Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Tuesday, 2017.08.22
Bad decisions make good stories.

2006.11.20

Janet’s Boy Drops His Body

Mac DuffFor the third time in the past 18 months I’ve had to hold hospice here at home. First Janet, then our little silky terrier, Oscar, and this past week it was our cairn terrier, Mac Duff. I had to euthanize the pup this past Thursday night.

This all unfolded rather suddenly. About four weeks ago Mac Duff started limping on his front left leg. He reluctantly put weight on it and would hold his left paw in the air when he was just sitting. Pick him up wrong and he would screech in pain. Not a good sign. Detailed blood tests, abdominal ultrasound, MRI, a lump biopsy, $4,000 and four vets later the answer came back as very aggressive malignant lymphoma.

Mac Duff was a rescue dog. We got him at about 6 months of age. Janet wanted a third puppy and I grudgingly acquiesced. She had been through some rather difficult chemotherapy and surgery and wanted some puppy energy in the house to help boost her spirits and had wanted a blond cairn terrier for a long time before that. Mac Duff provided all this in one tiny nuclear package. He never slowed down and had the best temperament of any terrier I’ve ever known. He was Janet’s puppy.

Phyllis Glawe, the oncology vet at the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado (VRCC) was clear and detailed with the facts. I’d asked for that up front given my history of supporting Janet in her fight with cancer. Smoke, mirrors and candy coated prospects are a bad thing. A very, very bad thing. If I’m to make a decision, I need to know what I’m up against, what the options are and what the likely consequences of any decisions might be.

A vet, or a medical doctor, earns a great deal of my respect from me if they are capable of acknowledging when they don’t know something. The valuable piece of knowledge contained in that acknowledgment is that I need to look elsewhere for an answer. Feigning knowledge for egotistical reasons, presenting speculation as fact and the like is also a very, very bad thing. It was that kind of attitude that put Janet is such a difficult situation before we even knew what was going on.

So, given that Mac Duff’s cancer was very aggressive and already quite advanced, if I had opted to put him through chemotherapy the cytolysis of the cancer cells would have flooded his little body with buckets of dead cell material, further taxing his already struggling liver and immune system and making him even sicker than the chemotherapy drugs would already make him. He could die from the treatment. Then there would be the side effects of the drugs: fur loss, vomiting, incontinence, risk of infection. God damn it, this is all too familiar. Not only this, but after six months of treatment, Mac Duff would have another 3-6 months cancer free after which the likelihood of a recurrence is very great and we would be right back where we were this past week. Only after much suffering and another $4,000+ lighter.

As Mac Duff’s owner/caretaker, the tough decisions are left to me. When Dr. Glawe showed me the protocol Mac Duff would be on, I knew what was in store for him when I saw words like “Adriamycin”, “Anzemet”, “Cytoxan” and “Cycloposphamide”. I could hear Janet’s voice screaming at me “Don’t torture the puppy!”

After the awful experience of having to put Oscar down and the way his last week on the planet unfolded, I wanted to find a vet who would make house calls for euthanasia. After speaking with several contacts, I settled on Dr Ann Brandenburg-Schroeder who specializes in pet euthanasia and calls her business “Beside Still Water“.

What a find! Dr. Ann is an angel. I had expected the house call vet would pretty much do what they do at the vet office except they would give the shot to put Mac Duff down at home. Not so. As soon as Dr. Ann stepped in the front door, she sat on the floor with Mac Duff and worked on setting a friendly rapport. There was nothing about Dr. Ann that said “vet” to Mac Duff. She had tasty biscuits from Great Harvest Bakery, spoke softly to him and scratched his ears. Even my other cairn terrier, Jasmine, took biscuits from Dr. Ann. Jasmine never takes treats from strangers. While doing this, she explained the process. She did this several times during the two hours she was there at the house, no doubt to remind me of what would happen.

Basically, she used four shots over about 15-20 minutes. The first was a strong pain killer, which made Mac Duff relax (first time in 4 weeks) and made him a bit sleepy. The second shot relaxed him even more. He was still aware and Dr. Ann said a loud noise or such would cause him to take notice. He was still tracking me with his eyes. The third shot was basically anesthesia and put him into an unconscious sleep. The fourth shot was an overdose which stopped his breathing and heart. Like Janet, when Mac Duff left, he jetted out of the galaxy.

I have a clear sense Mac Duff didn’t know what was about to happen. At no point was he afraid or agitated. He was comfortable and certainly enjoyed the treats. Unlike Oscar, who I had to take to the vet at 3:00 AM. As much as Oscar was suffering, he knew where he was – that place where people hurt him. So he fought and struggled. And the animal hospital vet didn’t get the euthanasia drug dose right and had to give him two shots. So he didn’t die right away. It still troubles me thinking about how he left. With Mac Duff, I have a much better feeling about his last days and moments. Dr. Ann is the main reason I’m doing better after Mac Duff’s death than I was after Oscar’s. The overall cost of using Dr. Ann’s services are not that much more than taking one’s pet to the vet to be euthanized. But the benefits to both you and your pet are an order of magnitude better.

I have one ding against VRCC for the record. It needs to be said to help readers who may be in my position. First off, understand that the vets at VRCC are very, very good. We refer to VRCC as the “Mayo Clinic for Pets.” They are also very, very expensive. And that’s not my grudge. I love all my pets and consider them a part of the family. Not in the perverted sense that some pet owners do who think it fitting to dress their pets up in people clothes, feed them human food, take them to pet psychologists and pet psychics, etc. Not in this house. We know our dogs are dogs and we care for them according to their nature. My dogs are on a raw food diet for the most part and they thrive on such food. They are given plenty of room to play and frequent walks. What ever care they need, if I can at all afford it, they get it.

My ding is how the tests were triaged. With obvious multiple lymph nodes that had had swollen to the size of plums in just one week, the sensible thing to do would have been to run the blood tests and biopsy first and deferred the $2,500 MRI until after the less expensive and, frankly, more appropriate tests results were available. But VRCC tends to go for the full buffet. They did this with Oscar but I put the breaks on that when they presupposed my instant answer to his potential glaucoma problem was to remove the cataracts in his eyes and replace his lenses with artificial lenses.

When it’s one of my dogs that is suffering, it’s difficult to keep the caveat emptor attitude. I trust the vets to make the correct call and not act as if they have a blank check with which to work. VRCC has my vacation for 2007. I hope they enjoy it because I likely won’t be traveling far.

[Edit History]

2006.11.22

Add more information in second post regarding Mac Duff.

2006.05.18

Janet’s Hōkū Lele

I had devised a special urn for Janet’s Celebration of Life Heiau ceremony on Hawai`i and called it her hōkū lele (Hawaiian for “shooting star” or “meteor”). My friends Chris and Nick used their considerable woodworking skills to make my idea a reality. The hōkū lele was a round piece of various hardwoods (mostly walnut), about the size of a grapefruit, that had been cut in half and the center hollowed out. The overall shape was achieved by layering rings of wood and then gluing them together. One half of the sphere was perforated with a couple dozen holes. A cotton string was run through each of the halves, tied off at the base of one half with a long stretch extending beyond the end of the other. Into this wooden sphere were placed as many granite stones from Colorado as would fit. I had selected some stones from Glennwood Canyon and the base of Mount Evans (Idaho Springs). At this point, a float-or-sink test was done to ensure there was enough weight to the hōkū lele so that it would easily sink. It sank well enough.

Work in Progress

This is as far as the hōkū lele would be completed before the trip to Hawai`i. The final steps would be completed after arrival on Kaua`i. I wanted to give the TSA folks as few challenges as possible.

Just to be sure the hōkū lele would sink, before the two halves were glued together, the empty space between the stones was filled with sand from Anini Beach. On top of all this were placed a small portion of Janet’s ashes. (The picture below shows just the sand, not Janet’s ashes.) By this stage, the hōkū lele weighed a pretty good amount. By my reckoning, it easily weighed 4 or 5 pounds, thanks to the granite and sand.

Through the center of the sphere a cotton cord was strung and knotted at the base of the bottom half but left free on the top half. The free length was about one meter in length. This is what I would hold on to as I swung the hōkū lele around, gathering momentum so as to sail the hōkū lele far out over the edge of the Heiau and into the Ocean below. Once in the water, the glue would quickly dissolve and release any remaining ashes. Likewise, the cotton cord would degrade fairly rapidly, leaving only the wooden layers to drift out to sea. The picture below shows the finished hōkū lele, ready for the ceremony. It is resting in a coffee mug so that it wouldn’t roll over.

Work Completed

From this point forward, the hōkū lele has a right-side up otherwise Janet’s ashes would spill. For the trip out to the Heiau, the hōkū lele was wrapped in the yoga shirt Janet was wearing when she passed and which covered her urn at home for the past year.

We laughed that the design and workmanship had better be of sufficient style and elegance because if it looked like a salt shaker Janet wouldn’t be very pleased with our effort. I believe we succeeded.

2005.07.25

Janet’s Day of Days

I wanted to write about Janet’s last few days before the memories fade like delicate colors in the sun or the edges of objects in waining daylight. This post has been in draft mode for several months, undergone numerous revisions and will likely be revised again as I remember various points.

During the week Janet was in hospice, she said on three separate occasions “I want to go.” What an incredible forward looking statement. It wasn’t “I want to die.” or “I’m ready to die.” It was “I want to go.” The day before she died, she said “I want to go before they get here.”, referring to the impending visit by some of her family and out-of-town friends.

We had made it as clear as possible last Fall that Janet was facing a battle with the grimmest odds yet. No one we had known, met or read about had survived the predicament Janet was in. A month later, our good friend Linda would die from the very same complications Janet was dealing with. Getting the idea across to family was difficult because Janet had pulled this trigger several times in the past and ended up pulling through. Almost like crying “wolf”, but not quite. My sense was the family wasn’t completely sold on the idea this was going to be a problem. Can’t say I fault them for thinking this. I certainly knew that if anyone was going to fight in face of such odds, it was going to be Janet. And she did. Nonetheless, we made the call to family that if they wanted to see Janet while she was reasonably comfortable and available, now was the time. The family answered the call and each of her brothers, some of their family and her parents made the trip to Denver. (more…)

2005.05.17

Eulogy For Janet

[What follows is the text of the eulogy I delivered for Janet at her Celebration of Life event on 5/16/2005. The celebration was held at Hudson Gardens in Littleton, Colorado. – Greg]

Hello and thank you for being here.

Here we are, gathered together to celebrate a life over 51 years in the making. Like a fine quilt, its a life woven by a master’s hand from many threads that together tell a rich story. Each of us represents one of those threads. Some long, some short, each a different color and part of a different story. Ask anyone here about how they know Janet and you shall hear those stories.

My thread began a bunch of years ago, when an amazingly beautiful woman introduced herself, shook my hand and took my breath away. From that moment, life has been one long pursuit to catch my breath. And just when I though I had it, that amazing woman would touch my heart and once again take my breath away. It happened in the midst of stunning beauty on Kalalau, on the trails of the Colorado rockies, in crowded public places and silent private moments. It happened in the light of her laughter and smile as she told a story or sang a song. It happened while listening to her breathe as she slept. (more…)

2008.09.17

The Last Post

Colorado Sunset
(Click on image for larger version.)

This is likely my last post to Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud.

I’m not capping the inkwell for good, blogging is just too intoxicating for that to happen. But it is time to take a bit of a break from blogging and ponder the move to other interests -  written and otherwise. It has served the purpose I intended, namely to help me hone my thinking and writing, experiment with ideas, sort out interests and find my voice.

The genesis of this blog goes back to a time before things called blogs even existed. Starting with the “Friday Humor Break” in the late ’90, these were once a week snippets sent out by email meant to put a smile on a small circle of friends and family. As the distribution list grew, it became unwieldy and posts to web pages became the logical extension. Then, a more efficient way to post became necessary. By that time, blogs were happening and a number of content management systems tailored to blogging were available. And so here we are, Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud on WordPress.

For the most part, this has been a lot of fun. I’m certain a few visitors have benefited from the posts here at JZ:TOL, particularly in regard to the posts related to my late wife, Janet. But I must say, I have been the principle beneficiary. I have learned more than I thought I would and gained unexpected insights in more ways than can be counted. Perhaps most important among these are that blogs are indeed powerful platforms from which to speak and, because of that power, demand a great deal of responsibility from the authors.

By the posts here on JZ:TOL, I was able to shine light on the incompetent dealings of Cherubim Foundation’s board of directors and recoup $2,000 from a sloppy businessman that otherwise would have been permanently lost. While crafting each of the posts related to these and other issues, I was challenged to think clearly and carefully, for what I wrote could, and did, effect the lives of quite a few other people.

I’ve always considered myself to be honest and truthful. Even so, deciding to do battle on the web where it’s easy to acquire a false sense of righteousness, anonymity and immunity, such ideals are put to the test. It is tempting to throw mud and, on occasion, I’ve thrown such mud in unpublished posts. Patience and the ability to cool down have been two more lessons from my experience with this blog.

So what is next? The plan is to create a new blog location and focus on essays and longer posts which develop ideas. I don’t follow the news close enough to be successful at hit-and-get posting. There are many other blogs which excel with that approach. My writing is more suited to deeper analysis than it is to responding to current events. Too many times, something exciting would be happening, my mind would be fully engaged in joining the fray and by the time I actually had time to post, the event was old news. And I’m talking here about days, not months. Such is the way of the Internet. Things change fast and the focus of interest shifts.

When I’ve figured out where I’ve landed, I’ll add an update to this post. Well, that’s enough for now. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Be Well and C’ya,

Gregory Engel

2008.06.28

Paper Wars

Turns out Eric Scheie and I are fighting the same battle today. My efforts are far more modest than Eric’s, involving one puny schredder and a few garbage bags. Still, there is a lot of paper I HAVE to keep, mostly related to Janet’s psychotherapy practice. Stuff I can’t distroy for a few years yet due to some rather vague legal reason. Ack. Nonetheless, I toss what I can.

What’s interesting about the battle in Eric’s trench is he apperently gets far mor junk mail than I. He quotes from these folks:

“The amount of paper junk mail sent each year in the USA is staggering — some 4 million tons, nearly half of which is never opened.”

The most staggering thing about that statistic, assuming it’s true, is that of those 4 million tons, over half of it actually is opened.

Who are these people?

2007.03.25

WhaaaaaaaaaaHOOOOOOOO!

The Sammy Flyer has arrived!

Sammy Flyer 1

Here she is just before her first test ride. The bike arrived a couple of weeks ago, sans one key part which had to be sent separately. While waiting for the part, I assembled the pieces and tuned as best I could. I recognized all the parts, the the sum is rather alien, however.

Cool. But what the heck is that thing?

It’s a Linear Recumbent 3.0 bicycle custom built to fit my frame. In fact, it’s the second 3.0 Linear Recumbent built.

After Janet died, sitting amidst the wreckage of what had been our life together, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer accept, in so far as it was possible, living as a 6′ 5″ man in a world built for 5′ 6″ people. I began by replacing my wardrobe with clothes designed to look good on a frame my size. That’s expensive enough, but it wouldn’t stop there. When I decided to find a bike that fit, I was willing to go custom there, too. But there was more.

When the quest for a bike began, I had been studying cello for all of one month. This made the traditional bike design out of the question. After even relatively short rides, my neck would hurt from having to essentially tilt my head back as far as it would go just to look straight ahead, my lower back would hurt from compensating for the odd angle of my neck, my hands and wrists would be close to numb and my ass would hurt from the crappy seat design (all the seat designs were crappy for a guy my size.) All of these things are very bad for the emerging cellist.

I had seen a recumbent bike in an REI store sometime in the mid 1990’s. By then Janet was already fighting breast cancer and a $750 bike was just beyond reach. Didn’t matter anyway. The thing was waaaaaaay to small for my frame. I don’t remember the model, but it really was designed for someone around 5 feet tall. But it left an impression. “Someone must make one for my size frame,” I thought.

I don’t remember when or how I found Linear. But when I did, the recognition was instantaneous. “That’s it! That’s the bike for me!” When I met the opportunity to act on the dream, I made the call. That was 18 months ago. The original Linear company had been bought out by the folks at The Bicycle Man in Alford Station, New York, and they took it upon themselves to improve the design. And that pretty much explains the past 18 months. At least once a month I would call Peter Stull to find out how his re-engineering was progressing. Almost to a fault, Peter would explain what he was doing, how the testing was going, what the design, engineering or production problems were. But I say “almost.” A few times I called just for a quick update as I was between meetings or some such, but he always managed to keep me on the line for 15-20 minutes. Truly, I enjoyed these conversations.

First Test Ride

Simply put, the most fun I’ve had on two wheels since the gurney races in the long gone “catacombs” between Craig and Swedish Hospitals in the early 1980’s (That turn into the ramp just before the boiler room was tricky!) WhaaaaaaaaaaHOOOOOOOO!

Here she is, post ride – a 12 mile ride along the Highline Canal Trail.

Sammy Flyer 2

There are a few new things to learn about riding a recumbent, particularly if the bike has below the set steering. Your balance is different because the center of gravity isn’t what you are used to with a regular bike. The mere act of peddling seems to throw the rider in a constant state of imbalance. That is, until you get the hang of it. I found I was making constant micro adjustments to the steering as I rode just to keep in balance. I suppose that happens with a regular bike, but not in the same way. No big deal, and this may change as my body gets more familiar with what it feels like to ride this bike and how to keep my balance.

There are a few design changes I would like to make to the bike, perhaps in concert with Peter. There is great potential to make this a long distance buggy par excellence. This is not a bike for racing. It’s designed and built for comfort, not for speed. It’s built to carry the rider great distances in relative comfort.

And so it did. Following my 12 mile maiden ride, the only thing that hurt were my thighs. And that’s what I expected. No neck pain. No wrist and hand pain. No lower back pain. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet!

The Sammy Flyer?

The Christmas before last, my brother-in-law, Roy, and his stellar wife, Amy, sent along some cash to help me in my quest for The Bike. I told them this secured for them the naming rights for The Bike. And so it is named after my charming niece, Samantha, or “Sammy.”

I’m working on a more thorough review to be posted. But I just had to get this sneak preview out.

WhaaaaaaaaaaHOOOOOOOO!

2007.03.21

The Passing of Cathy Seipp

This is a great loss.

Cathy was one of the few bloggers I followed consistently. I admired her writing style, enjoyed her humor, and delighted in the way she could both nudge the reader into thinking about things differently as well as deliver the proverbial slap shot to wake the reader up.

Her latest battle with lung cancer paralleled Janet’s final struggle and so I had a pretty good idea what was coming. Doesn’t make this loss any easier by any measure. Blessings to Cathy, her family and friends. As with Janet, I find solace in knowing she is no longer suffering. She shall continue to be a treasured source of inspiration for writing, for living.

Peace be the journey.

More on Pajamas Media.

[Edit History]

2007.03.21

Official obituary in the LA Times is here. More on Hot Air and Little Green Footballs.

2007.03.22

And Michelle Malkin.

2007.02.11

Introducing…

…Rose (n. Willow)

At 2 weeks…

Rose - 2 Weeks

…3 weeks…

Rose - 3 Weeks

…4 weeks…

Rose - 4 Weeks

…5 weeks…

Rose - 5 Weeks

…6 weeks…wait for it…

Rose - 6 Weeks

…Ears!…7 weeks…

Rose - 7 Weeks

…and finally, 8 weeks.

Rose - 8 Weeks

Settled on “Rose” for the name after seeing the puppy’s ears. Two of Janet’s favorite rose varieties were “Barbara Bush” and “Barbara Streisand”. The puppy’s ears look like petals from these two bushes in Janet’s rose garden.

Spent most of yesterday driving out to Burlington, Colorado to meet the owners at Paws and Claws Kennel. Brought Jasmine along as she would have final say over whether or not the new puppy was a fit. It was a rough trip for the old girl, but she was a trooper and seemed to like the puppy. All that’s left is to work out a few hierarchy rules between the two of them back home (So far, it’s working out really good.)

They say you learn more about a company when things go wrong and experience how the company handles the problem. Such was the case here. A potential glitch in our deal arose and was handled completely to my satisfaction. Landon & Dana Richards were excellent to work with – conscientious, fair and honest. Their operations were very clean and a good example of what a responsible breeder’s kennel should look like. In addition to puppy pictures, I encouraged them to put pictures of their kennel on their web site. The puppies sell themselves, but pictures of their operations would add just that extra bit of reassurance to potential customers, letting them know they are working with professionals and not some puppy mill crank.

If your decision is to work with a breeder, I highly recommend the Richards and Paws and Claws Kennel.

Previously:

Dangerous Cuteness IV
Dangerous Cuteness III
Dangerous Cuteness II
Dangerous Cuteness
A Dog Needs A Dog

2007.01.03

The Helping Hand

Normally, when eating an orange, I like to carefully peel the skin away and enjoy each perfectly portioned slice. Such was the goal when I sat down this evening to cruise a few favorite blogs and catch up on what’s been happening. What I happened to be reading as I started peeling the orange caused one of those nanosecond wince-flinches that resulted in the orange being torn near in half.

Orange

It brought forward some painful memories. I was reading one of Cathy Seipp’s posts in which she mentions a few of the ways people have endeavored to “help” her, but which have caused her to bite her tongue.

Since several years before Janet’s death, I’ve been taking notes on how a person might be helpful to someone fighting a life threating disease or injury. This will eventually be part of the book I’m writing to compliment Janet’s book. I do believe everyone means well, but for a variety of reasons, how they express their desire to help often ends up being…well, not very helpful. I made note of some to the goofy things people did in the name of “helping” as well as those things which others did that were exquisitely, even elegantly helpful. Inspired by Cathy’s post, I’d like to share a few of those notes here.

What you offer to do should save the person you are helping their most precious commodity: time. Time to spend how they see fit – alone, with family, friends – not necessarily you. If you are genuinely helpful, it will be appreciated if not always acknowledged, particularly if the one you are helping is in pain.

Think before you do. Is your help really helping? It may make you feel good to spontaneously empty the dishwasher. But when the person you were trying to help has to spend the equivalent amount of time looking for the potato peeler you stashed in a seemly logical place on the other side of the kitchen from where it normally lives, you have not helped. Worse, you have cost them valuable time and left them aggravated.

This leads to the notion of helping in a consistent manner. If the person takes the time to show you where things belong when unloading the dishwasher, then be the dishwasher helper person. Own that chore and do it consistently. The more you can be transparent in your help, the more helpful you actually are. Trust me, this will be noticed and greatly appreciated.

Do some of the unpleasant chores, like empty the trash or clean a bathroom. When ever Janet was feeling particularly bad, there was no want for people willing to rub her feet, massage her hands, read her stories and such – all things I wanted to do because they were enjoyable, things we did normally together and, most importantly, time spent with Janet. Not once did anyone ever pick up a clue and offer to pick up the dog shit in the backyard. No special skills needed for that one. There were a couple of offers to weed Janet’s rose garden. One actually followed through, the other bailed when Janet died before the promised weeding date. Er, that was helpful.

Cooking is a risky way to help someone who is ill. If you are unfamiliar with the ill person’s dietary needs, it’s almost guaranteed to be a miss. (H/T to friends Angie and Bruce who pulled this one off with perfection. But then again, they are each skilled in the ways of paying attention to the details.) If you must, bring canned or otherwise non-perishable food (i.e. it can be kept in a box in the basement for 5 years.) And make sure what you bring is high quality. It may be fancy for your tastes, but show you care enough to see they are eating good when they feel like eating. That 5 pound can of Ol’ Slim’s Genuine Campfire Stew from Costco says “doorstop” and not “I care.” Go ahead and visit that high floutin’ organic food store and buy some quality soups.

Offer to help only in ways you can complete. Leaving a chore half done is most often worse than having never started it. This also implies offering to help only with things for which you are qualified. If you think the Internet is made of tubes, keep your hands off anything electronic. If your experience with cooking doesn’t go much beyond vending machines and a can opener, stay out of the kitchen. And even if you are qualified to practice medicine, perform an aura balancing, read tea leaves, preach the gospel or exercise The Devil, keep your yap shut unless the person you wish to help specifically asks for your help in this regard. It’s near certain you will upset them on some level, even though they may be polite to your face.

If they do ask for help, be attentive to when they have had enough of what you are offering. Tune your senses to recognize when they are tired or increasingly uncomfortable. Then look for other ways to help that get you out of the way. Running errands is a good way to help. You are saving the person time and energy while staying out of their way.

That’s about it for now. Rule of Thumb: If how you are contemplating helping has you feeling a nagging sense of uncomfortable doubt, it’s best to reconsider and cast around for another, simpler way to help. “Thinking of you” cards with a personal note are a good thing.

So this post is for you, Cathy Siepp. Thinking of you and hope this helps.

2006.11.27

Ripped Off By Eric Jensen And Jensen Musical Instruments

I’ve been fighting a number of battles over the past 6 months or more. I’ve also let a few dings go unanswered. Like the General says, you have to pick your battles. It looks to be time for releasing some of these into the wild. As I found with Cherubim Foundation, some folks just don’t respond to common sense, fairness and decency until they realize the rock they’ve slithered under has been turned over, exposing them to the light of day and the view of the world.

Today, the rock I’m flipping over is the one under which Eric Jensen and his business, Jensen Musical Instruments, are hiding. This leech, Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments, robbed me of $2,000.

Last February, I signed a contract for a custom built electric cello and put down better than half the money. I had done my home work and researched a number of potential vendors over the course of 3 months before deciding on Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments. I consider myself a pretty sharp Internet buyer and have never lost so much as a dime due to a fraudulent transaction conducted over the Internet. I’ve been shopping on-line for over 8 years. The BBB said Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments was good, a number of professional musicians credit Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments on their CD’s and I had a good conversation with Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments on the phone where we discussed instrument options and such.

Even so, just how many crooks bank on getting rich by flipping phony electric stringed instruments? The electric cello niche has to be pretty damn small. It’s a small market and if you run a bad deal your reputation will suffer. Or at least it should. That’s the purpose behind this post. I doubt I’ll ever seem my $2,000 again, but I sure don’t want Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments sucking on anyone else.

But the Internet wasn’t the problem. Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments could have ripped me off just as easily if he had a shop here in Denver. But he is in Seattle which complicates the idea of making a visit. The leech no doubt had this in mind as he negotiated the theft of my $2,000.

Follow the links to learn the details about Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments. I have an attorney working on this to explore the consequences of the leech having conducted such a transaction over the Internet, across state lines and such. I’d like to shut down his web site (which I won’t link to) but until I get some kind of judgment this doesn’t look to be possible. Does anyone know anything different about shutting down a web site?

So you know, I have since acquired an electric cello. It’s a beautiful 6 string instrument from Ned Steinberger. The Steinberger was my second choice only because the vapor-instrument from Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments was pitched as having a few bells and whistles which I liked a little better. In addition, the non-existent Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments vapor-instrument was alleged to be slightly smaller and thus easier to travel with (a major purpose for acquiring an electric cello in the first place.)

The Steinberger cello is a beautiful instrument and the customer service from both NS Design and their recommended vendor was outstanding. The Steinberger cello deserves its own post in the near future.

By the way, did I mention that the leech which stole $2,000 from me was Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments? What the leech doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t care about is that this is money from Janet’s life insurance policy. Money I set aside exclusively to bring music back into my life. The fucker stole blood money and may his wretched business life suffer the curse of psychotic customers until he returns my money and re-reimburses me for my expenses. I tried to do business on your terms, leech, but you failed. So now you are doing battle on my terms. Cash only, leech.

[Edit History]

2007.03.07

See update post:

The Paper It’s Printed On

2006.10.08

Heartland

A few pictures from a walk several weeks back. I’d meant to post them, but forgot about them until I happened across the digital camera this morning.

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Janet and I called this cottonwood tree “Quasimodo.” Out in a field all by itself, it has been struck by lightning more times than I can count. The bark on one side is all black, the after effects of its most recent brush with primal forces. As gnarly as it looks, it has always been an inspiration for persevering and getting through our own tough times.

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It used to be I could point a camera in any direction on my walks and end up with a cool picture like this. Now, there is so much mega-house building going on I have to frame my subject as best I can. On this walk, it was quiet, warm, fragrant and tranquil. Just like old times. I stood on this bridge soaking in the sunlight and comforting smells of Fall for a good long time. I want a strong memory of this place before it is gone forever.

2006.09.02

Steal This Lunch

Go ahead. I dare you. From the New York Times:

For those with autonomy in their jobs – generally, well-paid professionals – breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator.

I think what creeps people out, and by people I mean “guys”, about this is that it’s stuff which was once inside someone’s body and now is on the outside. Most generally, when this happens, it’s not a good thing, ranging on a scale from unpleasant (“Earl, there’s something on your nose.”) to disgusting (“Earl, that looks infected.”) to flat out horrifying (“Somebody get a tourniquet around Earl’s torso fast!”).

To most, there’s nothing cute about a baby burp, especially as the count rises over time. Although Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes might go gaga over baby’s goo goo given their propensity for collecting trophy excretions. What’s worse, from a guys perspective, is the stuff is being saved. And for non-clinical reasons at that. Imagine a bag labeled “Earl’s sputum. DO NOT TAKE!” or “Earl’s sperm. DO NOT TAKE!” parked in the office refrigerator right next to your egg salad sandwich.

That’s how guys think about it. Of course, babies think otherwise. They have yet to be bent by our convoluted, contradictory and puritanical social conventions. They have yet to be pressured by peers and crushed by the protuberant herd in their journey from self expression to self repression.

Personally, this doesn’t bug me. My perspective is rather pragmatic on these things, the result of having grown up with five sisters, three of whom followed my mother into nursing careers, and supporting my late wife, Janet, through 10 years of battling breast cancer. These experiences left scant room for mystery in regard to what women have to deal with while growing up and trying to forge a career.

Pump away girls, it bugs me not.

A discussion thread is happening about this article over on Althouse (H/T, by the way).

[Edit History]

2006.09.03

Fixed klutzy sentence.

2006.09.23

Edited for clarity.

2006.10.02

Updated dead link to Tom and Katie’s trophy.

2006.08.29

Variation On A Theme No. 4,577,308,253 By God

The Spring and Fall are the best seasons to walk along my life long favorite trails. This evening it was the Highline Canal Trail. I’ve walked this trail since, well, since I could walk. It’s evening walks like these, alone with my thoughts, that I feel I could never live anywhere but Colorado.

But the walks are changing. Deep gashes are being hacked out of the land on either side of the trail to build colossal, five story buildings some people seem to need. Stranger still, they call them “homes.” Thankfully, they haven’t rubbed out nature yet.

As I walk, I can close my eyes and listen to the cicada and crickets, smell the woody fragrance of the aging cottonwoods and maturing sage and yarrow. Fall is imminent. When the breeze is just right, and the failing sunlight just so, I can even imagine Janet is walking along with me. At this moment, it would take a powerful force to pull me away from here. I feel the roots fading, however, as places exist in both space and time. The relaxing satisfaction of watching a sunset has been displaced by a deep sadness I cannot define just now. It’s a silence that has me listening for something. My sense is there will be a time when I must go and search for a new home.

All the more reason to enjoy this sunset. And so I did…

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

[Edit History]

2006.08.30

Grammar changes and expanded a few ideas.

Sweet And Friendly Room In Kilauea

Passing this along…

I can vouch for the peace and tranquility of this space offered by Eana Rose. The quality of her massage is also top notch and an excellent way to set the stage for your visit to Kaua’i. Eana was one of the Hula dancers for Janet’s Celebration of Life on Kaua’i.

Sweet and friendly room In Kilauea

Do you have friends or family visiting? Anyone you know need a place while on Kauai for a retreat, workshop or school?

I am offering temporary shelter in my home, in a sweet room set up for retreat, healing and inspiration. Available for a day or two a week or two or by the month. As well as a supportive environment for your own agenda on Kauai, you have access to a sacred temple setting for meditation, yoga or making conscious music. Sacred Hawaii Bodywork and Ayurvedic Massages available, access to Hula lessons and sacred dance, great space for art and writing, silent Vipassana meditation on Monday evenings. Visit my web site for a description of “Pu’uwai Ka Lani Retreat”. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who wants a safe, sweet space to stay while visiting Kauai. Or anyone needing a “Space In-Between” longer term living arrangements. Mahalo, eana

For information, rates and availability contact:

Eana Rose

(208) 721-1677
(808) 828-0138

eana@nalinilomi.com

eana.rose@hawaiiantel.net
www.nalinilomi.com


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