Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Obituary Ever

Colin Yurek Farbotko

Farbotko, Colin Yurek 34, succumbed to ALS on October 15, 2012, after 6 years of valiantly fighting the debilitating effects of the vile disease. 

Colin was born on August 13, 1978 to George and Janet Farbotko. Surprisingly to anyone who knew him later in life, Colin was a mild-mannered and well-behaved child, especially in contrast to his rebellious younger sister Anna. His formative years instilled in him a drive for creativity and out-of-the box thinking. 

Upon graduation from Hononegah High School (Roscoe, IL), Colin entered Luther College in Decorah, Iowa for four years of typical adolescent male debauchery. During college he and his father sculpted giant works of snow art, placing in competitions as far away as Switzerland. Graphic artistry, drinking, naked soccer, and other (thankfully clothed) sports occupied much of his time. It was at Luther where Colin met great friends Kevin Frantz, Pete Schonebaum, and many other good Luther friends. He also met a young lady, Marney Olson, who would someday become his future wife. Colin graduated with degrees in art and communications and moved to Minneapolis, MN to pretend to be a grown-up. 

Colin provided creative graphic, web and video design work for Target, Inscape Publishing, and also did freelance work. He was an unapologetic Mac snob. He spent much of his bachelorhood biking and running around Minneapolis lakes and parks and entering local races. He participated in and completed the Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon. During the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in 2004, he re-met Marney when she recognized and cheered for him during the race. They began dating immediately and were married on April 1, 2006 (no joke). 

Colin loved Marney and his family and friends, good local craft beer (especially Surly), the Four Firkins, whiskey and gin, every kind of seafood and edible delicacy such as caviar, foie gras and tongue. Colin also enjoyed grilling on his back deck with friends, running, biking, skiing, double entendres, the Simpsons, The Jayhawks and other music, the Internet and being creative. He disliked bad drivers, people who talk in movie theaters and ALS. 

Friends and admirers are invited to gather together to raise a glass in honor of Colin on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the Local, 931 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, from 12 - 2pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to The ALS Association MN/ND/SD Chapter, 333 North Washington Ave. Suite 105, Minneapolis, MN 55401.
Published in Star Tribune on October 18, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

keyed up

Typing with the on-screen keyboard is slow. Very slow. So slow, in fact, that I spent six hours working  on the previous post. I've ordered one of these bad boys, and will pick up the blogging pace once it arrives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

another post about doctors, drugs and rock 'n roll

I saw one of my doctors last week. My calf muscles are tight and twitchy most of the time, and it makes sleeping difficult. I ended up with a prescription for Baclofen, but first I messed with my doctor's head a bit. My shenanigans started as soon as she walked in.

doctor: "So, what can I do for you?"
me: "I'd like some drugs please."
doctor: "Okay, what did you have in mind?"
me: "Well, I'm really in to Pink Floyd right now. I'd like something to help enhance their music."
doctor: *puzzled expression*
me: "Like maybe some LSD or MDMA."
doctor: "I can't prescribe those, but I can give you directions to a street corner downtown where you probably could get them."
me: "Far out."
doctor: "Too bad medical marijuana is illegal in Minnesota."
me: "Marijuana is medicinal?"
doctor: "You are trouble."

She went on to tell me that several spinal injury patients of hers have successfully 'self medicated' with weed at home. For some people, weed works better than Baclofen, Botox or any other anti-spasticity drug on the market. And unlike some prescription pills, marijuana has few side effects. The main one being: it makes everything way more awesome. Literally everything.

Of course, there's that whole "against the law" issue with pot — also I can't use a lighter or matches. So I guess I'm out of luck, unless someone brings 'medicine' to me. (hint hint) But that won't happen because my friends are law-abiding citizens. (wink wink) Remember kids, just say no, (say yes) and users are losers. (losers with great taste in music) I'll continue taking my prescribed medication (lame) and listening to Led Zeppelin IV. (hint hint)

 I also won't (will) try to enhance rocking tunes like this Minneapolis duo:

...or the classics...

 ...or these Canadian fellas:

Their bass player looks like a young Jack Bruce and sounds like a young John Entwistle - nothing wrong with that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

vote for me please

If'n you're on Facebook, please vote for me in the Surly Coaster Contest.
Real blog post coming soon, I promise.

Monday, March 12, 2012

my brain is basically a jackass

Last night, The Simpsons did a clever little parody of the movie Inception. It reminded me of an odd dream quirk I've been experiencing for the last year.

My dreams have always been pretty far out. I've had dreams in foreign languages (languages I don't speak, like Japanese and Italian), dreams with subtitles, dreams in black & white, and dreams within dreams, just like Inception.

About a year ago, I dreamt that several friends and I were painting my kitchen. I picked the microwave up off its shelf and set it on the counter so I could paint the shelf. In reality I haven't been strong enough to lift the microwave since 2009, but in dreams I could. Anyway, one of my friends says, "I didn't think you were strong enough to do that." I say, "Oh yeah, you're right." Then I put the microwave back on the shelf, walk over to my wheelchair, sit down, and spend the rest of the dream watching my friends paint the kitchen.

My subconscious is a total dick!

This happens all the time — at least a few times per week, and occasionally multiple times in one night! In a dream, I'll be walking or skiing or biking, and some bozo will say, "Aren't you too weak for that?" And I always say, "Oh yeah, you're right" and go sit in my chair. Of course, the bozo in question is me. I constantly sabotage my own dreams for some reason.

I think I have a solution. it comes from the great mind of Homer Simpson:

It's on, brain.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

campus man

This afternoon I'll be taking part in a neurology workshop at the UMN med school. First-year students will practice taking my medical history, then ask me basic diagnostic questions. My wheelchair is a pretty big clue to my condition, and I don't want to make it too easy for them, so here are a few things I'll say to throw them off.

  • "It really hurts when I pee."

  • "My sinuses sting — I think the fumes from my meth lab are getting to me."

  • "Can you write me a prescription for ketamine? I'm going to a rave this weekend."

  • "Are you familiar with Excitotoxicity? It's my favorite Def Leppard album."

  • "I'm in a wheel chair because of a freak mosh pit accident at a Neil Diamond concert."

The last time I did something like this, I had fun. Hopefully today will bring a few laughs.

I love keeping med students on their toes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

acting twice my age

Here's a fun fact — people with ALS are eligible for Social Security, regardless of age. I guess the government figures we might as well see a little return on those Social Security taxes before we die. OK, maybe that isn't a 'fun' fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

Since I'm basically retired & on Social Security, I get a lot of mail intended for the 65 and older set. This lovely little brochure showed up the other day:

According to their website, "SilverSneakers is a fun, energizing program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and offering social events."

That sounds delightful, and if I were older than 33 and capable of physical activity I'd be all over it. The SilverSneakers obviously got my info from my insurance company, and I can't fault them for that.

However, I can fault them for this gem.

SilverSneakers has a clip art logo. It makes me sad.

If SilverSneakers was a volunteer organization with a shoestring budget, I'd understand the clip art. Turns out they're a division of a company called Healthways. Healthways is worth about $500 million. They have an original logo, but creating one for SilverSneakers must not have been in the budget. I guess half a billion dollars doesn't go as far as it used to.

C'mon, Healthways — kick a few bucks down to SilverSneakers so they can hire a designer. If you're going to print your logo on a bunch of shirts for old folks, at least make them look kind of cool.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


There's a crazy solar storm heading this way. I hope it's as cool as a solar eclipse.