this blog

The ramblings and observations of a kidney transplant recipient, although not necessarily for that reason.

probably smarter than me
book i'm reading
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (recommended by Killer)
Blog Of The Day Awards Winner
Monday, November 27, 2006

It's now time for both of my readers to update their link for me on their blogrolls. You see, I've had no real problems with Blogger, but because I like to fix things that aren't really broke and because some of my blog-savvy friends told me I had to, I've moved here:
posted by othur-me @ 11:53 PM   2 comments
Despite all controversy, the battle has been won!

We're #1!

Because that's where #2 comes from!
posted by othur-me @ 5:27 PM   7 comments
By Popular Demand I Present To You: How To Eat Coochie

I'd like to start by thanking my readers for the many requests to share one of my true passions. When I was younger, I was naive. I thought that just because I liked to try the many flavors this world has to offer, that everyone did. As I grow older I find that my adventurous palate is a feature that sets me apart from many others who are too picky to try new tasting experiences. They have patterns for eating that prevent them from trying new things. For example, if you eat a hot dog day in and day out, certainly, you may never develop a liking for oysters. It's certainly natural.

Many have dabbled in sushi or have been tempted to try snails. Among the adventurous eaters, these are certainly the basics in food suited for the advanced palates. But if you are to get more creative with your ingestibles, you haven't really scratched the surface until you've devoured the likes of tangy snapper, mussel pie, moose lips, or the very rare otter wallet. Coohie is another one of those unique delectables and with the few steps provided below I hope that after reading this article, you won't be afraid to put your tongue to it.

Step 1: Be sure to procure fresh coochie. It's definately much harder to find than coochie that is a little bit older (maybe even stale), like the kind you can find at any corner Gas N Sip, but if you go to the extra effort to get it fresh, trust me, you will be rewarded for it. Fresh coochie can be easily identified by its odor. Much like shopping for fish, if it smells fishy, it's not fresh. Although unlike fish mongers, those who have fresh coochie available are not always willing to let you sniff before purchase ...I mean.....procurement. Purchasing coochie is not a sure way to insure freshness. Hunting wild coochie is a better way to go, though harder to come by. This next part may sound strange for a dining experience, but you may need to tell the coochie provider you love them before they will give you the coochie. Don't worry though, you don't have to mean it.

Step 2: Don't just dive right into your coochie without a solid plan for preparation. Take your time. Unwrap your coochie carefully and inspect it for freshness and flaws. Be sure to turn it over and check the back side. Wash your coochie thoroughly and check it for pin bones by gently running your fingers along it. Remove with pliers, if necessary. Similar to lobsters boiling, people often think they hear their coochies scream in agony at this stage, but don't worry, the pain is over before they know what happened. Some people like to pluck their coochie before eating but I find the feathers add a nice texture.

Step 3: Never eat cold coochie. From my own personal experience, I've found that coochie is most enjoyable at approximately 100 degrees Farenheit, though temperatures may vary. It should always be tender and juicy. If it's tough, throw the coochie out immediately. There is always more coochie to be had. It is definately ok to stuff a coochie as part of the preparation. Check with your coochie provider. They are often ready with insightful ideas for stuffing recipes, though sausage is the most traditional (not vienna).

Step 4: Choose a setting. It's most common to eat coochie indoors and it's the one meal most often served in the bedroom, though it is ok to eat coochie in any room of your house. I wouldn't suggest the garage, but whatever floats your boat. Eating coochie in a restaurant is very difficult, but not impossible. You can also eat coochie at a picnic, but I suggest bringing a comfortable blanket to put beneath you to help keep ants off the coochie.

Step 5: Coochie is not a food you eat with a fork and a knife, and if you bring a spoon to the meal it would just be ridiculous. If you're not eating it with your fingers, you're just not getting the full coohie-eating experience. It's not uncommon to serve coochie with liberal amounts of alcohol, but there is a point of diminishing returns. You may also serve it with a sauce. I recommend chocolate, but I have a sweet tooth. Tabasco is probably not a good idea. Some people like to serve coochie with fruit. Two large melons would be a nice accompaniment.

I do hope these steps come of great use to you, and often. It would be a great shame for you to go your whole life without at least trying coochie, if not making a daily meal. If you take the time and follow all of these steps, coochie will be the one food that almost seems like it enjoys being eaten. This won't be true if done improperly. Coochie has actually been known to wrap itself back up and leave the dining area if not treated with great care.

Sure, you can go back to eating hot dogs if that's your thing. No one will blame you for not being adventurous. If all you ever did to coochie was poke at it with a big stick, you'd still probably be ok, but there's a reason that great chefs around the world are known for devouring coochies with a fierce passion. Emeril Lagasse is known to like his coochie steamed. Bobby Flay apparently likes his coochie poached. And the world's foremost coochie eating chef, Julia Child is said to have liked her coochie over easy.

(if this doesn't get me to #1 on the google search for "how to eat coochie", I don't know what will)

posted by othur-me @ 1:18 AM   11 comments
More of YOUR questions answered....
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Questions brought to you by people searching google and happening along my blog.
Answers brought to you by me.

"IgA nephropathy goes away in a transplanted kidney because"
IGA nephropathy is the kidney disease I've had since I was 12 and the reason for my kidney failure. Unfortunately, it doesn't ususally go away after a transplant. Most often the disease comes back and damages the transplanted kidney at the same pace it did your original kidneys. The hidden good news is that IGA Neprhopathy is usually a fairly slow moving disease and in a case like mine, it took 35 years to get to kidney failure. It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect it to take another 35 years for the transplanted kidney.

Regardless of all that, the immunosuppressive drugs you take to prevent your body from rejecting the kidney also do damage to your kidney and at a rate more aggressive than IgA Nephropathy normally would. Chances are you're going to need another transplant from the drugs before you would need another transplant from the disease. Although, the drugs are getting better and I'm currently on a study drug that is not nephrotoxic and if this drug or something like it makes it to market, the days of needing another transplant as a result of the drugs may soon be over.

"things that you shouldn't eat while on dialysis"
I was fortunate enough to time my kidney failure and transplant so that I could completely avoid dialysis, but in an effort to prolong my kidney function for the last few years, the doctor recommended I practice the same diet as people on dialysis and sent me to a nutritionist that specialized in dialysis patients.

The things you need to avoid are:
Protein (big bummer for a meat eater like me, but you can't skip it completely, unless you don't like hair or fingernails)
Phosphorus (it's in many foods but high in the following things)
Dark Colas (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, diet or regular doesn't matter, surprisingly not root beer)
Legumes (beans)
Whole Grains (wheat, rye, etc., better to eat white bread)
Seeds and nuts
Barley & Hops (Um.....BEER!?!?!?)
Potassium (it's in lots of fruits and vegetables, they give you a chart telling you which are better than others)
Sodium (high blood pressure and poor kidney function go hand in hand and salt raises your blood pressure)
Fat (being fat raises your blood pressure too)

It often feels like you can't eat anything and it always feels like you can't eat anything good. And many parts of the diet are not efficient for weight loss/maintenance, which is usually required. Good luck, I hated the diet and did everything I could to get a transplant ASAP because of it.

"can kidney transplant recipients drink dr. pepper soda"
YES! At least I can, but please ask your doctor to be sure. Lifestyle-wise, the great thing about getting a transplant is that all diet restrictions shown above GO AWAY! Once you have a kidney properly cleaning your blood, you can eat like a normal human being. To properly maintain the immunosuppressants in your blood, it's best to limit (notice I said limit, not eliminate) salt, caffeine and alcohol because they are things that dehydrate you. That's about it on the diet restrictions, though, and doctors discourage everyone from those things.

"cpap morning fart"
A CPAP is a breathing apparatus one wears over their face while they sleep to counteract sleep apnea. Ummm.....I think you may be wearing yours over the wrong orifice.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lastly, I'm honored to be listed as hit #11 of the following google search:
"famous kidney transplant recipients"
Yeah, so there's the guy in the NBA. There's the Mexican guy with the sitcom. I think Gary Coleman or the Webster kid may have gotten one. Then there's me. I think they got it right.

Also, I'm even more honored to be hit #12 of THIS google search, and don't think for one second I'm giving away my secrets.
"how to eat coochie"

I will say this, though. You're not the Tootsie Pop Owl. It's gonna take more than three licks and a crunch to get to where you're going

posted by othur-me @ 3:35 PM   15 comments
First Time For Everything (part 2)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

As my friends trotted off in the wrong direction (wrong in that we were supposed to look like we were going to the football game until after my parents' car was gone), I yelled over to them "Hey! This way! The ticket booth is over here!" None of them responded, or even flinched. They just kept going. My father was actually far enough out of sight and I realized my paranoid attempt at acting like were headed to watch the game was no longer necessary, so I skated after my friends.

It seemed that the finer details of the evening's plans were up in the air. No one in the group ever really considered where we were going. We were just skating aimlessly, burning off the prior few hours of teen angst and energy that had built up from the non-physical activities of watching TV and eating dinner (and since my sister had prepared the meal, watching dinner and eating TV was a real option). No one cared where we were going, just that the end result was us being drunk, having fun, maybe breaking something, and ultimately eating Stouffer's French Bread Pizza before passing out on Bill's floor for the evening.

We had to avoid the Ave.*, as my parents would likely be there or on one of its side streets having dinner. The rest of the group would probably want to hang out there as that would be the most likely place to run into some girls. I didn't have much experience with girls up to this point, but I was pretty sure there wasn't anything that was going to happen with any girls that night that was worth getting all of us in trouble over because my parents spotted us in front of Burger King at the end of the Ave. The others may have had grander visions of their romantic capabilities and where they may lead, so at any moment I may need to push them off the course which may get me in the most trouble.

The moment I felt collective momentum of our skateboards pulling us towards the Ave., I yelled out "So we gonna get drunk or what?" Those were the only words I thought may redraw their current intentions. The truth was, I wasn't that excited to get drunk. I knew this would be the biggest opportunity for parental defiance in my life so far but I was unsure whether I was ready to take it. However, the trepidation was being overpowered by an unshakable feeling of freedom. For every neural unit of fear my brain was pouring into my nerves, another part of my brain was cranking out double those units in anticipation and excitement. No way I was backing out and it seemed that at least Eric was ready too. He yelled out, "Yeah, let's find someplace to get fucked up!"

Everyone agreed and the group began to head away from the Ave in favor of a less public location to break out the Bacardi. Looking back, it seems we were all a bit inexperienced with finding good places to get bombed. We chose Mckinley Elemenetary School playground. The school was at a corner where two major roads met. Lots of cars drive by there and no one really stopped to think "the more cars that drive by, the more likely one of those cars would be a cop car." Logic, reasoning, and probability were things we would learn about in years to come, but not yet. There were also many houses nearby, and of course we would never conisder how loud we might be and that people would probably call the police. It's not like we were going to drink quietly like Bukowski in the corner of some dank bar somewhere. We were teenagers. We were going to drink, smoke, yell, laugh, make fun of each other, and loudly.

There we were on the blacktop where each day little kids eat lunch and play four-square, and at night it was dark and desolate, but it's funny that no matter how lightless a place is, you instantly feel very well lit and seeable when illegal acitivity begins. As soon as Eric pulled the Bacardi from his back pack and handed it to me to take a swig, I thought to myself "we probably shouldn't just stand out in the middle of the yard like this, we may want to conceal ourselves a little bit." I think everyone felt it at the same time.

Mike suggested we take cover in the jungle gym. You know the kind. The all in one playground set with thick wooden posts planted in a bark covered ground, steps to take you to the top, where you can make a choice from there. Down the slide, over the rope bridge, down the pole, or across the monkey bars to the crow's nest with the big metal ship's steering wheel. Under the pre-launch platform before you go down the slide, there seemed to be a enough space for the five of us to sit in the bark and safely drink our rum. The posts and cross-posts provided enough cover, especially in the dark, that even if people could hear us, they would have a hell of a time seeing us underneath the slide.

We all climbed in and got cozy. Eric had brought a couple cans of soda, but, without any cups, it would be beyond us to figure out how to mix the rum with the soda without wasting at least a half of a can, a valuable 25% of our mixer. As soon as we ran out of soda we'd be drinking it straight, and no one seemed interested in that. While four of us sat there rationalizing how to properly mix the two liquids while wasting as little of the coke as possible, Eric blurted out "The soda's not gonna get you drunk, you pussies!" then grabbed the bottle from Padrick, who was trying carefully to pour the Bacardi in a half drunken can of coke. Padrick screamed "YOU FUCKER!" as he wiped the spilled booze on his jeans. Eric took a huge gulp straight from the bottle, then handed it to me and in between his post swig coughs said "Here, you go."

*The Ave is the nickname for Burlingame Avenue. Burlingame, CA's version of Main Street, USA. When my parents were growing up it would have been where the drugstore, the dimestore, the soda fountain, the locksmith, the cobbler, the blacksmith, and the coopersmith would have all been. By the time I was a kid Burlingame grew into a farily wealthy community and the Ave. had become a 3 block long boutique extravaganza. Bridal shops, bakers, coffee houses, art shops, expensive restaurants. and trendy bars. By the time I was an adult the independently owned boutiqes had all turned into corporate stores with a boutique feel. By all women's standards and at first glance, it's a "cute little area with lots of great shops!", but closer examination of said shops would reveal the plague of our country that is Pottery Barn, Starbucks, TGIF, the Gap, and Baby Gap (separate store, same block).

posted by othur-me @ 5:12 PM   11 comments
A one-word review on the first two chapters of the book I'm reading.....
Saturday, November 11, 2006


This may be an unfair review, but I'm willing to let it stand.

The way I pick books to read is I walk around Borders and cruise around and let cover art, titles, and tag lines guide me to a book that looks interesting. Then I pick it up read inside jackets and back cover to see if it really might be something that would interest me. I carry it around with me and do the same thing with 10 other books. I then decide how many I can afford and start making some decisions of what to keep and what to put back on the shelf (usually any shelf closest to me and not the one I found it on).

The book I've been reading I picked up two weeks before my kidney transplant and only now started it. I usually hate to read about other people's revelations and lifestyle changes, but I was at my greatest point of fear and lowest point of depression over facing my kidney disease head on. I've been dealing with it I was 12, but up to this point I had no pain, no major procedures, no serious drugs to take, and a transplant had always been "that thing I'll have to deal with later in life". But it was now here to face and I was down about it and I thought reading books by other people who had ideas on better living with or despite their illness might make me feel better. Problem is....I never got a chance to read thebook, transplant came and went, life problem solved (for now), fear and depressions gone, and no real need to hear about someone else's life, illness, or death.

Flash forward 6 months, transplant sucessful, happy again, not interested in reading non-fiction better-living books, nothing else in my house to read, and not interested in a potentially expensive trip to the bookstore (why is it that every time I want something to read I forget that there are cool places on this earth that let you borrow books for free?), I pick up the only book I have and I really am willing to give it a chance. I mean, it did get pretty good reviews.

The book is about some rich NYC-major-acounting-firm-CEO who found out he had a disease that left him with only 3 months to live. He had decisions to make about how to best live the short time he had left, and decided that the organized, CEO, accountant, businessman side of him could plan it out perfectly. I've decided not to read further and find out how that worked out for him. Should I ever have 3 months to live, I doubt very seriously I would have enough money to follow the life/death plan of a Manhattan millionaire. I'm sure the book's not really about money or death plans, but more about emotions and facing fear of death and that crap, but I already have some firm ideas about that stuff and I'm not really intersted in hearing some blow hard that had his ego stroked (among other things) every day by his 20,000 employees show me how much smarter than me he is.

At one point in the first chapter, he was trying to explain how happy he was to be spending his last Fourth of July with his family in their Manhattan penthouse on their balcony watching the firewords over the East River. That does sound like a pretty good way to spend your last holiday on earth. Will your book tell me how to take the last three months of my life, parlay the $14 I have in my checking and the $250 I have in my savings (minimum balance to avoid charges) into enough money to buy me a penthouse over looking the East River? I'm thinking that in the last days of my life the only Penthouse I will possibly be able to afford will be one that has lots of pictures in it and can be purchased at any 7-11 convenient store across the country.

It's nice that you have that kind of luxury, but I think it likely there are more people in this world that will spend their last Fourth of July crying on their bathroom floor, holding their side and trying not to wake the neighbors in their low rent apartment building by screaming too loud, lying there dying while the water in the ramen cooking on their hot plate boils off and the noodles turns to rubber, because they can't afford health insurance.

So...can anyone recommend a good book? I'm more interested in fiction right now, but I'll consider a good piece of non-fiction.
posted by othur-me @ 1:46 PM   10 comments
First Time For Everything (part 1)
Friday, November 10, 2006

"You're sure you're not going anywhere after the game?" my father asked, as he dropped my friends and me off in front of the high school? Him and my mom were going out to dinner after they dropped us off, and afterwards likely enjoying the peace and quiet of having their 13 year old son spending the night at a friend's house. I wasn't a big "spend the night at friend's house" kid. I went out a lot for someone as young as I was, but I usually ended the evening at home in my own bed. Also, I had a sister so my parents got very little time to themselves at home, but she was out too.

I was much freer than most kids my age. My parents were pretty lenient about curfew and trusting about things like that. It would not be unheard of for me to stay out until one or two in the morning as long as I had a ride and my parents knew who I was with. My father almost never asked me too many questions about my plans. Usually it was just the basics and I was actually surprised to hear him ask that question as I was waiting anxiously to watch him drive off. It was almost as if he knew this was the night he couldn't trust me. As if he had read my mind when I asked him to let me spend the night at Bill's house with the rest of my friends.

The other four were already singing the chorus to the song "No sir, straight to Bill's house!", but I was hesitant to actually let the words fly out of my mouth because I was still young enough to hate lying to my parents and old enough to know that as an ex-Marine, my father could easily kick my ass for pissing him off. He had never hit me as a child, but as I got closer to adulthood I'd let myself believe he'd be willing to show me he could at any moment pummel me if he so chose. I've never actually had to find that out for sure, but as HE gets older I find myself thinking I could put up a good fight.

I had already lied earlier in the day after planning this evening with my skateboard buddies (I may have actually cringed and yelled "shut up" if someone had referred to my friends and me as "buddies" at the time, but I'm ok with using that term now, so I'll apply it here). I had almost told the whole truth about all of us spending the night at Bill's house, though I may have neglected to tell him the part about Bill's parents being out of town. If the entire truth of this Friday evening, and my plans to get drunk for the first time in my life, had later been revealed to my father, the next faslehood out of my mouth would not be the one I received the most punishment for. "No Dad, we're just going to Bill's house after the game."

The players: Eric, who also lied to his parents, and managed to get his older brother to buy us a bottle of Bacardi for the evening. Bill, his parents away, his mohawk donned, and Stouffer's Frozen French Bread Pizza's ready to go in the freezer for when we needed something to sop up the Bacardi in our stomachs later in the evening. Padrick, ditto on the parents lie, and ready with the one liners to keep us amused for the evening, he was the Chandler of our little group of punk rock Friends. Mike, his single mother also out of town, similar lie told but different in that he was supposed to be staying at my house because his Mom didn't know Bill and would have said no to the Flannel Shirt and Ripped Jeans Slumber Party, he felt like he had the most to risk because his mom was frequently heard saying "You little fuck, you're on restriction for six months!", a punishment unheard of from the rest of our parents. Then there was me, skateboard as my main vehicle for transportation, age 13 and never been drunk but willing to let my friends use the power of peer pressure to talk me into a new experience, though not much pressure needed to be applied.

The equipment: 5 skateboards, 5 packs of cloves, 1 back pack with bottle of Bacardi in it, and 3 boxes of NoDoze (nothing like 20 cups worth of caffeine to enhance your Bacardi buzz).

The mission: for 5 thirteen year old boys to skip the high school football game, consume 1 bottle of Bacardi and 3 packs of NoDoz, make it through the night without A) getting in trouble with our parents, B) getting sick, or C) getting arrested.

Plan in action when we return on Monday.

posted by othur-me @ 2:29 PM   12 comments
Cruelty To Animals
Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sure, it's always a funny gag to put undergarments on wild animals for the sake of comedy. And, yeah, it's even funnier when you're on a family vacation in Africa on safari, and the underwear is your sister's, and now all the natives think she's a whore for wearing a thong. And they think she's freak because they're zebra striped. And they think she's now going commando because they believe people in the rest of the world are like them and only own one pair of underwear. And you would be right to think it's even funnier when you don't tell her where they've been and just sneak them back in her suitcase and until next Thanksgiving when your dad wants to show your extended family his African vacation slide show. And your 2nd cousin Steve is there, you know the one, the one your sister had a crush on and made out with in the 5th grade. Yeah...all that stuff is funny.

But think of how the Rhino feels before it goes too far.

posted by othur-me @ 4:38 PM   10 comments
Ce monde n'est pas assez grand pour les tous les deux nous!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm not even really sure what I said in the title of this post, but I know it's not "Please lie down with me this evening."

I am a complete language dunce. It's either that or the California educational system failed me as a youth. Spanish classes over a four year period from Intermediate School to High School were unable to teach me much more than the ever so useful translations for "My name is Jerry", "I put the blue pen on the table", and "How old are you?" Additionally I was able to pick up a few phrases of my own. Growing up so close to Mexico one learns very quickly "Give me a beer", "Fuck your mother in the ass", and "If you talk to my sister again I will have your whole family sent back across the border." Fortunately, I've only needed to use the first of those three.

I actually know a little more than that, but four trips to Mexico and one trip to Spain has taught me that no one wants to speak to you one word per second in any language. When someone starts talking to me in Spanish, I'm still translating word two by the time they get to word 32. Then I'm like "Fuck it, una cervesa, por favor." If they're not a bartender, they usually just walk away angry or amused.

Here in blog world, I used to have fun clicking on the "NEXT BLOG" button. Because there are so many bloggers who blog in other languages, I would play a little game of "How many clicks will it take until I find one I can actually read?" Then I managed to find enough regluar reads in English so I could stop playing"find the next English blog" game and I prefer it that way.

Additionally, I'm addicted to my site meter stats. I, probably like all of you, love seeing how people find me, how often they come here, and where they're from. My favorite is to click on the world map and see where people are checking me out from. It's super cool to see how places all over THIS country people hit from, but it's always extra special when you see someone hit from somewhere else in the world. I've had a few South Americans, Malaysians, Philippians, and some guy from Yemen checked out my blog more than once.

Then I realized it sucks that I can't check out their blogs. Even if the site meter was able to give me a link....the fuck if I could read what I saw when I got there. Still I thought it was nice for them to visit. Until I saw this:

Look, Pierre, don't even bother. I know you're all better than me because you can speak both English and French, and because you can buy good champagne for cheap, and because you can cook snails, but this is my space. I don't need you coming here all Frenching things up around here. I know your kind. You're all thankful cause we saved your ass a couple wars ago, but see how that helps me when I'm traveling in Paris and I need your help finding the Eiffel Tower. Suddenly the only English you know is "I dunt spik inglish!" Dude, I see how you are.

But since you're here anyways.....props to the food and the women. They're both tasty, I'll give you that.
On a side note, I think its hilarious that the spell checker in blogger doesn't know the word blog.
posted by othur-me @ 4:39 PM   10 comments
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