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By ucblockhead (Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 11:04:17 PM EST) (all tags)
CPAP.  American Civil War.


About a month and a half ago, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which is a syndrome in which the sufferer has their breathing obstructed while sleeping.  This was the result of a sleep study.  This was the second one I'd had as my wife has been saying I was suffering from this for years.  The first one was inconclusive, saying that I might have a very mild case.  That one was probably not well done, however, as they sent me home at 2 am.  The nurse-practitioner in the second one apparently prodded me onto my back as soon as I was out, which was enough to knock it into the "severe" range.  (I normally sleep face down or on my side.)

As such, I was prescribed a CPAP machine.  This is a device that fits over your nose and basically raises the air pressure, which keeps the passageway from collapsing.  Both my mother and my mother-in-law have these and both have raved about them.

It took quite a while to get the thing, and it required a nurse to come and show me how to use it.  It was quite clear that she typically dealt with patients who were perhaps on the elderly and senile range.  The instructions were given to a level that were insulting, and included having her literally instruct me how to answer the robocall that would check on my state every month or so.  (Joke's on her...I never answer the phone.)  The most comical bit was when she wanted an emergency contact phone "other than your home phone".  That seemed odd given that they weren't actually treating me directly.   "Why?" I asked.  "In case there's a recall or something, we need to know who to contact".  "Er...that would be me."

It took about a week to get used to sleeping with it.  I was very short on sleep for a few days.  The asthmatic in my likes having fresh air blown in my face, but having something strapped there makes it difficult to be comfortable, especially when you're used to sleeping face down.  (And given the problem, learning to sleep on my back would not be a plus.)  It is disconcerting in that given the pressure, if you open your mouth with it on, air comes out without you actually breathing.  It also isn't a particularly romantic way to lay in the marriage bed, if you know what I mean.

One of the things I was told at the study was that I was having no REM sleep at all, which is not good.  I hadn't really noticed this...I don't track my dreams, but it isn't good in general for mood or memory.  One of the first things I noticed was I was suddenly having many more dreams at night than I'd remembered having in the recent past.  (Exacerbated I am sure due to sleeping very lightly because of the machine on my face.  For the first few days, I was waking 4-5 times a night.)

Sadly, my hope of suddenly needing less sleep at night has not come to pass.  I am, however, feeling more refreshed in the morning, and more able to cope with limited sleep hours in general.  I am also hoping that the sleep apnea was part of the migraine trigger related to this.  I have so far managed two nights with single glasses of red wine to no effect.  This may be luck, however.  Next weekend I try parmesan.

In other health news:  I am still caffeine free, but my weight loss has mostly stalled.  Too much eating out.


I have been driving to work far more than I used to, because I've finally got a permanent on-site parking spot and for whatever reason, either the economy, the addition of "fasTrak", or both, the commute in is now twenty minutes shorter than by train.  Unfortunately, this means I no longer have the hour-and-a-half reading time a day that I have enjoyed for years.  My reading has plummeted.

I have, however, been using audiobooks for the commute.  I've found that I tend towards history more than fiction for whatever reason, and have a bad tendency to pick huge unabridged multivolume sets.  Currently, I am listening to Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative.  (American Civil War.)  I am quite enjoying them, but they are loooong.  2500 pages translates to over 100 hours of audio.  The story is well told, and compelling.

Previous to this, I knew only the basics about the conflict, mostly based on a standard US education and a general interest in history.  I've long known that this is a conflict much loved by military historians, and I now see why.  It was a big, varied conflict.  As far as I know, this was the biggest war between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I, despite being a single nation affair.  You've got two sides fielding nearly half a million men at times, spread over a thousand miles of front for four years.

It was a half-modern war.  The first war where trains and telegraphs were of central strategic importance.  (Prefiguring the Franco-Prussian war by ten years.)  It was the first major war with armored, powered navies.  There was no trench warfare, true, but this was mostly due to the long front and smaller armies.  The technology was there.  (And in fact very, very few attacks on entrenched positions succeeded in this war.)

I was also surprised at the number of California connections among the leadership of both sides.  (Both Grant and Sherman spent significant time here, for instance.)

In general, the entire conflict is mostly a story of ineptitude.  Often the war is cast as a battle between a well-provisioned by poorly led North and a poor, but well led South.  This is not entirely true.  Take away Lee and Jackson, and the quality of generalship would likely be on par.    The generalship of both armies cut it's teeth in the Mexican-American war, and neither was thus trained for the far bigger task that was defeating the other half of the nation.


Work: I am in a spot where I am not particularly happy and yet every time I look at job posts, they look worse than where I am.   I need to have a good dotcom idea.

< taxes and death. | That Barcelona weekend. >
Dear Diary | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I will be your VP Marketing by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 11:15:47 PM EST
I can talk to VCs, update the board, do all sorts of marketing stuff and (apparently) build out your marketing Web site...as long as I can telecommute.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB
Cool! by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 11:31:20 PM EST
All I need is a product. :-(
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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Dude, LivingSocial by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 11:41:59 PM EST
just raised 400 Million E Round (previously raising 232M) at a 3 BILLION dollar valuation.

Surely you can come up with something better than coupons.

Just one piece of advice, make sure whatever you do is scalable - and I mean easy to sell and easy to create or provision without a lot of infrastructure. I'm never ever working for another startup without a (somewhat) scalable product. 
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

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Shelby Foot by duxup (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 11:19:47 PM EST
In the Ken Burns documentary I recall Shelby Foot noting the south lost the war before the first shot was fired.  The more you learn the more it seems true.  The north had the high ground in nearly every way.  They had the south cut off with the blockade, the international support or at least lack of support for the south, the south was fragmented, the north had warm bodies immigrating and most importantly the south due to its political arrangement.  I think Shelby told the story about how during the war one state had more supplies than they ever could field troops, another state troops without supplies (uniforms, weapons)... yet they wouldn't share the supplies, states rights, they didn't have to.

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The war by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 11:35:25 PM EST
It is amazing it lasted as long as it did given the disparities in resources. 
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Yeah by duxup (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 01:14:41 PM EST
It is amazing.  I always chalked it up to the fact that the North couldn't really loose unless they just up and capitulated, but the advantages didn't translate enough on to the field to make a huge difference there.
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Trench warfare by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 12:35:42 AM EST
I agree with what you're saying, but there's an easy way to recognize it that you're not likely to get from audiobooks while driving (at least I sincerely hope not) - look at any significant battle of the war on a map, one that has the troop movements laid out by day. No matter where your opponent dug in, there was always room to maneuver around him and hit the flank for the side; frontal assaults were rare, focused on specific strategic targets (and usually still with more maneuver than a European war would permit) and always hugely expensive.

Also, it's true that the South had only a few good generals (I would add Forrest to your list, and possibly Longstreet... nah, just Forrest) - but for most of the war, the Union didn't have any. There were several generals who would have made good colonels or majors under the command of a capable general, but none who had the ability to provide tactical, strategic, and logistical command of an army. One or the other, yes; all three, no.

Not until Grant and Sherman came along did the Union army have the command structure necessary to succeed in battle. Which is also why the war lasted so long; the South wasn't winning, they had too many cards stacked against them, but the North was doing its best to lose.

Trench warfare by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 12:58:41 AM EST
What you say was not true of the areas around Richmond, particularly in the last year of the war.  And yes, frontal attacks weren't the norm, mostly because they nearly always failed.  But there were a number of significant instances of massacres caused by frontal assaults against entrenchments.  (For instance, Cold Harbor.)

And yes, I'd add Forrest to the list, but probably not anyone else.  And honestly, I'm not sure that Grant really counts as "good" so much as "stubborn".  Foote points out that in the last year around Richmond, Lee had to win every battle but Grant only had to win one.
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Oh by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 11:39:58 AM EST
I've also been using wikipedia for maps when I am not listening.
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more on trench warfare by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 03:41:10 PM EST
First there was the battle of Antietam where bloody lane acted as a ready-made trench. There was at least one battlefield outside of Fredricksburg (Fredericksburg 2, I think. It is now pretty much across the road from "The Wilderness" battlefield, but I'm not quite sure about the sequence). You can still see where the trenches were dug.

Wumpus

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One minor quibble about Lee... by atreides (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 01:02:26 AM EST
Lee was a good and daring engineer when he was younger, but he was never a really good commander. Much like George Washington during the Revolution, he was merely adequate but was a big symbol. And Lee's real strength on the battle field was merely being better than the idiots he was facing. That's why Grant did so well. He wasn't great, he just kept coming at Lee until Lee fucked up and didn't have a chance to recover.

Now, you want a good Union General, check out George Thomas. Even the Yerpians (who considered the war as mobs roaming the countryside claiming to be armies) respected his performance at Chattanooga...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

I had serious sleep apnea as a kid by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 03:25:53 AM EST
Due to the adrenaline rush that came from waking up choking on my tongue and subsequent waking period I had extremely good recall of a lot of my dreams during childhood (has faded since I grew out of it). I'd think about them during the day and often the next "chapter" would continue that night.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

Shelby Foote... by ana (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 07:12:22 AM EST
seems to be a story teller first and foremost, and Ken Burns made good use of him doing just that. I could listen for hours, I think.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

If you have the time by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 09:20:47 AM EST
Watch the PBS documentary.

I grew up in, and live in, Virginia near DC. Civil War sites all over the place. Went to Gettysburg many times. Going to Little Round Top as a veteran I realized that you couldn't find a better place for a battalion to hold off a division. Gettysburg, especially Pickett's Charge, was Lee's greatest mistake.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Every time... by ana (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 09:40:14 AM EST
I read about Gettysburg, I wonder why Lee hasn't learned from his mistake and done it differently this time. Though of course I'm reading about the same, one-time event, and he only got one chance. It's kind of like blaming the kids in class this year for being stupid because I explained all this stuff (to different kids) last year.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

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TV by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 11:38:26 AM EST
I rarely have the patiences for TV these days.
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A good dotcom idea by theboz (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 11:06:29 AM EST
Make the next Facebook.  It's about time they were replaced like they did with MySpace.  Your slogan to sell it is, "Social networking without all the crap."  It could practically sell itself.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
Heh by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 11:38:48 AM EST
There are times I've seriously considered that.
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By the way... by theboz (4.00 / 2) #17 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 11:57:34 AM EST
I'm assuming that your goal is to get a couple million from vcs, not actually to replace Facebook.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
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On incompetence by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 03:00:40 PM EST
I have those books but I've never made it past the middle of the first one.  It's really frustrating to read how so many times the Union army would waste its superiority in numbers and technology with badly managed and uncoordinated battles.  People have always fantasized about inventing a time machine and going back and giving one side or another modern guns or tanks or even air power.  Frankly, if I could choose one thing to give the North it would be radio communications, GPS devices and Google Earth.  If you win the information war, it's all over.

You wouldn't need that. by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 03:14:57 PM EST
Mostly you'd just need to tell them to do what Grant ended up doing: mass superior numbers, and don't run back across the Potomac after the first repulse.  Add to that a general suggestion to never use frontal assaults.

Most battles were badly managed not for lack of information so much as lack of competence.  Too many commanders were just running off half-cocked or simply not doing what they said they would.
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I get what you are saying by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 04:13:40 PM EST
The ineffectual leadership was a real killer on both sides.  These were not professional armies.  However, I think it's reasonable to assume that one of the reasons that frontal assaults remained the default mode of attack is because they were the easiest to coordinate.  Some generals did try more complex maneuvers but they frequently became complete disasters because of lack of communication or proper situational awareness.

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clock wants to start a dot com as well by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 04:19:10 PM EST
seriously, HuSi Corp isn't that far away...

me, duxup, REC & georgeha can do support by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 07:06:19 PM EST
data center/ops: technician
pm/doc: Kellnerin & johnny
test: just split the developers based on % anal retentiveness

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

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i'm data center as well by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 07:18:39 PM EST


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Apnea by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 10:00:59 AM EST
As near as I can tell, all men get it sooner or later. Have you started sleeping on your side? 

They tried to get me to use a CPAP with a full nose-and-mouth mask 15 ago, but I simply could not deal with it.


An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
side by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 11:19:18 AM EST
I've always slept on my side.

Anyway, the mask I have is nose only, and I've gotten used to it.
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