Wednesday, December 21, 2011

better late than never... probably

I planned on returning from my blog hiatus with a fun game for you to play, but I couldn't pull it off. My ActionScript and JavaScript abilities were too rusty to track the score. So here's a free game idea for you Developers.

I was going to call it; "Drunk, Diseased or John Wayne"

The basic concept was this — you would listen to a slurry, sleepy audio clip of a male voice saying a short phrase. Then, you'd decide if the voice you just heard was that of a drunkard, a motor neuron-diseased person, or actor John Wayne.

John Wayne sound clips are easy to find. Recording my own slow speech is easy. Getting a few of my friends loaded and recording them would have been the easiest task, given the massive quantity of Russian Imperial Stout in my fridge. The hard part was that I wanted the game to be 10-15 'questions' long, but I couldn't remember how the scoring worked.

Oh well. I have a feeling "Drunk, Diseased or John Wayne" wouldn't be burning up the iTunes store.

Friday, September 23, 2011


i'll be blogging over here for a bit, keeping people up to date on my sister-in-laws brain tumor surgery. Writing brain tumor jokes instead of ALS jokes is a nice change of pace. Weird, eh?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I watched The Empire Strikes Back last night for the billionth time. I noticed something new during this viewing... actually, I noticed two things.

First, Leia on Hoth is arguably hotter than Slave Leia in Jedi. Granted, I live in Minnesota so my perspective on such matters might be skewed. Most guys don't find wool scarves & mittens sexy — I am not most guys. I'd love to get her alone in the South passage, if you know what I mean.1 I'm just saying that I'll take ski bunny Leia over steel bikini Leia any day.

She can fire my ion cannon any time.2

The second thing I noticed is R2D2 goes every place people go (except inside Yoda's house) under his own power. He follows people around on multiple planets and space ships. He travels by rolling. Which means...


Both the rebels and the Empire put ramps and elevators in every damn thing they built. Even the Death Star is easy for R2 to navigate. We never hear C3PO ask Han, "Excuse me, Captain Solo, would help me carry R2 down these stairs?" Han Solo doesn't have time to carry R2 anywhere! He'd probably shoot C3PO just for asking — which would have made the whole trilogy more watchable.

Oddly enough, we don't see anyone zipping around the background in a quasi-futuristic wheelchair. I suppose they have medical regenerative technology that makes wheelchairs obsolete. It worked for Vader...

1. If you know what I mean, you are a geek. And I'm a scruffy looking nerf herder.
2. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i made a funny

A few days ago, my sister sent me a photo of a bike shop in her town, Nantes, France. It's called Assbike.

Yep, Assbike.

The first thing I thought was, "I want that on a t-shirt!" The second thing I thought was, "More people need to know about this awesomeness."

So, I fired it off to Stevil at All Hail the Black Market and he put it up on today's post.

Spread the word, the Assbike has arrived.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Have you ever wondered what's the worst thing about being in a fancy power wheel chair?

It isn't the inability to go most places, or spending the whole day sitting, or that it sometimes breaks unexpectedly. No, the worst part is this;

My chair's menu uses the font Comic Sans.

Comic f*#king Sans.

Someone actually made the conscious decision to program my display with a font for children. I spent the last four and a half years of my career on an IT team, and they never used Comic Sans. The Developers I worked with used Arial only, excepting the time one guy used the font Trebuchet in all caps. The other IT boys thought it was awesome.

You may be saying to yourself, "Hey, I like Comic Sans. It's fun and kinda cooky!" Well, I have two things to say to you...

1) There is a time and place for 'fun' fonts.
2) Bite me.

Let me illustrate my point. Which warning below would you most likely heed?

I rest my case.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I'm officially on the disabled list.

My last day of work was a few weeks ago. My fingers grew too weak to hold the mouse button for more than a second at a time. How am I still blogging, you ask? I can use Mac Dictate to compose about 90% of a post. However, I can't use Dictate to draw in Illustrator, tween in Flash, airbrush in Photoshop, or roll edit in Final Cut. It just isn't possible to say "Draw a rounded rectangle 1200 pixels wide by 800 high in the shade of blue I'm thinking of."

I'm trying to stay away from daytime TV, so most of my time is spent poking around the internet. Lately, this game is occupying most of my time (personal best: 25 days).

I should blog more once I recalibrate Dictate with my new microphone. If you have an idea for a topic I should write about — such as sex tapes, the man, hospital visits — leave it in the comments and I'll do my best to work it in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Can you spot what's wrong with this picture?

I managed to snap a foot rest off my chair by shifting my weight while seated. Apparently this thing is held together by cheap Ikea-grade hardware.

I wonder if my AAA membership covers towing and repair of power chairs.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I have achieved the impossible

Throughout history, man has always had one goal. One seemingly impossible dream, held above all others, that might one day be realized. If fortune and the gods smile upon thee, thy quarry may be won. The dream I speak of is, of course, man's desire to leave the toilet seat up.

I have climbed to that mountain top.

My arms are so weak that it takes considerable effort to lift the lid and seat. My wife, in a display of almost unfathomable kindness, has started leaving the seat up for me. It is a beautiful thing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

rule 34

The internet has it's own unique language at times. Since most of the work I do is destined for 'teh interwebs' I'm well-versed in these goofball colloquialisms. One of the webby phrases I know of (but have never had to apply) is Rule 34.

Rule 34 states that, "Pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject." Weird, right?

Well, I started writing a post about moving to L.A. so I could become the world's first wheelchair-bound porn star. After writing the first paragraph, I thought to myself, "I wonder if Rule 34 applies." So, I googled 'wheelchair porn.'

Mother. Of. God.

Google came back with 2,890,000 results. Nearly three million instances of wheelchair porn exist. Suffice to say, I would not be the first. Or second. I'm thinking more 25,000th.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


May is ALS Awareness Month. I'm aware of ALS pretty much all of the time, so I didn't plan anything to mark the occasion.

The ALS Association posted "inspirational" stories of people with ALS over here. The ALS Association's inspiration is all sugar-coated smiles and positivity... it drives me nuts.

I prefer a different style of inspiration. For example, The Oatmeal's profanity-laden take on brain cancer, or this brilliant spot from the Special Olympics.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

darque man strikes again

A friend of mine texted me the following photo and message:


This car cut me off in a strip mall parking lot with a Darque Tan!!!"

Same car, same South Dakota plate, same doofus behind the wheel.

He's back.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

bank job

At my last ALS clinic, I picked up some info on voice banking. Voice banking is a service provided by the MN ALS Association — they help people record their voice while it's still strong. Those recordings are then input to a communication device or computer. The idea is to save everyday phrases you'll want to continue to say once your voice is gone like, "I love you" or "How was your day?" or "No, officer, I haven't been drinking."

Voice banking won't create words like a text to speech program. It just stores a voice for future use.

But... what if I want to use other voices in the future? My voice is OK, but it could be better. That's why I've started a list of voices I'd like to bank. So far I have;

  • Mike Rowe saying pretty much anything
  • Alec Baldwin saying pretty much anything
  • Sean Connery saying "Good evening, my dear. So nice to see you."
  • George Clooney ordering various cocktails
  • Christopher Walken yelling "POW!"
  • The Dude saying, "Careful man, there's a beverage here!"
  • Homer Simpson saying, "Tramampoline! Trabopoline!"

What else should I add to my list?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the bird is the word

This morning, I participated in a Skype Q&A session with some of the fine students at UNMC, moderated by the brilliant Dr. Zimmerman. Talking with med students was a lot of fun, and I'd gladly do it again. It was a serious & scholarly discussion about diagnosing and dealing with ALS.

Until I flipped off the class.

I was in the process of explaining how I use the computer — typing with the on-screen keyboard and clicking the mouse with my middle finger. I stated that I use my middle finger because it's the strongest. That prompted Dr. Z to say, "That must come in handy when someone parks in multiple handicapped spots." (see previous post for reference)

I, without thinking it through, said "Well, I can flex my finger fine, but I can't really extend it." And then, for reasons unknown even to me, I decided to demonstrate my finger extension.

Which is how I flipped the bird to a lecture hall full of people at 9:30 this morning.

Fortunately, my single finger salute got some laughs. Like, a lot of laughs. For posterity, I'll try to recreate my moment of triumph with my webcam.

Hopefully the class learned a thing or two from me that will prove useful in their careers. If not, at least we had a few laughs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

people are idiots

Check out what we found on our way to pick up dinner:

That would be a Chevy sedan, parked across three handicap parking spaces. No one was waiting in the car, the hazards weren't blinking, the engine wasn't running... it was just parked. In the van accessible spot. In front of Darque Tan.

While Marney picked up dinner, I kept an eye on the Chevy. Seven minutes went by.

Before we left, I asked Marney to take a picture of the car. As soon as she took the camera out, two Darque Tan employees (one man, one woman, both slutty-looking) bolted out of the store. The following exchange took place;

slutty girl, “Hey!”
Marney looks up.
slutty boy, “We are unloading inventory. We’re just unloading inventory.”
Marney, “We have a handicapped van and you are parked in handicapped parking.”
slutty boy, “We were just unloading inventory. I’ll move the car. You can erase that photo.”

Inventory? Do you have a duffle bag full of UV light in your trunk?

South Dakota's 48X 160 — the skeeziest Darque Tan delivery man in the upper Mid-West.

Monday, April 25, 2011

back to school

No, not that back to school.

I'll being doing a Q&A session via Skype with 150-ish first year medical students at the University of Nebraska this Thursday. The students will get to ask me questions about diagnosing ALS. I'll get to try to not embarrass myself or the professor who invited me. I'm fairly certain I know more about The Simpsons than ALS, but I shall try my best.

So, if you are a doctor-in-training at UNMC, go to your 9:00 lecture and I promise I'll be as entertaining as I can be without swearing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Once again, it's time for tales from Ye Olde ALS clinic. Last time I visited, I endured this trauma. My recent visit was just as entertaining.

The first highlight was weighing my wheelchair. They did this so weighing me will be easier in the future. I'll just drive on to the scale (instead of stepping on it) and they'll subtract the weight of the chair. The chair is 391 pounds. Apparently it is made of lead and concrete. The chair and I combined weigh nearly 600 pounds — and that's why I'm now afraid of driving across wooden bridges. I might fall through.

Highlight number two was meeting with the Speech Pathologist. I haven't seen much of her in past visits, but now my voice is getting noticeably weak. She starts off the testing by having me repeat sounds like "pa pa pa pa" or "tipy, tipy, tipy, tipy." Next, I stick out my tongue and say "la, la, la" a few times.

Then it gets interesting.

The Pathologist puts a little mirror up to my nose and has me repeat the phrase "please put the potatoes in the refrigerator" several times. She's checking a muscle at the back of my pallet — if it's weak, air will pass through my nose and fog up the mirror. Every time she administers this test, I have to fight to not laugh my ass off. I never make it through without cracking up for two reasons.

First, I can't say "please put the potatoes in the refrigerator" without thinking about putting potatoes in the refrigerator. What kind of jackass refrigerates spuds?!? There is no reason whatsoever to keep a potato on ice. If I ever caught someone placing a potato in my fridge, I'd be all like, "You son of a bitch. How'd they get to you? I can not believe the refrigerated potato plot has made it this far. It's time to round up a potato posse. We need to invade Idaho before it's too late!"

The second reason I always laugh during potato time is, she's putting a mirror up to my nose... all I want to do is crack jokes about cocaine. (Crack jokes about cocaine - see what I did there?) What little I know about coke I learned from Rolling Stones songs and watching Blow, but I think I could come up with a few booger sugar punchlines. Last time I took the potato test, I planned on giving the mirror a quizzical look and saying, "Sorry, I'm not used to the mirror being empty." But then I chickened out.

Next time, I'll take a huge sniff just as the mirror reaches my face, then say, "Sorry. Old habits die hard." I may also reference 'disco biscuits' at some point. I think disco biscuits are actually Quaaludes, but I don't care. It's fun as hell to say disco biscuit.

Anyway, as a result of my voice getting weak, the doctors recommended I do something called 'voice banking.' More on that later this week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

is my friend Doss more metal than you?

Yes. Yes he is. Mostly due to his right shoulder.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Hey Colin, are you a good wheel chair driver?

Well... define good.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the april fools that could have been

I intended to write some sort of zany April Fools Day post, but rebranding a web site or two at work and launching a new site for our accessibility remodelers took up most of my free time. If I had the time, I would have posted about one of the following (completely bogus) topics.
  • Researchers discover that speedballs slow the progress of ALS.
  • I modify my wheel chair so it runs on a 250cc dirt bike engine.
  • I appear on Mythbusters to test the myth that a power chair can tow a semi trailer.
  • I install Mac OS in my chair's computer an use it as a web server.
  • I mount a stripper pole on my chair for some reason. (There would have been a great Photoshopped picture with this one.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

outta my sick bed

I'm finally getting around to posting about my new chair. I'd have done it sooner, but I've been sick for six days. Based on how I felt, I believe I contracted a weaponized flu virus that somehow was leaked by a secret government lab. I didn't think it was possible to feel that crappy and not die.

Anyway, here's what a guy who spent a week in bed looks like in a wheel chair.
Hang on a sec, I think I can get a better picture...

Yeah, that'll do.

Here's a close up of the chair's joystick controller and info screen.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to run some speed trials soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

at last

My power chair arrives tomorrow! It comes at the perfect time of year too—every morning there is a nice thin layer of ice (from snow melt) on nearly every horizontal surface in town. I'm going to drive like a damn lunatic on that ice.

Picture this, only with a wheelchair.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I've been wanting to write a post about my new wheel chair for two weeks. I haven't written it because my chair hasn't arrived. In fact, my chair hasn't shipped. It was supposed to be here two weeks.

The jackasses at Pride Mobility keep changing the ship date. I called to find out why. Pride Mobility wouldn't tell. As far as I can tell, their call center is staffed entirely by angry, standoffish, snarling beasts of women who are all trying to quit smoking. Those bitches do not want to help you—or answer the phone.

I never could get transferred to the Pride Mobility shipping department. I would have loved to hear their excuse for continually changing the ship date. My guess is that they were busy smoking hash and playing ping pong. I mean, what else could it be?

Dear Pride Mobility, please stop sucking. Pull your collective heads out of your asses, and send me my wheelchair.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm just gonna go find a cash machine...

When I get my power wheelchair, the first thing I'm going to do is visit an ATM.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

contextual advertising strikes back

I knew that last post would bite me in the ass.

When I update this blog, I log in with a Google account. Google advertising provides ad space on millions of web sites. Google knows what I write about because I'm logged in. See where this is going?

Lately I'm seeing a lot of these two.

That's just super. I'm 32 years old and I'm being bombarded by old people urology advertising. At least those ads aren't as odd as this one.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

this post gets pretty strange pretty fast

Last week I had a check-up at the ALS clinic. My breathing strength was still at rockstar levels, which was good. My legs were weaker, which was expected. My power wheelchair has been ordered, but I won't have it for five or six weeks.

Marney and I told my doctors we waited too long to get the power chair. We then asked if there were any assistive devices we should start looking at now. We figured being proactive would help in the long run.

Oh, how I wish I'd kept my mouth shut.

My doctor said that at some point in the future I'll find it difficult to stand up to take a piss. As such, she recommended that I familiarize myself with the condom catheter. You can check one out here. She described it as a condom attached to funnel, attached to a flexible hose. Basically, the condom catheter is a Barbie-sized beer bong.

Here's where things get weird.

The doctor says, "They work great, and the adhesive really holds them in place."
I say, "I'm sorry, I thought you said adhesive."
The doctor says, "That's right. The condom part has adhesive on the inside."

Now, I'm no chemist, but I assume any adhesive you pee on can't be water soluble. I tried to think of what the adhesive could be, and came up with Crazy Glue, caulk, epoxy and PVC cement. My doctor must have noticed I was freaking out on the inside. She tried to assuage my fears by saying, "Hey, men have it way easier than women with this kind of thing." Sure, doc. There's nothing easier than going through life with a condom securely rubber cemented to my dong.*

* This actually would have kicked ass in college.

Anyway, the doctor offered to send me home with some samples so I could get used to the idea. She disappeared for a few minutes, then returned with a large plastic bag stuffed full of things. She announced, "Here's your goodie bag. I gave you two of each size so you can find the one that fits best."

How thoughtful. Also, there are different sizes!?!? I thought condoms came in two sizes, not enough to fill a grocery bag! And I think 'goodie bag' might be a bit of a misnomer. It was the saddest/most disturbing bag of goodies I ever received.

Here's where things get weirder.

My doctor reached in to the bag of woe and pulled out a handy flaccid wang size chart. Yes, such a thing exists. Wanna see it? Of course you don't, but here it is.

Click the pic for a larger view... not that size matters.

After the doctor left the room, I told Marney that I'd hang myself with the XL catheter if I turn out to be a size small. The XL is basically a latex wind sock—so I'm sure it would hold my weight.