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Thread: Well I'm Back. Again.

  1. #1
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere

    Well I'm Back. Again.

    So many things are a blur. I've posted all kinds of stupid crap in my time here, and probably posted this same stuff I'm about to retread here, but I've kind of been poking around in the forums again and playing Thief again (Google it, kids) which has resulted in more than a few questions about my whereabouts and goings on. I think most of you knew I wasn't dead but I honestly don't know if I ever managed to make it over here to say so. I feel funny creating a whole thread about myself, but it's easier than rehashing a dozen times in various places. This may appear to wander a bit, but I'll keep it relevant. It's not short. I actually wrote a book.

    * 1998 - diagnosed with a genetic heart mutation (previously unknown to me or my family) that resulted in very aggressive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Was told I would die in six months. Lost everything. Naturally, I started writing Thief walkthroughs on my now defunct Thief site the Keeper Chapel.

    * Late 1999 contacted by Dan Todd about bringing the walkthroughs under the TTLG umbrella, discovered this community, DromEd, etc.

    * 2000 - disease plateaus (no one knows why it does this) for about 10 years. In the meantime, I become the pastor of Calvary Chapel near Little Rock, AR where I lived at the time. Lots of feeding and housing people, addiction recovery, and arguing with atheists on here until I (and they) were banned. Many. Many. Times.
    LGS closes and a bunch of we idiots decided to make Thief 3, which eventually became T2X. It was supposed to take about a year.

    *2005 - The one year is finally over and T2X releases. I literally speak with most members of the team on a weekly basis as of 2021. Wow.

    *2006 - left ministry, left organized religion, mostly due to conversations and relationships here, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Peart. Moved to the Ozarks where my wife became a nurse. I think this is about the time I wrote the T1 and 2 spoofs in Thief Gen (??)

    *2010 - disease progresses again, requiring heart transplant. W.T.A.F. So bizarre to need transplant for HCM no center in the mid-south even knows how to list me. Decide to move to New England/Boston where they do. No jobs available for a new nurse there. So wife hires on with travel nursing company and we take 3 month contracts within listing distance of Tufts in Boston. Belongings go into storage. We start homeschooling the 2 boys, and move 6 times every three months until July 2013.

    *2013 - settle in Springfield Mass, near Boston, but after a few months are forced to find another program due to organ shortage and soaring patient need, plus my rate of deterioration. We relocate to Hershey, PA for treatment and transplant listing again. I spend 2 out of every 8 weeks living on the iCU with a swans cath in my neck to accumulate time. It's not needed - but its necessary to check the boxes that keep me eligible for transplant. These admissions continue for about 2.5 years.

    *2015 - Liver and kidneys start to fail due to lack of profusion (from the failing heart). Luckily, Penn State is one of 3 places in the country to have a total artificial heart program (TAH), which is exactly what it sounds like. TTLG raises a shit-ton of money to help pay for the surgery and other expenses. It's implanted in August and I go home after six weeks with a totally synthetic heart, powered by a pump I carry in a backpack.

    *2016 - After 4 months at home, in January, I go to the ER in an ambulance after a battle with vertigo and end up staying for 5 months until I receive a donor heart in May. By July I'm the only survivor of 6 patients who were implanted with the TAH within the same time frame 9 months earlier. All friends. Some didn't make it to transplant, others did and died from complications and infections, or rejection.

    *2016-2019 - 4 instances of rejection, one acute, requiring massive doses of steroids. 3 months isolation in 2017 due to CMV in the donor heart. Obsessive involvement with Gift of Life and donor advocacy, volunteer work with a gaming group that works in hospitals and children's groups. Consequently contracted debilitating case of shingles in 2018 resulting in massive nerve damage in right leg. Also got back to playing music.

    *2020 - Covid, and a relocation to CA- my wife started travel nursing again, working Covid units in the Bay Area. Possibly going to stay since our kids are looking at art schools on the coast.

    *2021 - Finally got back to playing some FM's that I've had on a list since 2005. Nostalgia. Stupid Trump crap in the Nuthaus. Really effing hating FB. Here I am.
    Last edited by fett; 21st Mar 2021 at 21:50.

  2. #2
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Keep rolling those sixes.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    You really did a lot in those years in spite of your hardships. I always wonder WTF happened to folks. It's good to have you back.

    I didn't do shit but have fun.

    I'm not sorry about it though.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Wow. Glad you're still with us! I'm sorry our modern cyberhearts are kinda shite instead of giving you super powers. At least it kept you breathing for a few months until you could get a transplant?

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere
    Yeah, it was honestly the best I've ever felt, but with this weird implant in my chest. The two things that made it really hard:

    1) Someone had to be with me 100% of the time. If the pump malfunctioned, someone - who was trained on how to get the backup pump functioning and switch me over - had to be there because I'd most likely be "dead" atm. So a bunch of friends and my immediate family went through a 10 hour training over the course of a week to demonstrate that they could handle it. My boys were 9 and 13 at the time and legally not allowed to be that person. So every place my wife went, except work, I had to go. I couldn't drive obviously, so 3, hour-long round trips to the hospital every week to check INR (blood coagulation) because if it's off even a tad, they're admitting you. It can gum up the device. She worked nights, so friends had to stay over 3-4 nights a week. That got old fast. Worst moment of this is when the kids convinced us that if something went wrong while a friend was there, they were going to be on the hook anyway because they were more familiar with the pump day in/day out. They were right - we were just using friends to buffer them in a worst case scenario. So we ended up just keeping people on call and the boys were literally responsible for my life for 12 hours, 3-4 times a week for a few months. When I had my bad episode of vertigo, Rich, 14 by then, rode in the ambulance because the EMT's didn't even know what the hell I was - he had to educate them during the ride to keep them from killing me.

    *footnote to this - one of the people I lost along the way was a 19 kid named Perry who had this implant about 9 months before I did. He was home with just his little sister (shouldn't have been) and the pump just died. Understand - this means the device stops beating inside your chest. No blood is circulating through your body - immediately. This badass jumps up, grabs the backup pump, plugs it into the wall to start it, then cuts grabs a his pocketknife and cuts to zip-ties that secure the pump tubes to the device tubes, detaches the dead pump, attaches the tubes from the backup pump, bada-bing, bada-boom, goes back to watching wrestling or whatever. You have to do this in like 30 seconds or you're definitely going to pass out and be brain dead quick. Badass.

    2) The tubes exit the abdomen just below the rib cage on the left, and attached with synthflesh (an actual Thing), then double bandaged with this massive occlusion dressing. I got pretty used to these things hanging out of my abdomen, and lugging the pump around, charging the batteries, etc. But the dressing had to be changed and the area cleaned once a week. They use this stuff called Chlorohexidine which is Latin for "Satan's Piss." I steeled myself for it every week but still ended up moaning and sometimes crying, and the nurses and my wife cried every time they did it. Same for the PICC line dressing on the underside of my arm.

    Tocky - I really did. Between 2013-2016 I finished and self-published two novels (after being courted and dumped by about 6 agents and a few publishers), wrote, recorded, and released two power pop albums (recorded the second one almost entirely during hospital stays), and was making notes and writing songs for the autobiographical book/double-length concept album about the whole experience. Needed something to keep me busy and I figure creative output's the best thing to leave behind. I can't sit still, even when I'm dying, haha.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Hi fett! I don't know you all that well despite being here for twenty years. I can't even imagine what you've been going through really, but I thank you for sharing this with us. You are pretty awesome and I tip my imaginary hat to you.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    How's your heart these days?

  8. #8
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere
    Really good, actually. There's just a trade off - I have other smaller health issues that resulted beyond the general immune-supression. Tangled with diabetes, CMV, shingles, neuropathy, etc. but I'm not in fanger of dying from any of those at least. I just always mention them to disabuse people of the common notion that transplants fix literally everything. I wish a
    I could be more active -Covid is pretty much a replay for me - isolate, don't get sick, little to no social life, certainly no playing live. But I guess everyone's going through that atm. Misery loves company....

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I'm very glad to hear it

  10. #10
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    fettums

    <3

  11. #11
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Good to see you're still kicking. You still mad about Kanye?

  12. #12
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere
    I've never been mad about Kanye. I'm laughing hysterically at anyone who maintains the fiction that he's a genius. And he's now a Trump fan to boot. Smoke, mirrors, and naked emperors.

    Duckeh!

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    Misery loves company....
    But you caaaaaaan't have it! We'll just have to do until the real thing comes along.

    So glad you are still here and still here, fett.

  14. #14
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Quote Originally Posted by fett View Post
    I've never been mad about Kanye. I'm laughing hysterically at anyone who maintains the fiction that he's a genius. And he's now a Trump fan to boot. Smoke, mirrors, and naked emperors.
    So that's a "yes." Cool, cool. Hang in there.

  15. #15
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere
    Ha! It's amusing that anyone thinks I care much about the guy. It's like his buddy Trump. He's a symptom more than the problem. I said he'd be irrelevant on 10 years. He's almost there.

  16. #16
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    I mean, you did post about him on the regular for quite some time.
    Last edited by june gloom; 24th Mar 2021 at 14:19.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    I devised and then suppressed a half-dozen heart-related puns.

    While we've rarely interacted, I'm glad you've dodged the scythe yet again, Fett.

  18. #18
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere
    Honestly a lot of that was the steroids at the time and my own frustration with not being able to get out and play. I'm also close with a lot of really talented people who struggle a lot to be noticed at all and have been (IMO) more influential in their genres than he has in his, and can certainly perform at a level that makes a lot of pop music look like the elementary school talent show. There's a very complex and far-reaching discussion going on among "old school" musicians (and I don't mean age, I mean sensibility) about the role of programming, the advent of EDM, etc. simplification of lyrics, lip-syncing and so on lately. It's not like pop music hasn't been built on a lot this stuff for a long time but the more organic side of things was still commercially viable which hasn't been the case for about 10 years. There's plenty of blame to go around for that, none of which is Kanye's - he just leans hard into that non-organic side. I don't even think one is superior to the other - I listen to both, quite a lot actually. But the disconnect between the two is making both boring as hell, pushing most of the stuff I personally enjoy very deep down into the indie black hole of the web, generating less income and support, which in turn makes it harder to tour and produce more content. Kanye was just a glaring link in that chain when he kept coming up here. Now we I could cast Cardi B. in that role, 30 years ago New Kids, 20 years ago.... i don't know, Aphex Twins? Prodigy? There was more diversity up until about 2010 so maybe I wouldn't even have despaired about it. It's problematic because pointing it out automatically labels you as the old guy who hates new music, and I don't (even though I'm the old guy). It's apples and oranges but for the last 10 years, mostly apples and no oranges, if that makes sense. You'd think with the web, there would be more room for variety, but streaming services have made it harder for the oranges to grow and keep producing, while at the same time making them easier to discover and giving them more opportunity be heard, which was really tough 30 years ago. Pros and cons. I hear new stuff all the time that blows my mind but I'd say about 80% of it is sequenced, snapped, optimized, tuned with melodyne, sampled, and programmed, rather than played, which is where about 80% of my interest lies. Kayne happened to be the best example of this not many years ago, and IMO much lesser deserving of the notoriety than others. But I digress....

    P.s. Bitching about him also irritated Stitch and RBJ which would have been worth it even if I loved Kanye.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: In my room
    I have another theory about the current hibernation of rock'n'roll: One of its main strengths is transporting a feeling and if there's anything that the younger generation despises more than boomers it's their emotional manipulation.

    Rock'n'roll is regarded as the emotional cushion that boomers put between themselves and their well meant ideals on one side and the world of crass capitalism and exploitation of natural and human resources on the other.
    And you have to admit this isn't completely wrong. It's easy to imagine daddy singing along to Street Fighting Man while driving his SUV to his well paid job at a soulless corporation. What would you think as a kid witnessing this cognitive dissonance?

    Compared to that hip hop is way more cerebral and narrative (when it isn't posing material wealth and misogynistic crap). It's good at transporting a message but less capable of emotional manipulation.
    But this is also why I called it rock'n'roll's hibernation: At some point this will become hip hop's weakness and rock's strength again, when this generation has settled down a bit - or maybe their children!

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    As a guitar teacher with students ranging from 5-50, I can say that rock isnt dead at all. What is the most common band I teach to high school students? Nirvana, so there are plenty of kids getting into music that has meaning and punch. Also you might be suprised how many students I have with good musical taste that inherited it from their parents.
    Basically all of us here at TTLG are way too old to have any understanding how rock/pop music works with the audience it was always intended for, young people.

    excuse me while I go yell at some clouds

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    That's fine and everything, but I'd like to hear some theories on why skiffle and ragtime aren't popular anymore.

    Also welcome back Fett! And congrats on getting out of Pennsyltucky.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: In my room
    PigLick, I'm just going by what's popular in the music mags, on content distribution platforms and what the kids listen to in the streets (and in the park in front of my fucking window at 2 in the morning!!). And that's not rock.

  23. #23
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Rock is dead and good riddance.

    I'm being facetious, but there is a serious dearth of creativity in rock music that has persisted for some time. Oh, sure, every ten years or so it changes, but then it does the same thing over and over for the next ten years. It really makes the rockism that a lot of certain older and/or more hidebound rock fans engage in just that much funnier -- and more blatantly racist.

    I only listen to ten kinds of music: jazz, vaporwave, and Ulver. I'm over guitar-oriented music in general.

  24. #24
    Moderator
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Everywhere
    I pretty much agree with what Kolya said, though he articulated it better than I can. It's a weird thing for me because I have no aptitude for hip-hop, despite preferring it over most rock/guitar music of late, yet the guitar/drums/bass - the "rock" thing is my main framework for self-expression. It's also part of the reason I loathe most of what's being produced right now. The only choice seems to be going backward to more honest artists - which only reinforces the narrative that I don't like new music simply because it's new.

    But PigLick is right- most younger people (my kids included) gravitate toward stuff like Zeppelin, Hendrix, Metallica, Alter Bridge, etc. I still find stuff that appeals to me from time to time but it takes more digging than I have energy for. I get why its easier to just listen to Top 40 XM or whatever and turn your brain off sometimes because I do it too. Transatlantic just released an album that consists soley of a 90 minute song. I love that band but I just don't have the energy.

    I'm old guys.

  25. #25
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Where is the 80s muzak samples and guest Soundcloud rappers, is what I want to know.

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