May 03, 2009

It's Going To Be A Busy Summer...

...mostly since I've set myself up to plan a wedding by the middle of September.

Mine, that is. XD

Justin Betz, my very good friend of taking-me-to-the-emergency-room fame and I are getting married. I, uh, will work on having more details and possibly pictures up in the near future.

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March 10, 2009

How To Fail At Referencing History

Apparently I need to post something this year.

Anywho, not too long ago, here in the metropolis of Cedar Rapids, there was a vote on a local-option sales tax for flood relief. Just before the vote, there was a small attention-getting maneuver by the opposition:

Cedar Rapids group plans 'tea' party

Obviously, it's very amusing that tea in river water is a pollutant. But that's not really the point I'm trying to make here. The point is three-fold:

1) The Boston Tea Party was a demonstration against 'taxation without representation' by American colonists who were upset about not having any say in their taxes. Hence the 'without representation' part. This is frequently referenced in grade-school history texts.

2) A local-option sales tax, as it is put up for community vote, is by default not 'taxation without representation'. Instead, everybody in the community gets to represent themselves in voting on it.

3) Story + Point 1 + Point 2 = Massive Fail.

That is all.

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November 04, 2008

An Update On The Civic-Mindedness Of Ardith Hoyt

I have voted.

That is all.

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October 16, 2008


I went back to the doctor today, and found out that my platelet level is up to 101,000, which is getting close to normal, which is awesome. The hematologist also said I apparently have mono. It seems they decided to take a look at some of my extra blood which they had lying around under the microscope, probably out of sheer curiosity, and found indications of mono, at which point they ran the test, and hey, Ardith has mono.

Of course, when I get mono, I don't just get it like everyone else, I get an extremely atypical case with almost none of the normal symptoms (like lymph node swelling or sore throat), but with extra bonus symptoms like an extremely low platelet count. Woohoo!

This means that they no longer think I actually have ITP. At this point, I don't really care what I have, as long as I get better.

Anyways, since the platelet count is so much better, I can start slowly getting off the prednisone, which I'm guessing will take a month and a half or so. Hopefully the mono diagnosis doesn't mean I'm going to be laid up for the next month; I haven't really felt too bad yet, and given what seems to be my current ability to not display symptoms of anything untl I end up in the hospital, I have no idea how typical the rest of this is going to be. Fun and games, to be sure.

Long story short, though, I think it winds up being good news in the long run.

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October 09, 2008

In Which Ardith Spends The Night At The Hospital

D'oh. The first version of this got erased when I was being dumb and wrote it in a browser window which died. Commencing Take 2 in a separate editor...

As some of you who read my mother's blog may have heard, I have had an exciting week. Rather more exciting that I wanted, really, but such is life.

Anywho, late last week and over the weekend, I came down with a fever and body aches that wouldn't go away. I thought it was the flu, at first. Monday night it finally got bad enough that I decided to go to the ER. Justin drove me over there, and I got the requisite IV line1, blood drawn, etc. Then they run some tests, draw some more blood, the lady comes in to make me sign papers, they draw more blood ("Your platelet count looks low. Let's test it again."), and then finally the nurse practitioner comes back to tell me that, hey, they talked to my doctor and a hematologist, and I'm getting admitted for the night. Apparently my platelet count was really low2. I also had a UTI3, but that's not a huge deal. At this point it was pretty late at night, and I wasn't terribly concerned.

So, I get admitted and settled for the night. (Which involves not sleeping. There's a fairly well-defined set of external factors which will keep me up all night. Unfortunately, they tend to all be present in your average hospital room) Early in the morning4, the hematologist stopped by and told me I had ITP, or auto-immune thrombocytopenia purpura, and that I was going to be started on prednisone.

Basically, my immune system seems to have decided that my platelets, which are what form most blood clots, are bad. The prednisone is supposed to whack my immune system upside the head long enough for it to get figured out that no, I actually want my platelets to stick around. This is apparently unrelated to the UTI, but could be cause by some random viral infection. I'm guessing it came on pretty quickly, since I hadn't noticed a large amount of extra bruising or bleeding or anything.

Somewhat later in the morning, my general care doctor came by and told me approximately the same thing, and people were telling me I could go home that day. The they drew some more blood, found my platelet count was down to zero, and there was some small amount of freaking out. Apparently this sort of thing is nearly unheard of, and I'm now the person with the lowest platelet level my nurse had ever seen. Bonus points for Ardith!

At this point, the general care doctor thought I'd need to have a platelet transfusion and be kept at the hospital a little while longer, but the hematologist said I'd be fine, and that she'd expected my platelets to disappear. Long story short, I could still go home, as long I stayed away from activities like biking and such, where it'd be easy to get bruised or cut. Apparently our bodies are pretty amazing, and have backup methods of blood-clotting. I was satisfied with this, as it's much, much better to be at home without an IV line in your arm, than it is to be in the hospital with an IV line in your arm.

So, I got home early Tuesday afternoon, started taking my drugs and catching up on sleep. Today I went to see the hematologist, got my blood drawn again, and my platelet count is all the way up to... 1. The hematologist didn't seem too terribly worried, and said that a) the prednisone probably just needs more time to work, and b) the antibiotic which I'm on for the UTI can drive down platelet levels as well. Hopefully when I go back next week, the numbers will be much better, and I'll be able to come off some of the massive dose of prednisone I'm currently on.

So, that was the exciting beginning to my week. I think that's my share for, oh, say the next twenty years.

1They managed not to stick it in my hand, using my arm instead. Bonus points for that. Also bonus points for getting me a separate room instead of a bed in the hall, but that's probably due to not being in Longview.
28000, for the curious. Normal is 150,000 to 400,000.
3Stands for Urinary Tract Infection. Bet ya really wanted to know that, didn't you?
4"Early in the morning" in this case means 4am. In hindsight, it was probably just as well I hadn't really fallen asleep anyway.

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October 02, 2008

Today Is A Momentous Day

It has come to my attention that I am, in fact, running for President.

I promise ponies for all, and would like everyone to know that I will not, 10 minutes after my swearing-in, immediately order airstrikes on Zanzibar. This is a solemn promise, and I always tell the truth.

Also, I am better at hunting meese than Sarah Palin. And more generically awesome than anyone from either main party. My middle name is Awesome.

In slightly less exciting news, I have bought a new laptop on Ebay which will, theoretically, increase the chances of observing exciting, television-induced blogging at this site. I did it because my old one was dying, and I wanted a new one anyway. It's a Lenovo Thinkpad X60s, for the curious.

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July 31, 2008


August 27th, I'm getting my braces out. Finally.

I'm rather excited.

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July 24, 2008

More Politics, Now With Footnotes!

This article gives some outside verification to what I had previously suspected1, namely that the Republican party in Iowa has changed considerably:

Grassley won't be GOP delegate

So, what's the big deal, you say?

The big deal is that back in the day when I was a young'n2 Grassley was the Awesome Iowa Political Figure, at least once Branstad was no longer governor. He was the opposite of Harkin, who was (and still is) the Democratic Iowa Senator. Jim Nussle, our local House member, was a Republican as well, but he was always on slightly shaky ground, especially after his marriage started having trouble. Not as Awesome as Grassley, for sure.

Anywho, it's really a bit surprising that Grassley's no longer considered worth giving a voting delegate position to. Well, it would have been surprising a few years ago. Having been to some of the local conventions, I'm not terribly surprised anymore.

The party in Iowa is definitely taking on more Christian overtones, with a couple of completely foreseeable results. For starters, people who aren't a) very conservative evangelical Christians, b) rather strident neoconservatives, or c) life-long party movers-and-shakers, just aren't participating much at all. It's turning into more of an activist-only scene, which as the Libertarian Party guys will tell you, does not actually lead to more widespread influence.3

Not only are the centrist-righters leaving, but the libertarians are, too. These are the people who got very excited about Ron Paul, made it to the conventions, and then realized that the Christian far-right in Iowa was slightly too much in the majority4 and a lot too uncompromising to work with.

I'm guessing that various members of the Christian right here in Iowa are all kinds of excited about this, since new-found power is a heady thing, but I have one small observation to make:

When you scare the Silent Majority, the Silent Majority leaves.

Just a heads-up.

1 Okay, okay, so I've been more than suspecting it. I mean, when a party goes from complaining about hog lots to worrying that the terrorists are gonna buy up our precious, precious farmland, something's changed.

2 I.e., not out of highschool yet. So, at least 8 years ago.

3 It does, however, lead to vastly more entertaining conventions.

4 This would be the majority after the centrist-right deserted in droves.

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May 16, 2008

Quotes And Paraphrases

Today, in lieu of having really anything to write, I bring you the most entertaining bits of the Republican Iowa 2nd District Convention. Which, incidentally, will probably serve to be the reason I skip out on the state convention, if in fact I do.

One of the candidates for US Senate, whilst going on about all his other qualifications: "I was exposed to anthrax." One can only assume he considers this to be a qualification for political office.

Steve King, US Representative from western Iowa, and clearly one of the leading economic lights of the House of Representatives: 'The economy really isn't as bad as everyone says, and anyway, if we would've just made the Bush tax cuts permanent, we wouldn't have had this little economic downturn.'

This was shortly followed up by: "John McCain will end the war on terror." I do not think this sentence means what he thinks it means.

The Iowa State Auditor: "We need to put a Republican back into the White House." This was possibly more entertaining for me than for anyone else in the room.

An unnamed US Senate candidate: 'Arab males are crossing the border at night. I ask you, why are they crossing at night?'

The head of the Iowa GOP offered the revelation that it is vitally important that we win in Iraq, basically because we haven't won enough wars recently. His connections to Michael Ledeen are unknown.

But the highlight of the entire day came during the platform discussion (Again. Pity we didn't have enough time to get through even half of it.), concerning this plank in the Agriculture section:

We support laws that restrict foreign ownership of Iowa farmland.

There was an amendment up from the local Lew Rockwell contingent to strike this plank, and during the discussion on said amendment a very concerned and passionate delegate declared fervently that we needed this plank in the platform, because...

Continue reading "Quotes And Paraphrases"
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March 12, 2008

The Linn County GOP Convention, or Why People In Groups Frighten Me

On March 8th, I spent all morning and afternoon sitting in a metal folding chair, watching the slow, steady trickle of insanity take over a room full of people. I went to the Linn County Republican Convention.

Initial impressions first: it was held in the Teamsters Union Local No. 238. Apparently Jimmy Hoffa spoke at the building's dedication. Also apparently, John McCain is still a hard sell around these parts, as I ended up with no less than four glossy brochures going on about sacrifice and being Ready To Lead From Day One. Possibly the most convincing aspect was how half of them were obviously left over from January, giving the option of being a McCain supporter by voting in the Iowa Caucus.

They were expecting 400 or so, and ended up with somewhere around 150. Clearly only the most dedicated, plus me, showed up. This was a wee bit frightening, as it made me out to be dedicated. I like to tell myself I'm nothing of the sort; I just show up to keep myself informed on how local GOP politics is going. And to remind myself that yes, I'm mostly libertarian now.

It started off, as conventions always do, with lots of talking about how people need to be 'united' and 'pull together behind the candidates' and 'support the party' and a whole lot of rot. All a massive ploy to get people to buy snacks from the tables in the back, really. The idea is that if you talk a lot about things people don't want to hear, they'll drown out the pain by buying food. Brilliant, without a doubt.

This was followed by the keynote speaker, also known as the Iowa State Auditor. He was there to reveal to us all about how the governor, who happens to be a Democrat, is running the state into the ground financially. Wouldn't actually surprise me, but I wasn't paying much attention any more as I'd finally got my hands on a copy of the 2008 Linn County Republican Party platform, and it was a sight to behold. 238 planks, prior to amendment, with about half proposing new ways to spend money, a third proposing new ways to violate the US Constitution, and most of the remainder weaseling out of saying anything at all.

A few samples:

We support companies and individuals who invent an affordable car that gets 100 miles to the gallon - We also support ponies and rainbows. And sunshine, because it makes us feel happy.

With the increasing percentage of obesity and several health conditions, it is essential that our children are fed nutritional, life-giving foods in our public schools. It is time to be proactive instead of reactive, our kids deserve it because they are our future. Let's teach our kids how to eat to live instead of living to eat. - Clearly, we must cancel all the mandatory classes on junk food appreciation. And also stop serving things that literally suck the life out of kids in their school lunches. And also probably suspend students for buying Skittles. It's the only way.

We affirm that any Global Warming that may be occurring is not the result of human activity. - Now, I'm as much of a skeptic of an anthropologic cause for global warming as anyone, but the logic in my head says that affirming things in party platforms doesn't actually make them so, and that possibly attempting to use a political platform to state things about science is a dumb idea. But maybe I'm wrong, and the best thing for the country is a plank that states how we affirm that gravity is indeed that force which causes attraction between two masses.

We affirm that the current language in the Pledge of Allegiance and the original language of the Declaration of Independence are very important and must be protected. - Clearly, I missed the memo stating that historical documents like the Declaration of Independence are in a state of flux and can be arbitrarily reworded at any time. Given that, I have a brilliant new version of the Magna Carta I'm going to be shopping around.

We call upon the Linn County Building Department to honor state standards and stop making normal construction difficult. - I admit it, this one was just amusing. I'm envisioning a very put-out local entrepeneur writing this one hastily down at his local caucus.

We demand that when DHS (Department of Human Services) is involved with a family that the courts protect both the best interests of the child or children also protecting the rights of the parents. - We also demand that we not be constrained by the petty restrictions of English grammar.

And, of course, the section on Defense, Immigration, and Foreign Policy:

We believe that the United States Embassy in Israel should be moved to Jerusalem. - But seriously, why stop there? Since increasing controversy is clearly the answer, we should start construction of a nice new facility on the Temple Mount itself.

Terrorist websites at home and abroad should be closed down using computer warfare. - Yes. Yes. We must send out our remote-control mini-tanks into the tubes of the internets, post-haste!

We believe in more restrictions for legal immigrants (H-1B visas). - Wait. Are we trying to restrict legal immigrants, or are we trying to restrict the number of H-1B visas? Or perhaps we're trying to tell ourselves that all legal immigrants have H-1B visas? We're confused.

*insert a week-and-a-half writing break here*

I can give the platform a break, though. The planks are generally written by random people at local caucuses, and then collected with little to no editing by the platform committee. It's quite common to find incredible leaps of logic and massive internal inconsistencies in a county platform.

However, what happened as we were going through potential amendments to the platform was rather eye-opening.

I really, really wish I would have thought to write down the exact wording of the potential new plank that came up as an amendment. What I remember of it is that it referred to fighting terrorism in some way, and then went on to say that U.S. citizens should receive full due process rights regardless. It came up on the screen, there was no discussion brought up, and I thought to myself, "Well, that's fairly reasonable. I mean, it doesn't go as far as I would like, given that I'd rather see due process rights extended to everyone, period, but I can't imagine the average conservative having much problem with it. Eminently respectable."

But, no. The voice vote was not obvious enough to carry the amendment, and when they had those for, and then against, stand, I realized it was going to fail by a nearly 2-1 margin. Clearly, Republicans in Linn County are massively unconcerned about fair trials. It's not actually fun to find out that your neighbors wouldn't particularly mind you getting held without trial if you were under suspicion of terrorism or something.

And thus, my concern for the state of mind of the Linn County Republican Party.

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February 19, 2008

The Illogic, It Hurtses!

I ran across this a few days ago, and forgot to post it until now:

Did terrorists cause the housing mess?

Yeesssss. Clearly, without any terrorist attack, the US economy would have never have had any problems. I expect a similar explanation for the dot-com bubble any day now. Called "Did terrorists use a mind-control ray to cause us to invest in companies consisting primarily of cute logos and catchy names?" or something similar. After all, we're much too smart to lose money all on our own. Must be those pesky terrorists.

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January 03, 2008


Welp, another even year, another caucus. Personally, my small contribution was a rousing success. They might love me now as the bright young thing who actually put some effort* into this thing, but I suspect there'll be less happiness come the county convention and they realize there're gonna be a bunch of issues brought up by libertarian-influenced statements that they'll have to discuss instead of quietly ignoring.

It really is quite shocking how much effect you can have from just an hour's worth of work beforehand. I'll bet that fully half the planks submitted in writing were mine. Most people have maybe one issue they care about, and if they're feeling incredibly involved they'll write something up for that, and then call it a day. Me, I'm rather too much too concerned about too many things for my own good.

As for the results in Iowa tonight, I just have to say that I'm incredibly, incredibly amused. A large number of people in the Republican political machine are going to be very, very ticked about Huckabee's substantial margin of victory.

As for the Democratic side, Clinton's clearly got much larger issues than she thought she had prior to tonight. It's going to be very interesting to watch this thing play out, in both parties.

*by effort, I mean that I showed up, voted, and then proceeded to hand in 3.5 handwritten pages of potentional Republican Party platform planks. The last bit got some shock and some clapping, because, you know, I'm young and need to be encouraged.

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November 19, 2007

Oscar The Grouch Was Always My Favorite

As a way of inaugurating my own week-long vacation, I bring you the news that the first two seasons of Sesame Street are no longer considered fit for small children.


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October 12, 2007

Open Season On Political Ads

Mitt Romney's new 'Jihad' ad made me want to simultaneously tear my hair out and throw the remote at the tv. This would have a) hurt, and b) cost me money, so I decided against it.

Instead, for your amusement, I have channeled my pent-up rage and despair into shockingly bad interpretive haiku.

"It's this century's nightmare - "

Romney's time machine,
it gets a workout, indeed.

"Jihadism - violent, radical, Islamic fundamentalism"

Speech writer: "Too short;
proper descriptions have more.
Room for fascistic?"

"Their goal is to unite the world under a single jihadist caliphate."

Shiites want no part
of a world-wide caliphate.
But facts are boring.

"To do that, they must collapse freedom-loving nations, like us."

are stronger than Communists.
Fear is the answer!

"As president, I'll strengthen our intelligence services, increase our military by at least a hundred thousand, and monitor the calls Al-Qaeda makes into America."

"Computers, soldiers,
foreign policy is not."
Yoda reveals all.

"And we can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

Mahmoud is crazy.
But I can be crazier.
Watch me threaten war!

"I'm Mitt Romney, and I approve this message."

The background music
was faint, yet inspiring, no?
I will go cry now.

Posted by Ardith at 08:57 PM | TrackBack (0)

October 10, 2007

Finally, A Place For The Piranhas

I need 1.5 million dollars.


To buy my own Titan 1 missile base, of course!

The possibilities, they are mind-boggling.

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