor people have no user for organic foods.

Enviro-Nazis win one in Italy. Seems that the Vatican radio station has been polluting the area around their radio station with “electromagnetic pollution.” Whatever… Can you really pickup a radio station on your lamp?

Friday, May 06, 2005

I really need to get a life…I think I read too much

This just in – SUN CAUSES GLOBAL WARMING! The need for broader – global legislation is required to stop this new danger to the environment.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming to the big screen! This is great news and not just for Christians but for everyone.

Wow! Students rally in SUPPORT of Social Security reform! I’m speechless. This must be a propaganda campaign by the campus Republicans.

Michael Medved has an excellent article about the evolution of the Hollywood war movie. He points out that the change in Hollywood’s attitude towards the military and war reflects their attitude towards America as a whole.

Ooopsy! I made one little error on that last post...

I think it was the Hitler question that threw me off! This is more like it.

I am:
"You're a damn Commie! Where's Tailgunner Joe when we need him?"

Are You A Republican?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My Republican Rating

I am:
"I bet you'd like Democrats okay if they wouldn't keep handing out your paycheck to urban welfare cheats, right? (And you probably don't want me to be saying anything about 'urban' being some kind of code word, I bet.)"

Are You A Republican?

Thanks to which ever blog I found this on. You know who you are.

The Filibuster

This is an excellent article on why getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate may be a good thing.

Here is an equally good article on why keeping the status quo on filibusters is the right move.

I must say that I have mixed feeling on this issue. I am not a big fan of changing the rules just to get your way - it does not seem right. It is also not right to stonewall a nomination from a vote because you do not like the POLITICAL views of the nominee. These nominees should be evaluated on their qualifications as judges to hold the job, not by a political litmus test. It is the prerogative of the majority party to appoint judges that they want and the nomination process should not stop qualified people from getting the job. It is time the Democrats get over it and allow these nominees an up or down vote. If you do not like the person vote no and go on record. There is much more important things the Senate needs to be working on.

Friday, April 29, 2005

...On Nuclear Weapons

Note: This is the text of a reply I made to a post at Zaphod's Heads. I thought I would post it here as well. Read the original first to put this in context. This one has all the spelling errors corrected, Doh!

I doubt there are many Western politicians who are big fans of these weapons. The reality is that they exist and the knowledge of their creation cannot be unlearned. It would be a wonderful world if everyone could be trusted to destroy these weapons and prevent anyone from every building them again, but it is naive to think this could ever happen.

For nations, the development of these weapons forces a re-evaluation of the importance of conflict with other nations. Even for the US facing a nation with the weapons is not high on the to-do list. Hence the reason countries like Iran and North Korean want them. It immediately makes them MAJOR players on the world political scene and they believe it moves them to a new relationship with the US. In a way they are right, the US, GB or anyone else would not take military conflict with a Nuke state lightly but it changes the strategic attitude of how to deal with the countries.

A North Korea with the bomb can NEVER attack South Korea. Why? The US strategic policy towards North Korea would have changed to a policy of all options on the table. Not even North Korea is willing to risk total destruction in a nuclear war. North Korea without the bomb has a much freer hand is its aspirations vis-a-vi South Korea because the US is forced into a limited conventional war in which the possibility of high death tolls AND protracted combat could turn public opinion against the defense of South Korea (see the Vietnam War for more info).

In much the same way, the relationship between Pakistan and India is actually much safer today than it was twenty years ago. Before both sides had the bomb, relatively minor differences, as the two countries have recently experienced, would have lead to open, conventional war. Instead the two sides have been forced into communication over their differences.

This is not to say that everything is rosy once a country has the bomb. In the case of Pakistan, if a radical government were to take power the danger to India, and in fact everyone in the world, would be very high. While North Korea could not take overt military action the danger comes from covert action. Supplying these weapon to terrorist groups that share a common enemy (the US) is where the real danger lies. The attempts by the US and others to limit who has access to these weapons is based on concerns over the covert application of them. The Iranian government would quickly discover that using these weapons openly would be impossible but their history of supplying tools to terrorists becomes a huge concern.

Nuclear weapons are not inherently evil (no inanimate object is). What causes so much fear (rightly so) is that if they are used for evil purposes they can far out-reach any other human invention for death and destruction. As long as these weapons are controlled by rational governments the danger they present is minimal. If they fall into the hands of irrational governments or terrorists everyone is in grave danger.