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My name is Bean and this is my blog. Hence the name. If you have comments or questions, just leave them in the comments area.
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Interview: Fooie
Posted February 12, 2008 at 11:03:27 AM by Bean in the Interviews category
Fooie McGoo runs Mindsquirt. He used to live in good ole New Albany, but now inhabits Batesville or Lawrenceburg or some such nonsense.
Q:
You are interviewee number five. You are, however, the first one to actually ASK to be interviewed. So what gives? Do you have something grand to say?

A:
I actually didn't think you would say yes. I thought the interviews were reserved for family members and the like. You are a good person.The other issue is that things just slowed down at work, so this should be a good way for me to earn my well-deserved salary. I really have a lot of time on my hands. For instance, it is almost 10:00 and the only thing productive I have done so far is eat an orange and partially answered this question.I don't anything grand to say upfront. I have always wanted to be interviewed though. I have noticed that most celebrity interviews are pretty unentertaining. I always think "My interview would be much better than that". I doubt anyone would read them at all if they weren't in a movie or what-have-you. Maybe we should pretend for the rest of this interview that I starred in a movie. It is called "Jerry and Robby the Friendly Robot" which is a movie about a lonely boy who built a robot to be his friend. I think I was the unsuccessful inventor in that movie, who was jealous because of my inability to create a robot friend for myself for 15 years since my childhood, and I conspired to destroy the robot. Eventually I was inspired by the love between the boy and the robot, and decided to stop using my forces for evil. It was a very heartwarming movie. I also had a sinister mustache.

Q:
What properties do you look for in a good orange?

A:
I'd say I look for a perky and bright peel. When I taste the inside, it should taste like an orange would taste.I tried eating an orange like an apple once when I was a kid to see if it would work. It wasn't long before I realized it was a mistake for all concerned. I also used to eat the core of apples. I was real show-off.These days I tend not to eat oranges that much because I have a hard time peeling them. I'll eat oranges more just as soon as they develop an orange you can open like a bag of chips.This time I started peeling the orange with a disposable scalpel that I stole from a surgery suite across the hall. They do surgeries over there to instruct medical students how to place arterial stints and do angioplasties on filthy swine. By stealing the scalpel I might have saved a piggie's life! See, there IS hope after all.

Q:
What properties do you look for in a good pig?

A:
It should taste like bacon. Every portion of the pig should taste like bacon. If I went over and bit a live pig on the rump, it should be as though I just put a delectable piece of bacon in my mouth.

Q:
I concur. You are quite the wood-worker. Where did you pick up these skills and what do you have planned next?

A:
Thanks for noticing! I enjoy it quite a bit for a lot of reasons.I used my dad's shop and he really has a lot of great tools, which makes it easier. Any skills I have with woodworking tools are overshadowed by my ability to hurt myself with them.I picked up those skills from my dad, brother, and taught myself a lot. My dad learned carpentry and home-building at a young age from his dad and uncle and taught all of his kids the same way. My brother is 10 years older than me, so he had been there first and helped me come along. Dad always had a commercial rental building or a piece of land to develop for us to learn on. He would drag the whole family along and I was the youngest, so I bet I was helping in some capacity as young as 7 or so, although I don't remember.You could say that furniture building is just a refined extension of building houses. I mean, once you have some general skills in making wood fit together, and know how to use certain tools, it is easy to extend that from wall building to making a fetching dresser.I don't know about making any new projects. If I could think of a good one I would. I recently made a cheap toy box for my daughter but I haven't painted it yet. It was nice because it only took 6 hours or so. I don't have the time for much more than small projects like that these days, which is too bad, because my dad has some beautiful walnut that is ripe for the plucking.I might make an entertainment center some day soon, but that may hinge upon our next TV purchase and where we move next. Also bookshelves. I can't have enough of those. I hate getting rid of books and we have reached critical mass on our books. Maybe I could somehow make shelves out of books by dipping the books in resin and creating a composite! sweet!

Q:
One final question: Who should I interview next?

A:
You need someone compelling. Maybe someone of historical importance...George Washington, I think. He freed the slaves, you know.Or a B-list celeb. How about Webster? I have seen him on the Surreal Life and he is wacky. That show should have been named Wackster.Thanks for the interview. A good time was had by all. I won't be overtly hurt if this interview never makes it to your blog. However, I will secretly be contemptuous of you and passive-aggressively retaliate over the course of many years. I am still paying back brad for never returning my socks by not flushing when I go to his house.
[Note: This interview was originally conducted on 2007-02-28]
Interview: Steve from The Sneeze
Posted March 19, 2007 at 03:25:50 PM by Bean in the Interviews category
Now, for the first time ever, a Beanblog interview featuring someone that is neither my relative nor my friend (not that I dislike the guy - I just don't know him): Steve from The Sneeze!
Q: Your site, The Sneeze, sure is funny. I read it whenever it's new. How long have you maintained thesneeze.com and what led to it's initial creation?

A: The Sneeze began on June 28th, 2003. I started it because I was just looking for a creative outlet. I used to have a similar site I started with some friends way back in 1996. The difference then was I had to do all the HTML by hand and I hated it. The designing and coding of the site was taking me longer than the writing of it. And writing it was the only part I was really interested in. A few years ago things like Blogger and Movable Type came along and made updating and maintaining sites like this much easier. So I thought I'd try getting into it again.

Q: When you got the chance, what kind of things did you write about in your 1996 foray?

A: I did it with my friends Pat and Anthony. Some of the stuff is up in The Sneeze archives. I made the Freaky Franks game back then and the section called "Just Us Girls" where Anthony tested out products for women was also from the 90's. I need to get him to do some more of those.

Q: Some of my favorite sections are Steve, Don't Eat It! and Best of The Sneeze Jr. Have you got anything good lined up to eat? (If not... consider balut)

A: I do have a few things lined up. I'll get to them one of these days. (I know, I know -- it's been forever.) A number of people have emailed suggesting balut. I've seen a bunch of things online about it already, so that makes me a little less interested in writing about it.

Q: What are your favorite three television shows?

A: At the moment: Mythbusters, Heroes and The Office.

Q: And who is your favorite character from each show?

A: Those shows (at least Heroes and The Office) all have such great, deep casts - it's hard for me to single anyone out. But Mythbusters wouldn't be the same without Adam.
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Interview: Jeff Rogers
Posted March 09, 2007 at 09:16:57 AM by Bean in the Interviews category
A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with my friend John's good friend Jeff. He agreed to rehash some of the good stuff for interview number 3.
Q: Are you a minister?

A: Yes, I've been officially ordained by the Christian Church (an independent nondenominational denomination (oxymoron I know, but what can you do?))

Q: What do you do (at your job)?

A: There's a lot involved... I work with G.O. Ministries, Inc. Our organization is a non-denominational Christian non-profit 501c3. Our core work is partnering with nationals (we develop relationships with Dominican/Haitian Christian workers and connect them with American churches who in turn envision these nationals as their missionaries on the field). We further those partnerships by coordinating short-term teams of individuals who go and serve for week-long stints in various capacities: construction, medical/dental clinics, sports clinics in each of those communities where we have established partnerships.

I represent these Christian workers and the needs of their broader communities in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The work that we do I consider to be "holistic Ministry." We make an effort to serve the people by meeting all of the basic physical and spiritual needs as we are able: food, shelter, clothing, medical treatment, clean water, education, and instruction in a life characterized by following Jesus (if they so desire, it is not necessary to adopt our understanding of faith to be served by us). We currently finance (through the various partnerships mentioned above) 5 feeding centers on the island in terribly impoverished areas where we are able to feed about 600 children one hot nutritious meal a day. We have one in Quanamenthe Haiti, Guan Dules DR, Hoya de Bartola DR, La Mosca DR, and Batey Nuevey DR.

In addition to representing the ministry in various churches, conferences, schools and other organizations state-side, I take frequent trips to the Dominican and Haiti to help facilitate some of the teams that come down. I also lead a few "exploratory trips" a year with leaders from new churches or businesses who have developed an interest in our work.

I also coordinate the on-going training for our national pastors. Many, because of poor education and difficult economic realities that led them to work full time at a very early age, have little more than an 8th grade education. They have very little formal ministry training due to lack of availability and the cost of what is available. We provide what we can for them free of charge. Training topics range from Biblical studies, theology, to church history.

In the midst of all this I am also a fundraiser. I help raise funds for the organization in general as well as for my wife, Vicki and I. 100% of what is raised for the ministry's various projects: feeding centers, child sponsorship, etc. goes towards that project. We take nothing off the top for overhead as we raise all of that separately. All of the staff working with G.O. raises 100% of their own funds. It is a continued work in progress.

Until we get back to the Dominican (living there full-time, a reality largely dependant on how well our girls to with their therapy) I keep regular office hours Mon-Fri 9-5 at our Ministry headquarters here in Louisville. If you want a little taste of what some of our work looks like check out www.heartsinhispaniola.blogspot.com

Q: A man of many hats, I see. So what does the "G.O." stand for?

A: Great Opportunities in Global Outreach. It should be GO GO ministries but as you might imagine that could make fundraising tricky among some more conservative churches :)

Q: Your twin daughters were born deaf, but can now hear. Explain:

A: Our daughter's, Sophia and Rena, were born deaf. This was verified for us in November of 05 (the girls were born in July of 05 two and 1/2 months premature, the deafness as it turns out is unrelated to the prematurity)when we had a follow up with an audiologist after failing the hearing screening at the hospital. Since then we have discovered the root of our girls' deafness thanks to genetic testing. The girls' test results came back and it turns out that it was as we suspected, Vicki and I are carriers of a rare recessive gene for deafness.

So, above is our Punnett Square. Remember those from science class in highschool. Remember thinking, "When am I ever going to use this stuff?" Well it just goes to show that you never know what might prove to be useful in your life. Anyway, as I said, Vic and I are carriers which means that our hearing genes are Rr (R=Typical Hearing, r=hearing loss and/or deafness). So combine the two above and we're left with the 25% chance to have a child with typical hearing who is not a carrier of Connexin 26 (our sneaky recessive gene), a 50% chance of having a child with typical hearing who is a carrier of Connexin 26, and a 25% chance of having a child with significant hearing loss/deafness.

So, there you go. And so what's the bottom line you ask? Well, quite frankly, we're a family of X-Men! So all you regular o'le humans, don't be haters!!

Anyway, the girls' deafness is nearly identical which is not a surprise really since they are identical; they both started hearing at 110 decibels in their left ears and 90 in their right. You and I start hearing at 5 decibels and the whole range of human speech is from 20 to 40 decibels.

We started out right away with hearing aids. It's not easy keeping those boogers on 6 month old babies. We think that with the hearing aids we were able to bring their hearing down to 60 decibels, still not even close to hearing speech but they would respond at bells wringing and pots being beaten together.

We had to get cat scans done to check out the anatomy of the girls' ears. There was no deformity which meant we could move forward with a device called a Cochlear Implant. And what is that you ask? Well, time for a science lesson...

Your natural ear takes in sound. The sound waves pass through the outer/middle ear to the inner ear and at last the cochlea. The cochlea is a snail shell shaped part of your inner ear that has millions of microscopic hairs (cilia) lining its walls. These walls are intertwined with nerve endings stemming from the auditory nerve which is the bridge between the ear and the brain. The sound waves are naturally transformed in the cochlea to electric impulses that are picked up by the auditory nerve which carries this information to the hearing part of the brain which then gives us the sensation of sound.

The Cochlear Implant is an electronic device that bypasses your natural ear to artificially stimulate the auditory nerve which in turn stimulates the hearing part of the brain. There is an internal device that is implanted behind your ear. A small hole is drilled through the skull behind the ear, being cautious not to come in contact the facial nerve (which could lead to paralysis in the face) in order to get to the cochlea. A small whole is then drilled through the back wall of the cochlea. The internal device contains a receiver that is connected to a little probe that is spotted with 32 electrodes. This little probe is threaded through the cochlea and winds itself around the cochlea. A small area of the skull is hollowed out, enough to make a little seat for the receiver, and the receiver is placed there and the incision is sown back up. After four weeks the device is activated with its external hardware.

The external device consists of a controller (about the size of a very small mp3 player) that is used to change various settings on the implant, a processor that is programmed by the audiologist that picks up environmental sounds and transforms them into digitized information, and a coil which magnetically connects with the internal receiver implanted on the surface of the skull. The coil transmits the digitized information from the processor to the receiver via radio waves across the surface of the skin. The receiver takes that information and transforms it into electrical impulses that then pass through the electrode making contact with the auditory nerve in the cochlea. The auditory nerve receives these impulses and carries them to the hearing part of the brain which then creates the sensation of sound. All of this happens within fractions of fractions of a second.

Thus, the girls are able to hear artificially. It is a different kind of coding from natural hearing. The quality of hearing compared to our natural ear is quite crude. They do not hear with the distinction or nuance that is a privilege we naturally hearing folks enjoy. But they can hear music, wind, language, etc. With the implant they are able to hear as low as 20 decibels now which is a blessing to be sure. Our therapist tells us that the girls are at a point in four months of hearing that it takes most implanted children a year to get to. We are grateful for how far they have come so quickly.
It is important to remember that at the end of the day the girls are still deaf. When the magnet falls off they are immersed in silence. They do not wear the device to bed. They can't wear it in the water or while doing water sports. With this in mind we are going the route of total communication with the girls. We are teaching them to use sign language (Signed Exact English rather than American Sign Language) as well as speech because we want them to be able to "hear" us and others who are able through our hands in contexts where the implant can't be used or, God forbid, if our world should go to hell in a hand basket and batteries or electricity becomes something difficult to come by. When they have gotten old enough and have mastered English we will learn American Sign Language as a family so that we and especially the girls will be free to move about the deaf community with ease.

Sorry it's a rather lengthy explanation but brevity has never really been a gift of mine. Here are links to some pictures of the Cochlear equipment if you're interested in using them.All pix are available at http://www.cochlear.com/Corp/Press/186.asp

If anyone's interested in following the girls' progress from implantation to date they can check out www.bionicduos.blogspot.com

Q: Fascinating stuff. I wish you and your girls nothing but the best of luck in the future. Okay - last question: What's the funniest joke you've heard in the past month?

A: I heard this on NPR on the Prairie Home Companion a few weeks ago. It was their joke show. And as a bit of a disclaimer, I realize that some might find such a joke inappropriate for a "minister" to be telling but you asked me about the funniest joke I heard recently and this was it. It's the only honest answer to your question. Hee hee. Enjoy.

A man and a woman are in a bar. They are strangers to one another but strike up a conversation. After a little small talk the guy gets around to asking, "So, what's your name?" "Carmen," she said. "Wow, what a beautiful name, is that a family name or what?" "Oh no," she said. "I changed my name to Carmen because it's a blending of the two things I love most in the world, cars and men. So, what's your name?" she asked.

"Golftits," he said, "Pleased to meet you."
Interview: Larry Feathers
Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:27:18 AM by Bean in the Interviews category
Larry Feathers is my cousin, Jeff. He agreed to be number two in the Beanblog Interview Series.
Q: Before I start, should I call you Jeff or Larry, and would you like to preface this interview with anything?

A: You can call me Jeff or Larry - I have no preference. I think you're smart for not setting the "interesting bar" too high at the beginning.

Q: Great! To keep things as complicated as possible, I'll refer to you as both Jeff AND Larry throughout the Interview. Now, here's a question to get started: Where did the name "Larry Feathers" come from?

A: When I was in high school and college, a group of my friends used to spend a lot of time playing video games. Some games allowed us to create our own players. All of us kids would end up being turned into video game characters, and we'd normally make up several imaginary characters as well. Made up characters included Oscar Tissue, Lew Crayons, Elge and Elge's Elge, and Principal Don Feathers. We were pretty cool.

I work for the government. One of my favorite times to work for the government is when we have new job announcements. I like new job announcements because it's fun to submit phoney resumes. Once we were hiring an editor, and I thought it would be good to send in the most poorly written resume ever (irony). The fake editor applicant was called Ronald Feathers (unbeknownst to government officials, Ronald Feathers was the fake second cousin of Principal Don Feathers).

Once when I was in New Albany, Brad told me about this lady who lives on Grant Line Road and who always has a yard sale (And it's true because I've been up there probably three times since the story I'm about to tell, and that woman is still having a yard sale). We decided to go shopping at the yard sale because Brad was shopping for apartment decorations. The woman had this really terrible black felt clown picture on display in her yard, and Brad offered to buy it. Problem was that the picture wasn't for sale. Instead, the woman had it in her yard on account of God speaks to her through the black felt clown picture. We asked why she would put something on display if it isn't for sale, and she told us that her plan was to attract us to her yard sale so she could show us her rose bush. Turns out God also speaks to her through the rose bush. I told her that I thought she was full of it. She asked me to go inside her house with her. I told her I was too scared. It was at this point that she made the following totally unexpected announcement to all: "I AM COVERED IN FEATHERS!" I asked her what in the world she was talking about. She replied that she is truly covered in feathers.

So I guess you could say that feathers have been a very important part of my life. When I started my blog, I knew that I had to be a Feathers. All that was left was to choose a first name, and that's a really easy decision with a name like "Larry" out there.

Therefore, Larry Feathers.

I found this picture of a genuine Larry Feathers on Google Images. Those are some kinda pants! It might be fun to make up a name for his friend. Wayne McJunkinstonton?

Q: Larry, you live in Texas where it's hot, right?. What's the hottest day you can remember?

A: Yes, it can get quite hot in Texas. The problem isn't so much the heat on a given day, but the fact that the heat is relentless. It'll get to be 100 degrees and stay that way for a month.

Two really hot times come to mind. First was the heat wave of 1980. I believe 1980 was our first summer in Texas, and over 1,200 people died from heat that summer (though I'm not sure all of those deaths were in Texas). When you're a kid you don't so much mind the heat as when you become a fat adult. I guess I remember that heat wave more for the marketing campaign that accompanied it than for the actual effect of the heat on my person. There was a whole industry that sprung up around the slogan "I survived the Texas heat wave." Pretty catchy! Most of the "Heat Wave" S was sold at a really hot place called Trader's Village. Trader's Village is a place where various peddlers come to sell lots of crummy crap to mostly poor people. Trader's Village is in a city called Grand Prairie. Grand Prairie is called Grand Prairie because it is literally a grand prairie. Now it's a grand prairie with a bunch of houses - one of which belongs to Karen and Rex Ollis. Anyway, that was evidently a very hot summer.

The other hot time that comes to mind was this past summer. The local golf course offered a deal where you could play all the golf you wanted for a month in exchange for $75. I bought it, played three times, and ended up getting heat exhaustion and making a lot of throw up. I'd probably let any of your readers kick me in the nuts once a week for the rest of my life if I could be guaranteed of never throwing up again. I'd also be willing to have constant diarrhea in exchange for not having to throw up anymore.

Anyway, last summer was the only time I've ever had heat exhaustion. So that stands out as memorable heat.

Q: I remember listening to They Might Be Giants in a car with you back in 1990 when they came out with Flood. Do you still listen to TMBG?

A: Yes, I currently have "Flood" and "Severe Tire Damage" on my iPod. I also have a children's CD + DVD they made a couple years ago. Some of it is weird, but most of it is good. In about 1988, Brad came down for a couple weeks one summer. Now this is going to sound really gay, but it seems like all we did was lay around on a waterbed with my friend Brandon listening to They Might Be Giants "Don't Let's Start" mini-cd while Brandon passed lots of the most disgusting goulash-inspired gas in the history of ever. I love memories.

Q: That's gold, Jeff, GOLD! You should check out TMBG's newer album titled "The Spine". What are some of your favorite sites to visit on the wide wide world of web?

A: First and foremost, I like going to your blog and the blogs of other people I know. Other than that, some of my favorite WWW sites include:
  • www.gordonkeith.com (Though sometimes a bit raunchy, this site contains links to some pretty funny stuff.)
  • www.seatguru.com (This site rates the pros and cons of each seat on all models of commercial aircraft. As a relatively frequent flyer, this site is important to me.)
  • www.newbergreport.com (This site discusses current events in the world of the Texas Rangers baseball club and its minor league system.)
  • www.youtube.com
  • www.belleandsebastian.com (This is the site of my favorite band, Belle & Sebastian.)
Q: Have you ever seen a ghost, an alien, or Bigfoot?

A: I have never seen a ghost, but I believe in them. I have never seen an alien, but I'm sure they exist. I have never seen Bigfoot. I think Bigfoot is make believe.

Q: Finally, the question that is burning holes in beanblog readers brains: When will you make your triumphant return to blogging?

A: Hopefully that glorious day will occur sooner than later. I've decided to start using the train more often (at the behest of Honorary Dr. Al Gore). Usually blogworthy things happen on the train (e.g., yesterday - by using reasoning - I broke up what was about to turn into a fist fight between black people and white people on the ride home), and I'll make sure to start writing about them as they do. And at the same time I'll be changing my carbon footprint (which is evidently a good thing even though I don't really have any idea what I'm talking about).

Thanks for letting me do this. I rather enjoy writing about me.
Interview: My Dad
Posted February 19, 2007 at 09:15:08 AM by Bean in the Interviews category
In an attempt to keep fresh content on my blog, I've decided to conduct a few interviews with interesting people. They are short, relatively shallow, and conducted via email, one question at a time. I've got a few in the works, so expect more in the coming weeks. I decided to start off with someone I was sure would cooperate: my dad, Martin Schy.
Q: You fish a lot, and usually do pretty well. What, in your opinion, is the single most important thing to consider when trying to land a large mouth bass?

A: The most important to consider when trying to land a large mouth bass would be to keep heavy tension on your line so as to not let the line go slack, but not too much to break the line. The tension should be applied with the curvature of the rod not allowing the fish to pull directly against the reel.

Q: Great! Any tips on getting that fish on the line in the first place? Next question: Which president, having served in office during your life, has been your favorite?

A: Ronald Reagan because he proved that conservative principles worked.

Q: I had a feeling that would be your response. Now the counter-point: which president has been your least favorite?

A: Jimmy Carter because he facilitated the fall of the shah of Iran which resulted in the return of the Islamic Fundamentalists, failed to defend our embassy in Iran, failed to rescue the hostages in Iran and is basically given us the terrorist state of Iran that we know today. In addition, his domestic policies resulted in the worst recession we had in the second half of the 20th century and the highest rate of inflation that we've ever had. He currently travels the world cozying up to Communist dictators, left-winged despots and continues to badmouth America all over the world to this day.

Q: What is is the best vacation you have ever taken?

A: Our best vacation was when we flew our own plane to Alaska and back. We flew over the Great Plains of North and South Dakota and we saw civilization below us diminish into the wilderness as we approached the Canadian border in North Dakota. Then we saw the wilderness turn into homes and farms at the southern edge of Saskatchewan. We crossed the Great Plains of Central Canada with millions of acres of granola and wheat fields and hundreds of oil wells below us. Then we came into view of the Canadian Rockies to the west and the great wilderness of northern Alberta to the east. We then entered the snow capped Canadian Rockies, entered the Yukon territories and landed at White Horse. All along the way, the Canadian people were extremely friendly and helpful. We flew over the beautiful turquoise lakes of the Canadian Rockies and crossed into Alaska. We flew to central Alaska near Anchorage and stayed a few days with friends who owned a beautiful log cabin in the mountains. Then we flew to Mt. McKinley and skirted the edges of glaciers coming from it, landed and went on a Denali Park bus tour. We flew onto Fairbanks and points north of Fairbanks to say that we had been close to the Arctic Circle. In Fairbanks, we had near 24 hours of daylight and took a sternwheeler ride on the Yukon River. When we left Fairbanks, we flew over North Pole, Alaska back through the Canadian Rockies and the full length of the Alaska Highway back to the lower 48. It was a "dream of a lifetime" vacation.

Q: Sounds like a fantastic trip! I won't ask what the worst vacation was, cause I think I know (Disney World, circa mid 1980's) Okay, last one: If you could speak one sentence and know that everyone in the world would heard it, what would it be?

A: Get the hell out of my way, I'm coming through!
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