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Archive for June, 2008

Identity theft update

I called my contact over at Texell on Friday after lunch, hoping for an update on this car that was purchased in my name. She had just gotten the whole ordeal figured out just prior to my call. Since I was once a member of this credit union, they still had all of my information in their database. A loan for a car was funded for someone who has a name similar to mine, so when the account was being created, text boxes in their software were pre-populated with all of my information.

So it’s been fixed on the banks end, and I’m not concerned about identity theft. However, now we have to clear this up with the three credit bureaus and make sure that we get this purchase off of my credit report.

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Identity theft

I received a letter in the mail yesterday from Texell, a credit union that we were once members of when we lived in Temple while I was working at Scott & White. This was a welcome letter, indicating that our new savings account had been activated and inviting me to come into a branch office to open our checking account.

Seeing how we were once members of Texell, I figured this was just a simple error. Wrong. I called Texell this morning to find out that a 2008 Dodge Avenger has been purchased in my name, with my social security number, date of birth and drivers license.

So today is Protect Josh’s Identity Day!

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Physical exam for PBSC donation

I left the house at 7 p.m. last night and headed south on 35. I got to San Antonio around 9 p.m. and Claudine (yes, I’ve named my GPS) told me how to get to my hotel. Adrian drove over shortly after I’d gotten my room key, put my things away and chatted on the phone with Elise. Adrian and I chatted for a bit, then went to the bar where he bought us a round of Jack & Cokes. Then we went back to the room and stayed up talking until 1 a.m. Adrian left, I hit the hay.

This morning I got up, showered, dressed and went to the hotel lobby for breakfast and to meet Olga, my marrow donor coordinator. She told me all about the donation process, and the new National Marrow Donor Program Research Sample Repository, which is a study where they will take stem cell samples from both me (donor) and the patient. Our samples will be available to researchers for future research designed to make stem cell transplantation more successful for future recipients.

I learned that I’m not donating, nor does the patient need, bone marrow. I am donating peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) because this will allow me to donate blood-forming cells, platelets and some white blood cells, which, if I remember what Olga told me correctly, is more than they could harvest in marrow alone. The process requires that I get shots of filgrastim for 5 days to increase the amount of stem cells into bloodstream from my marrow.

The process itself is relatively easy. I sit in a chair for 6 hours with needles in both arms. An apheresis machine collects blood forming cells, white cells and platelets and then returns my red red kroovy right back to me. Around that same time, the patient will be undergoing radiation and chemotherapy to kill all of his existing marrow. I don’t know the specifics, but there is a very short amount of time that my stem cells have to be transplanted. It’s so amazing, and hard to wrap my brain around the fact a team is going to be rushing my stem cells from my location at Methodist Hospital to the patient’s location (wherever that may be). Truly amazing!

So, that’s what is more than likely going to happen on July 9th. After breakfast this morning with Olga, we drove over the Methodist Hospital and went straight up to the oncology ward. There I was given a complete personal and family medical history workup, a physical, more blood work and a urinalysis. The nurse practitioner, the doctor and all of the nurses, as well as Olga kept telling me, “thank you so much for doing this”. This was an absolute no-brainer decision for me, and I told them as much.

I have to admit, being in the oncology ward this morning was extremely difficult. I’m a strong, grown man and I cried twice while I was there. I can’t really put into words the suffering and strength that I witnessed this morning as I sat there and watch patients come in and leave. All of the art work in the department was created by cancer patients.

This whole experience has been very emotional and close to me since day one. Today was the kicker, the occasion that said, “Yes, we’re doing this thing! We’re going to help this guy get well!” So it was a very powerful ordeal for me.

So, after oncology, we went to cardiology where they did an EKG. Everything checked out okay. After cardiology we went down to radiology where they did X-rays of my chest. My doctor’s yet to check my EKG, chest films, urinalysis, get the results of my blood work, etc. etc. Everything should check out, I’ll know something on Friday, we’ll schedule my neupogen injections and the donation of the PBSCs.

We wrapped up around 2 p.m. I gave my new buddy Olga a hug and thanked her for walking me through everything today. I swear I had to sign a million releases and consents today. It was worse than the paperwork signed when we closed on our house.

I’m unbelievably excited and so thankful that I’ve been blessed with this opportunity to help this guy out. It’s a feeling that just can’t be put into words.

If you haven’t already, please, please, please become a marrow donor. This opportunity has changed my life. It’s put everything into perspective for me and it could do the same for you. Above all, I really hope it changes this 43-year-old man’s life by curing him of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. That’s the only reason I’m doing this and I’m very honored to have this chance.

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Bachelor weekend roundup

Elise and Maly left for vacation at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning. I’ve been a bachelor ever since. Saturday consisted of watering the lawn (and it rained 3 hours later), then buying, cutting, staining and installing new slats for our heirloom lawn chairs.


The one on the left is the “new” one.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on The Ultimate Bacon Sundae (TUBS):


It has been created… homemade cinnamon, coffee and candied bacon vanilla ice cream, bacon cups and chocolate covered bacon, I’m just waiting on neighbor folk to come over to be my lab rats! I can tell you this: Cinnamon, coffee and candied bacon ice cream is the best ice cream I’ve tested to date. Seriously.

Today consisted of waking up early and washing the car. After that, I parked my butt on the couch and watch Batman Begins in HD that I rented from the iTunes music store via the AppleTV. I can’t believe I didn’t see that movie sooner. Because I only had 24 hours to watch it, I watched it this morning again, too. Awesome movie.

For the rest of the day, I guarded the couch and TV. I watched MXC and UFC. Late in the afternoon I decided to make my special super-spicy beef jerky. I decided to dehydrate the jerky in a new spot — the guest bathroom. This new location seemed to isolate the smokiness, but also managed to melt a candle in said bathroom, which has since rendered some aromatic and therapeutic jerky. Nothing says “home” more than boysenberry, cayenne pepper and melted fat.

Therapeutic Jerky would be a really cool name for a band.

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Matt does his dance in Austin

Matt Harding has a pretty kick ass job. He travels the globe, does his dance, and Stride Gum picks up the tab. The videos themselves are inspiring. They make me want to escape the daily grind, escape the “bubble” and experience our world. And dance badly, which I’m very good at.

Here’s his 2008 video:


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

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Culinary endeavor: The Ultimate Bacon Sundae

With the help of my friend, Rob, and the fact that my wife and daughter are going to be out of town for almost two weeks starting tomorrow, I have decided to indulge in the creation of The Ultimate Bacon Sundae (or “TUBS” for short):

Candied bacon ice cream, topped with chocolate-covered bacon and served in a bacon cup.

This is what my Ultimate Bacon Sundae ended up looking like:

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Aggressive student loan paydown update

A month ago I started an action plan to kill our consolidated student loans. In that month, I’ve thrown $2,638.09 at that loan. I sold $2,194.64 worth of Disney and Microsoft shares. I made our standard $218.09 and I’ve since doubled up on that payment by sending an additional $220 that gets applied directly to principal.

And I’m kicking myself in the ass for not doing this months sooner, but I finally opened a United Heritage Credit Union account. UHCU offers 6.01% on their Heritage Checking. The only stipulations are that you have to have direct deposit or an auto ACH (done), sign up for eStatements (I guess so I can get my statements via email versus paper mail. Done.), and we have to make 10 debit card transactions per month. The latter sucks because we don’t use debit cards. We use a MasterCard to make all of our purchases so we can rack up airline miles (not debt — we pay the balance every month). So I’ve got to figure out a trick (PayPal maybe) to make 10 minimal debit card transactions each month. If it means I have to stop at the convenience store on the way to work and buy a $0.05 piece of gum for 10 days, I guess I’ll have to do that. Either way, can’t pass up 6% on checking. That’s hundreds of dollars in interest we’ll earn each month, and that’s going straight toward the student loan.

My goal: shrink that remaining 14 year repayment amortization down to less than 2 years. That would be sweet. Wish me luck!

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Odds

I found out at 4 p.m. today that I’m a bone marrow match for the 43-year-old male who has Myelodysplastic Syndrome.

I’m a match. I’M A MATCH!!!

Three months ago I was told that I had a 1/200 chance of being a match. I’m that match.

I can’t put into words what that means to me. I don’t care what they have to do to me, they can saw my leg off and scoop my marrow out with a grapefruit spoon, I just hope and pray that it works for him.

Today was a good day for me. Was it a good one for you? Think about ways that you can give back. Just make sure you reconsider connecting lost cell phones with their rightful owner.

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My Lakers fan

Elise went to her Mothers of Ministry Sharing (MOMS) group at her church tonight. It was just Maly and me. After dinner we went for a quick walk down the street, then back to the house to just hang out on the driveway, sitting in our lawn chairs and watching Ray water his lawn across the street.

I could tell Maly was getting tired, so we came into the house and I gave her a bath. After her bath, I took her into our room where I put a diaper on her and put her pajamas on. She sat up and looked at me blankly. I asked, “Okay, what do you want to do now? Do you want to read a book or go rock-rock?”

She looked at me with excited eyes and asked, “Lakers?!”

To which I unfortunately had to respond, “No, Sugar. The Lakers lost the series last night. No more Lakers games.”

Damn Celtics.

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The peeing milestone

I gave Maly her bath tonight. We followed our usual ritual, for the most part. She ran out of our room when it was time to put on her diaper. I called for her. She didn’t come back. I called again. No response. I aggressively called. No response.

We put Maly in time out because of her unresponsiveness.

Maly is usually great in time out. She knows that she’s “removed” because she did something wrong. In this situation, we let her know that she needs to pay attention and respond to mom or dad.

After a minute or so after having been in time out, she knocked from the inside of her bedroom door and exclaimed, “Pee pee!”

Elise and I both jumped up and ran to her room, thinking she peed on the floor in her room. Upon opening the door, we were surprised to not see a puddle on the floor. Instead, Maly ran to her bathroom and sat on her toilet. And, after a minute, she went to the bathroom in her own little toilet.

So, I witnessed my little girl go to the bathroom on her own tonight. That’s a huge step from a dad’s perspective. Huge in that she didn’t fart while she did it. If she would have farted, there would have been high-fives and beer.

I love having a baby girl. Even though she’s not a baby anymore, she’s still my baby girl. And she farts. Oh yes, she farts. And if she’s anything like her mom, she’ll make me, and her Boppa proud.

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Father’s Day


Today was pretty melancholy. It wasn’t until having come inside for the evening after having dinner and playing on the deck with Elise and Maly that it really sunk in.

I came inside and started writing an email to my dad. He’s been gone for almost 2 years, and an email address that I created for him many years ago is still alive. I write to him every-so-often. And that’s when I broke down. There were so many things that I wanted to tell him; about how Maly talks about him and about what’s going on in our lives these days, and then I realized, he already knows these things.

I just wish he were still here. I didn’t have enough time with him.

I love you, Dad.

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Cheezin’ Czechs

[youtube width=”425″ height=”335″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em1Xcr-GyJo[/youtube]

“Cheezin’. Cheezin’ Cheezin’ poochy poochy mom! Arriba!”

Czech rock rocks!

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iPhone photo roundup


Mr. Marc in his bicycling/ninja uniform


Jenny had a bad day at the office


Chicken Fried Venison Tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and herb-cream gravy from Patton’s on Main (their website design looks very similar to another restaurant’s. I’m sure Jeff Blank is flattered)

Damn that was a good meal though. I swear that fried tenderloin was almost a pound! Plus creamed spinach and mashed potatoes loaded with butter. Totally healthy!


Lobster tacos from Iron Cactus – probably the most overrated and overpriced spot for food on our famous 6th Street in Austin. Just look at that puffed orange gelatinous goo. The table-side guacamole was good, however.


Green Chili Pork Taco from Torchy’s. Awesome tacos!


What happens to your garage door remote when you leave it clipped to the outside of your pocket while racing PlasmaCars.

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