Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hello again

Hey everybody!

I'm returning to the stage tomorrow, November 30th.

I had my heart surgery on September 28th (it was originally scheduled for September 25th but then got re-scheduled). Now after 2 months off work recovering, I am ready to resume my life,

Sure, life is different now in terms of my diet restrictions and the fact I will be exercising more - but that is probably a good thing anyway!

Come see at a show and watch me share my experiences with the surgery.

Hope to see you at a show!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Surgery Next Week

On August 31st, I had a consultation appointment with a surgeon at Kaiser in Santa Clara and the date has now been set for my Heart Valve Replacement surgery on Friday, September 25th.
The pre-op appointment is on Monday the 21st.

Again, I was born with a Bicuspid Aortic Valve and knew this surgery was something I would need all my life, it was just a matter of when. When is now next week.

So for the heart valve replacement, there are two options. One option is to go with a tissue valve (in this case, it'd be from a cow). The tissue valve currently has a life span of 10-15 years which means another valve replacement surgery in the future would be likely.

The second option is a mechanical valve. The mechanical valve should last for a lifetime but it is required you take Warfarin (blood thinner medication) for the rest of your life as well - to prevent blood clots from occurring.

I have decided I will be going with the mechanical valve option...because I only want to have this surgery once.

Once on the Warfarin medicine - I am to avoid large amounts of Vitamin K which includes the following items:

Brussel Sprouts
Other Leafy Vegetables
Green Tea

Out of these items, broccoli and spinach are the two I eat the most - but it should be easy to refrain from having large amounts of these items.

I've also been told that when you take Warfarin, that you bruise easier. So don't touch me.

The hospital stay will be somewhere between 5-7 days.
The overall recovery time is expected to be 6-8 weeks.

My last day (for a while) at work is tomorrow.

I'm going to be missing some events due to this operation which sucks... I will miss the A's-Giants game on September 25th that I actually had a ticket for already. I will miss the San Jose Sharks home opener game. I will miss numerous Oktoberfest events.  I'm not sure how much I will be able to do on my birthday either.

Missing those events will suck but I have to remember that this surgery will help me be able to attend many more events in the future.

The last show I performed in was on August 14th in Oakland. One thing my current condition does is make me tired quicker. I also seem to sweat quicker after not much exercise. I can't wait to get back on stage with my restored energy - but I also need to make sure I don't push myself too much and take my time in recovering.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Surgery Soon

At the end of July, I went to San Francisco to get an MRI as the second step to check on my current heart valve condition.

After a couple of weeks looking over the results from the MRI and the Treadmill Test, and then discussing it with her colleagues as well, my doctor said it would be best if I get the Heart Valve Replacement surgery done soon.

So the next step for me will be to meet with the surgeon and then a date will be set for the surgery itself.

I've been told that it would be a 5 night stay at the hospital and then about 2 months to recover.

The surgery should take place within a month or so from now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Stress Test

So I took this Stress Test (aka Treadmill Test) at Kaiser in San Jose on July 9th and that was interesting to say the least.

First of all, the co-pay was $70.00 so I don't know how that is supposed to reduce my stress.

I get in the room and they start hooking me up with the EKG devices to monitor my heart which was expected. They also put an IV in my left arm which I did not expect.

Now, I have never walked on a treadmill before this so it was a new experience to me in many ways. I begin walking then one of the assistants on my right side tells me to stick out my arm and keep my palm up. "Don't look at me" she says, as I try to do what she says while walking at the same time.

Then there is a doctor on my left hand side that keeps asking me questions. "Is this the normal pace you go when you go walking?" I'm a smartass with my response and say "well, the ground doesn't usually move when I go walking so I have no idea." But that was the truth... I had no idea if it was my usual walking pace.

Eventually, the test ends - although I am keeping pace fine, my blood pressure had dropped. It is supposed to go up, not down, when exercising. It basically proved what they already knew and that is that my heart valve is narrow...

My next step won't be on a treadmill but in San Francisco next week when I get an MRI. Then I will know whether or not I need surgery shortly afterwards. I'm not really scared (yet anyway)... but it is annoying to not know what the near future holds for me just yet.  I have booked a couple shows for August but have decided to hold off on booking anything else until I get a better idea of what will happen.

I plan on starting a podcast soon - not sure what to name it yet - but I figure it'll be something I can sometimes do while still in recovery at least.

I met a girl last month at the Redwood Comedy Festival in Humboldt County... I was so sure she was "the one" that I even went out of my way to go visit her 3 weeks later (after she said she liked the idea of me visiting too)... It was about a 6 hour drive. Then after I arrived and told her I was there, I never heard from her. I just don't get it... I somehow though got over it....willing to give it another chance.... I then attempted to visit her again recently when she was in SF (her idea), but when I get there she seemed to turn into a completely different person and acts like it was never her idea for me to come visit. That was the end of the line for me. Oh well, I took a chance and I will learn from it for sure. If two people like each other, it should NEVER be that much work.

Anyway, what's up ladies?

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Appointment...

So I went to the Kaiser in San Francisco today to meet up with a Cardiologist that was recommended to me by a past cardiologist that I trusted. Since the past cardiologist isn't with Kaiser, he recommended that I go to the SF office.

So all my life I've known at some point in my life that I would need surgery to replace a valve. I have what is called a "Bicuspid Aortic Valve" - it has something that has been monitored all my life and the question has always been "When will I need the surgery?"

My doctor today is going to do a few more studies and talking with colleagues before we come up with a plan on how to proceed.

Within the next two weeks, I will need to get an MRI to see how bad of a leak my valve might have. I will also be taking an exercise test.

If the results of the MRI show the leak not be that bad then it is possible that I may not need surgery right away. However, the valve is quite narrowed which makes the heart's job of pumping blood to the rest of my body much tougher. So if surgery isn't needed right away, then the other option would be a catheder. The catheder would then be inserted thru my groin (ouch) and then with the catheder they would then open of the narrow valve. Now, the catheder method won't prevent me from ever needing surgery but it could delay the surgery about 10 years if successful. That would be nice. The catheder method would be an overnight stay whereas surgery would be 5 nights.

In the meantime, I am to avoid fast food and red meats and keep exercising as much as possible... as it can only help.

Assuming I don't need surgery anytime soon, you can catch me performing at these places soon...

June 30th - Spice N Ice - Gilroy, CA - 8pm

July 9th - Blue Lagoon - Santa Cruz, CA - 8:30pm

July 15th - San Jose Improv - San Jose, CA - 8pm

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Talking Redwood Comedy Festival and more...

On Friday, June 13th, I left home at 7:30am for Fortuna, CA and my buddy Brian went along to keep me company. Fortuna was holding the 2nd Annual Redwood Comedy Festival which took place June 13th and 14th. I was fortunate enough to participate the first year of the festival and was glad to be invited back for a second time.

I arrived in Fortuna around 1:30pm and grabbed some lunch. I was so hungry that I couldn't wait for the planned dinner for comedians later in the afternoon. After lunch, I went to check into the hotel that they booked for me. The hotel had two beds. If it didn't, then Brian probably wouldn't have tagged along. 

At 3pm, I went to the River Lodge Conference center to check-in with the other comedians and go through the details of what would happen with the Event Organizer. I then ended up finding myself sticking around for dinner and eating again. Free Lasagna!! How do I say no?! I'm actually glad I stuck around for dinner as I ended up sitting at a table full of comedians mostly from Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.. There was Billy Anderson, Anica Cihla, Bri Pruett, and Nariko Ott to name a few,  I didn't talk too much at the table but just listened to the conversations that they were having. The main conversation that Billy brought up was if there was a funnier dog breed name than "Malamute." It seemed that everyone agreed that there wasn't a funnier name as "Shitzu" was just an easy way for people to make a joke. 

On Friday night, there were 6 different venues and 8 comedians performed at each of them. I performed at the Funky Monkey, which I had heard was like an adult Chuck E. Cheese. I was splitting the Hosting duties for the night with Mitch Mitchell, who is from Seattle.  Also performing at the Funky Monkey on Friday night were Joe Taylor, Ruby Gill, Josh Barnes, Chris Mejia, Danny Minch, and Krista Fatka.

The staff at Funky Monkey were really nice and they definitely made sure the comedians were getting enough to drink! We ended up performing two different shows, One was scheduled for 8pm-10pm then another for 10:30pm-12:30pm. The idea was that the audience members could take the shuttles to the 5 other venues during the half-hour break. 

Mitch Mitchell was the Host for the first part of the first show then I took over for her halfway thru. Overall, I feel that everyone did solid in the first show and we had a pretty decent crowd. The set-up was a little funky (ha) and there wasn't even a mic stand until Danny Minch stepped up and brought in one of his own.
A monkey on the wall inside Funky Monkey

Then it was time for the second show which I had the pleasure of Hosting for the first half. I was getting pretty drunk by this point and struggled thru some jokes - mostly different jokes than I did in the first half though. There weren't many people at our show at this point though. There were maybe 4 to 5 non-comedians in the audience total. I was excited when it was time to bring Mitch back up to host the second half of the show. Mitch was drunk just like me by this point. She eventually would take a slice of pizza from one of the audience member's tables. We ended the 2nd show early at midnight and a lot of us just hung out for a while. I ended up buying a Bacon Cheeseburger as I needed to eat something. 

Around 1 in the morning, Brian and I head back to our hotel which luckily was only one parking lot away from The Funky Monkey. 

Then around 2:30am as I'm sleeping in my bed, I hear a knock on the door. I turn over to see if Brian heard it too. He didn't wake up so I just assumed it was someone knocking on the wrong hotel door. Then the room phone rang. What the hell?! I say "Brian?! Brian?! Wake up." He doesn't wake up. Then shortly after again there is knocking on the door. So I finally have had enough and I get up to open the door very slowly. It is fuckin' Brian. "Dude, it's me," he says. Then he runs inside. Oh, and he is wearing nothing but his boxers!! I'm like "when the hell did you go outside?" He said, "I don't know." Apparently a security guard found him standing in his boxers by a vending machine. Brian tells me later that the security guard probably found him peeing there too. I'm still not sure how he ended up outside. He didn't seem more drunk than me... he started to think maybe he got roofied when at a different venue but we'll never really know. 

Surprisingly, I wake up Saturday with only a little headache. After some morning Starbucks then the headache is gone. Brian and I check out Downtown Fortuna a bit and also catch a movie at the old Fortuna Theater. 

At 4pm, it was time to check in for the big Saturday night show at the River Lodge Conference Center. We then had a Pizza Dinner at 5pm and again I sat with the Seattle and Portland comedians. They were probably wondering "Why the hell does this guy keep sitting with us?" We look over the evening's schedule and we know we are in for a long night.

The actual comedy show started at 8pm and it was supposed to end around 12:30am....but it did not.  I went on around 11:00pm. Dave Bressoud had an amazing set. I also thought Mitch Mitchell did a great job too. In fact, she is probably my favorite new (to me) comic that I met. Her set reminded me a bit of Maria Bamford in terms of style- and I don't think that is a bad thing at all. I tried to stay thru the entire show but I got so tired that I left before the last two comedians of the night performed. I'm sorry I didn't stay to watch you two. 

I slept better on Saturday night and had no weird people knocking on the door. After some Sunday morning Starbucks, it was back to San Jose for me (or Portland if that's where I'm from). 

In other news, on Monday the 22nd, I am going to Kaiser Permanente in SF to see a Heart Doctor for a 2nd opinion. So not long after Monday I should know whether I will need valve replacement surgery soon or not. Again, this is something I've known I'd need at some point in my life, it is just a matter of when. The operation would have me in the hospital for about 5 days and the recovery time would be 2 months. On the plus side, that would be a lot of down time for writing material. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Major League Baseball Predictions

The 2015 Major League Baseball season gets underway on Sunday Night, April 5th with a match-up between the division rival Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Not only does the new season bring a fresh start for every team but this year it also happens to mark the first season for a new commissioner, Rob Manfred. Manfred has already been vocal about new rules he'd like to see implemented. Some of these rules will take effect in 2015 and some will never get put into play. Manfred brought up the notion that not allowing defensive shifts by players might allow for more offense. This idea was completely shot down by many. Why reward a batter for being one-dimensional and punish other teams for employing strategy? This rule will not be taking effect. Manfred also wanted to see the overall pace of baseball games go quicker. Some pace of game rules will be going into effect in 2015 and if you're interested in reading up on them, this is a good article.

Rob Manfred

In 2015, Manfred is worried about the pace in between innings and maybe in 2016, he'll worry about the space in between his teeth. After all, you want this game to appeal to younger children, right? Well, you look a little creepy

With all that being said, here are my 2015 Major League Baseball predictions for the standing will finish in the AL West, AL Central, AL East, NL West, NL Central and NL East. I will also make predictions for major end of the season awards. 

American League West 
Los Angeles Angels  (95-67)
Oakland Athletics (90-72)*
Seattle Mariners (89-73)
Texas Rangers (80-82)
Houston Astros (77-85)

The American League West looks a lot different than it did in 2014, most notably the Oakland Athletics who traded 6 of their 7 All-Stars since last summer. While they lost a lot in star power, they gained a lot in young prospects. Manager Bob Melvin should be able to pull the right strings together with the new group of players he has to still contend for a Wild-Card spot. Even though Spring Training games don't count, the Athletics have made a good showing. Sonny Gray has proven himself as the ace of the Oakland A's staff. Garrett Richards of the Angels suffered a horrible injury and it was a huge blow to their team last year. While outfielder Josh Hamilton's immediate future may be in double due to reoccurring drug abuse problems, having Richards back will only help the Angels. In Seattle, they added 2014 AL Home Run Champ, Nelson Cruz, which will help give Robinson Cano protection. They still lack a bit in pitching depth and Fernando Rodney may shoot less arrows in the sky this season. The Texas Rangers are coming back after a lot of injuries in 2014 and that is not an understatement. However, their best starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, has already been ruled out for the 2015 season after having Tommy John surgery. The Houston Astros will improve in 2015 but it will not be enough. AJ Hinch will not last as a manager long for Houston as he never should have been hired in the first place. Jose Altuve will continue to rack up his hits. 

American League Central
Chicago White Sox  (89-73)
Detroit Tigers (88-74)
Kansas City Royals (84-78)
Cleveland Indians (81-81)
Minnesota Twins (76-86)

The American League Central title should come down to a race between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Detroit Tigers might have the best offense in all of baseball with the addition of Yoenis Cespedes. However, they also lost two key starting pitchers in Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. The White Sox seemed to only add players to their squad including their new closer who departed the Bronx for the Windy City, David Robertson. Kansas City had a great run last year and almost found themselves winning the World Series. With the improvements in the AL Central this season, a repeat performance is going to be tough. The key player in a return them to the playoffs will be Yordano Ventura, who will take over as the Royals' ace.  Nobody seemed to know who Corey Kluber of the Indians was until he won the 2014 AL Cy Young Award. Now that people know his name, can he have a similar season to his breakout 2014? The Minnesota Twins got rid of longtime manager, Ron Gardenhire, but replaced him a familiar face in Paul Molitor. Molitor needs Joe Mauer to regain his stroke and remain healthy all season to have any thoughts about competing in 2015. 

American League East
Baltimore Orioles  (94-68)
Boston Red Sox (92-70)*
Toronto Blue Jays (86-76)
Tampa Bay Rays (80-82)
New York Yankees (78-84)

The Baltimore Orioles should be able to capture the AL East title again. Even though they lost star players like Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, they also won the AL East last season with Manny Machado out for a majority of time, Chris Davis suspended, and Matt Wieters hurt. If these three guys can come back strong then so should Baltimore. The Boston Red Sox won't make repeating easy though as they look to go from worst-to-first yet again. It will be interesting to see how Pablo Sandoval does with his new team after winning three World Series rings with San Francisco. The Blue Jays are right up there with the Detroit Tigers in terms of dangerous lineups. The addition of Josh Donaldson after a trade with Athletics, makes their lineup even more dangerous especially in a hitter's ballpark. A lot could end up riding on two rookie pitchers, Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez, for the Blue Jays to make the postseason. Tampa Bay and New York will battle it out for last place in the AL East as weird as it may seem. The Yankees have a lot of pitching questions and the Tampa Bay Rays have a new GM and Manager. Didi Gregorius has huge shoes to fill for the captain in New York but at least he isn't 40 years old.  Tampa Bay needs Matt Moore to regain his 2013 form after missing most of 2014.

National League West
Los Angeles Dodgers  (96-66)
San Francisco Giants (87-75)*
San Diego Padres (84-78)
Arizona Diamondbacks (72-90)
Colorado Rockies (70-92)

The San Diego Padres were the noisemakers of the NL West  during the offseason as they acquired Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris in trades to help bolster their lineup. They later signed James Shields to anchor their pitching staff. Although they didn't make any huge offseason moves, the San Francisco Giants look to improve with the return of a healthy Matt Cain in their rotation. Health will be the key for the Giants as they look to repeat as champs. The Diamondbacks have a new GM in Dave Stewart and Manager in Chip Hale. Their first full season should prove to be quite the test. One player on the Diamondbacks to keep an eye on is centerfielder, Ender Inciarte, who impressed as a rookie last season. The Colorado Rockies success depends much on the success of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Can these two stay healthy? Even if they do, I'm not sure if the Rockies have enough pitching.  The Dodgers should repeat as the NL West Champs but it won't do them any good if Don Mattingly cannot properly manage a  game when it comes time for the playoffs.

National League Central
St. Louis Cardinals  (90-72)
Pittsburgh Pirates (85-77)
Chicago Cubs (83-79)
Cincinnati Reds (75-87)
Milwaukee Brewers (73-89)

The Chicago Cubs aren't going to finish in last place! As much as I would like to see the Cubs make the playoffs in 2015, I think they are still a year away. My apologies to the Back to the Future movie fans. The Cubs definitely improved during the offseason though. They landed a good starting pitcher in Jon Lester as he reunites with team President, Theo Epstein, in the Windy City. The player with the best 2015 Spring Training, Kris Bryant, will start the season in the minors due to some stupid rule where they can avoid having him become a free agent sooner than they want by keeping him in the minors for a few weeks. It won't be long until he gets called up though and should be the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. The Central is still the Cardinals division to win. Even if Adam Wainwright isn't 100% healthy, they have a good pitching staff. The Pirates will continue to play well but need A.J. Burnett to be the same pitcher he was when he last played for the Pirates and not the pitcher he was last season with the Phillies. The Reds traded away two of their top starting pitchers and while their offense is great, they can't have Johnny Cueto pitch everyday. The Brewers could very well surprise and finish in first place instead of last place. I don't expect Jonathan Lucroy to have the same type of season as last year though.

National League East
Washington Nationals (95-67)
Miami Marlins (87-75)*
Atlanta Braves (80-82)
New York Mets (76-86)
Philadelphia Phillies (66-96)

The Washington Nationals already had an amazing starting rotation and then they went out and spent a lot of money to bring Max Scherzer into the fold. The Miami Marlins have a good young core of talent in guys like Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton. If Jose Fernandez can rebound nicely from Tommy John surgery last year then they should compete for a Wild-Card spot.  The Atlanta Braves lost some key members of their team and while they got a nice pitcher in Shelby Miller from the Cardinals it won't be enough.  The New York Mets have one guy returning from Tommy John surgery in Matt Harvey and another guy who will miss the season due to the same surgery in Zack Wheeler. The Philadelphia Phillies will likely be the worst team in all of Major League Baseball in 2015. They lost guys like Jimmy Rollins (to the Dodgers) and Cliff Lee (to injury). The guys that they do have still are old. Their star pitcher, Cole Hamels, will most likely be traded by the July 31st trade deadline. 

Wild Card Games:
Boston Red Sox defeat Oakland Athletics (hope I'm wrong to pick against my team)
San Francisco Giants defeat Miami Marlins 

Division Series:
Baltimore Orioles defeat Chicago White Sox (3-2)
Boston Red Sox defeat Los Angeles Angels (3-1)
Los Angeles Dodgers defeat San Francisco Giants (3-1)
Washington Nationals defeat St. Louis Cardinals (3-2)

Championship Series:
Baltimore Orioles defeat Boston Red Sox (4-3)
Washington Nationals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2)

World Series:
Washington Nationals defeat Baltimore Orioles (4-1)

AL MVP:  Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels 
NL MVP:  Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
AL CY YOUNG:  Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles 
NL CY YOUNG:  Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers 
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kris Bryant , Chicago Cubs 
AL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Derek Holland, Texas Rangers 
NL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds 
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Bob Melvin, Oakland A's 
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Mike Redmond, Miami Marlins