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November 19, 2019

Treating Alzheimer's with Ultra-Sound


MORGANTOWN -- World-leading brain experts at West Virginia University's Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute are celebrating the historic breakthrough Alzheimer patients around the globe have been awaiting.

"For Alzheimer's, there's not that many treatments available, despite hundreds of clinical trials over the past two decades and billions of dollars spent," said Dr. Ali R. Rezai, a neurosurgeon at WVU who led the team of investigators that successfully performed a phase II trial using focused ultrasound to treat a patient with early stage Alzheimer's.

The WVU team tested the innovative treatment in collaboration with INSIGHTEC, an Israeli medical technology company. Earlier this year, INSIGHTEC was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin a phase II clinical trial of the procedure, and selected the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute as the first site in the United States for that trial.

Last summer, researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto reported the results of a phase I safety trial showing they could reversibly open the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer's patients.

The procedure in West Virginia involved the use of ultrasound waves focused through a specialized helmet with more than 1,000 probes targeting a precise spot in the brain, Rezai explained, coupled with microscopic bubbles.

"And when we put a different frequency of ultrasound on the bubbles, they start oscillating," he said.

The reaction opens up the brain-blood barrier -- a nearly impenetrable shield between the brain's blood vessels and cells that make up brain tissue.

"It's protected on one end for us to function but also prevents larger molecules or chemotherapy or medications or anti-bodies or immune system cells or amino therapy or stem cells to get in," he said.

In this case, the West Virginia team targeted the hippocampus and the memory and cognitive centers of the brain that are impacted by plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's.

"Plaques are these clusters of proteins that accumulate and they block-up the brain's connectivity," he said. "In animal studies it showed that these plaques are cleared with ultrasound technology.

The first patient, a person Rezai called a pioneer and hero, is West Virginia health care worker and former WVU Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse Judi Polak.

"I think that with Alzheimer's there's so much in the unknown and I've been with Health Science for a long time and I understand that we need to be able to step forward and look into the future," Polak said.

But getting to this point was a long journey beginning five years ago when she was first diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

"That took me a while to deal with," Polak admitted while sitting with her husband of 36 years, Mark Polak. "It was hard to say that I have Alzheimer's. I didn't want to be the person who felt sorry for myself and so we looked at clinical trials as a way to help not only me but other people too."

Early-onset Alzheimer's is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65. Of all the people who have Alzheimer's disease, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, about 5 percent develop symptoms before age 65.

Judi Polak's willingness to be the center of a study or research experiment in hopes of finding a cure for Alzheimer's took an emotional toll, Mark Polak said, referring to a controlled drug-placebo trial at the University of Pittsburgh several years ago.

"Guess what, the drug didn't work," he said with contempt. "Just like every drug that has been tried doesn't work."

However, Judi Polak's patience and persistence appears to have paid off. The procedure, which lasted three hours, safely and successfully opened her blood-brain barrier for a record 36 hours.

"It was opened longer than they expected," Mark Polak said. "They were actually, I think both excited and scared. The team was ecstatic."

One member of the team Mark Polak mentioned is Dr. Jeff Carpenter, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and an interventional neuroradiologist at WVU.

"This is really step one," Carpenter said of the successful trial. "This is to make sure it's safe and hopefully we can decrease some of the big plaques in that part of the brain."

Carpenter is what he jokingly called the "technical guy" on Rezai's team with 18 years of experience working MRI technology and interventional radiology.

"It's a combination of knowing MRI very well and also being used to actually treating patients," Carpenter said. "This treatment marries MRI guidance with ultrasound targeting. "It really uses all the things I've been working with."

Carpenter, a native of Fairmont, credited Rezai's work and ultimately the leadership at WVU Medicine for supporting the research needed.

"It is really nice to be able to do this level of work this close to home," he added.

The potential benefits of the first and subsequent treatments will take several years to fully evaluate, Rezai said. Two more similar procedures are scheduled for Judi Polak; one on Tuesday and a final test in November.

"I am hopeful that focused ultrasound opening of the blood-brain barrier will prove to be a valuable treatment option for Judi Polak and other patients with early Alzheimer's who are confronting the enormous challenges associated with the disease on a daily basis," Rezai said.

Although Rezai stopped short of giving any immediate results from the first treatment, Polak said she noticed a change the next day.

"I think I could speak clearer and did not wait as long in answering questions," she said. "Sometimes in the past things would leave my mind and I couldn't remember things."

"This is man on the moon stuff," Mark Polak said of his wife's success in the first trial. "Maybe we're on to something."

NCWV Media Business Editor John Dahlia can be reached at 304-276-1801 or by email at jdahlia@ncwvmedia.com.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 19, 2019 at 5:38 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 18, 2019

Columbia, SC to Morrison, CO - 2,046 Miles in 6 days

So, I was going to try to summarize my trip back from Columbia to Morrison.

Day 1: Wednesday 11/13/19. Columbia, SC to Madison, MS. 625 miles.
Day 2: Thursday 11/14/19. Madison, MS. 0 miles.
Day 3: Friday 11/15/19. Madison, MS to Monticello, MS. 130 miles.
Day 4: Saturday 11/16/19. Monticello, MS to Rhome, TX. 509 miles.
Day 5: Sunday. 11/17/19. Rhome, TX to Raton, NM. 542 miles.
Day 6: Monday. 11/18/19. Raton, NM to Morrison, CO. 240 miles.
2,046 miles to get home.

Day 1: Wednesday 11/13/19. Columbia, SC to Madison, MS. 625 miles.
Starting Odometer: 34,339
Ending Odometer: 34,965
Distance Traveled: 625 miles

Day 2: Thursday 11/14/19. Madison, MS.

Day 3: Friday 11/15/19. Madison, MS to Monticello, MS.
Starting Odometer: 34,965
Ending Odometer: 35,104
Distance Traveled: 139 miles

Day 4: Saturday 11/16/19. Monticello, MS to Rhome, TX. 509 miles.
Starting Odometer: 35,104
Ending Odometer: 35,613
Distance Traveled: 509 miles

10:37 am leave monticello 10:44
3.82 g at $2.29 =$8.80 trip b 0
1:00 monroe 161.0 4.27 g = 37.7 mpg 35265
3:00 140.3 4.037 g = 34.7 mpg. 35406 marshall tx
35502 myrtle springs 95.7 2.838 @2.29 = 6.52
Rhome,TX. 6:15 pm 2.565 gal at $2.19=$5.64 108.3 miles. 509 miles. 35,613.

Day 5: Sunday 11/17/2019. Rhome, TX to Raton, NM. 542 miles.
9:45 am. 35,613.
11:38am. 35,757. 143.9 miles. 4.265 gals. 33.5 mpg. Vernon tx.
Claude tx. 1:44 pm. 147.1 miles. 4.265 gallons.@2.29/gal=$9.81
34.49 mpg. 35,904.
Dumas,tx. 3:00 pm. 78.0 miles. 2.08 gals at 2.199=$4.57. 78 miles/2.08 gals=37.5 mpg. 35,982.
Raton,nm. 4:24pm MST. 170.4 miles. 4.574 gals at $2.799=$12.80. 170.4 miles / 4.574 gals = 37.25 mpg. 36155.
36,155 - 35,613 = 542 miles.

Day 6: Monday 11/18/2019. Raton, NM to Morrison, CO. 240 miles.
10:30 a.m. 36,155. Leave Raton, NM.

36,318. Colorado Springs, CO. 163 miles.
3.784 gallons at $2.799 = $10.59. 163 miles / 3.784 gals = 43 mpg.
Leaving Colorado Springs at 12:53 p.m.

Arrive home 2:40 p.m. MST. 36,395.
36,395 - 36,155 = 240 miles.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 18, 2019 at 3:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Raton, NM to Morrison, CO

So, I made it home. Finally. This is what my ride today looked like from Raton to my house in unincorporated Jefferson County.

Leaving Raton, NM at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, November 18, 2019.
Starting Odometer: 36,155

When i left raton i forgot to reset my tripmeters. The problem with the fuel gauges is that each light bar can be predicted because they're each 0.8 gallons. But it doesnt tell you what your fuel mileage is unless you do some math. I think each light bar has been 26 miles. 26 miles / 0.8 gallons= 32.5 mpg.

I found Jose Muldoons, my old stomping grounds when I used to work in Colorado Springs. And also the office I used to work in on Uintah Street.

I had thought the street name in Colorado Springs where I worked was Ouchita St. But the name of the street is Uintah St. I had sort of transposed the two names in my brain and then when I drove across the Ouchita River in Louisiana, I got even more confused.

The ride today was very warm It was 69F - 70F for much of the way.

Leaving Colorado springs. 12:53 pm MST. 163 miles. 3.784 gals at $2.799 = $10.59. 163 miles / 3.784 gals = 43 mpg. 36,318.

I stayed on the interstate until I got to Palmer Lake. Then, I took backroads from Palmer Lake to Sedalia to Chattfield Reservoir, then up Deer Creek Canyon to Turkey Creek Canyon.

Arrived home 2:40 pm MST.
Distance traveled today = 36,395 - 36,155 = 240 miles.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 18, 2019 at 3:19 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 17, 2019

Raton, NM to Morrison, CO

So it looks like I've got about 237 miles to do tomorrow. Shouldn't be hard after doing 542 miles today.

I could get kind of tricky with it, but I think I'll just take the interstate (I-25) home. Forecast looks good for tomorrow. Raton says 64F. Pueblo and Denver say 66F. Colorado Springs says 63F. Shouldn't be a problem. Everything shows sunny except for Denver, which is partly cloudy.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 17, 2019 at 8:30 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Rhome, TX to Raton, NM

So today, I rode from Rhome, Texas to Raton, NM. My ride looked something like this.

Sunday. Nov 17, 2019. Odometer: 35,613. Depart Rhome, TX at 9:45 a.m.

1st Fuel Stop: Vernon, Texas. 11:38 a.m. Odometer: 35,756.9. Trip B: 143.9 miles. 4.265 gallons. 33.5 mpg.

2nd Fuel Stop: Claude, Texas. 1:44 p.m. CST. Odometer: 35,904. Trip B: 147.1 miles. 4.265 gallons at $2.29/gallon = $9.81. 147.1 miles / 4.265 gallons = 34.49 mpg.

3rd Fuel Stop: Dumas, Texas. 3:00 p.m. CST. Odometer: 35,982. Trip B: 78 miles. 2.08 gallons at $2.199/gallon = $4.57. 78 miles / 2.08 gallons = 37.5 mpg.

4th Fuel Stop: Raton, New Mexico. 4:24 p.m. MST. Odometer: 36,155. Trip B: 170.4 miles. 4.574 gallons at $2.799 = $12.80. 170.4 miles / 4.574 gallons = 37.25 mpg.

Distance Traveled Today: 542 miles.
Time in the saddle: 7 hours 45 minutes, roughly. (Gained an hour by riding west and crossing into Mountain TIme Zone at the NM state line).

The temperatures today ranged from about 60F this morning in Rhome, up to about 68F, and then back down to about 55F at Raton.

One improvement that I've made is I no longer use my cigarette-lighter-to-USB adapter to charge my iPhone while I'm riding. It only provides electricity to the phone sporadically. So, instead, what I've done for the last 2 days, is I've connected a USB cable to my MacBook Air, and I charge my iPhone with the MacBook Air (stowed inside my C.C. Filson handbag, sitting in my lap as I ride). So, I've got a USB cable sneaked into the suitcase in my lap, drawing power from the MacBook Air as I ride down the highway, constantly charging my iPhone 6S Plus, which I use for navigation.

The iphone-tethered-to-MacBook-Air solution works very well but, this morning, as I was leaving Rhome, it wouldn't function properly. It's a funny feeling to be riding down the highway in 2019 and have all of your technology fail you so that you're basically lost, and not sure which way to go. Like, suddenly you have the technology from 1974 and, without at least paper maps, you're pretty much hosed. I have the Garmin Montana GPS as a backup, so I'm not totally lost, but I pull over, reboot the iPhone, and now it's working fine, and I continue on my journey. I like to have the iPhone because Waze tells me where the police are in real-time, it also warns you of parked/abandoned cars, roadkill, traffic, and countless other hazards.

In my trip across North America, you sorta can't help but notice that, there's no trees west of Dallas. At all, really. Like, back east, there's pine trees and hard woods (oaks, sweet gums, etc), but once you go west of Dallas, there aren't really any trees to speak of. Most of the landscape is just barren wasteland, except in some locations where they grow cotton.

Also, there are no bridges, because there are no rivers, because there is no water.

A lot of west texas is farming cotton, apparently. Similar to what I saw in Mississippi. There (in Mississippi), the cotton litters both sides of the road, as it's harvest time, it seems. I stopped to take a photo of some of the cotton fields in MS, but couldn't get a good shot, and tried to ride my bike a short distance off of the shoulder, and ran over a bail of barbed wire. I was petrified that my tires would go flat, but for some reason, the didn't.

Something is wrong with my bike...maybe more than one thing...one thing is that my chain makes a horrible noise, even though I oil it every morning. Also, the bike sounds like it's missing, at low RPMs, so possibly it needs the spark plugs replaced? Not clear.

The time zone changes from Central to Mountain when you cross into New Mexico. There's a little town in Texas that's very close to the border with NW, named Texline, Texas.

After my fuel stop in Dumas, Texas, I decided to sort of push it a little to try to make the next fuel stop in Raton. I spend an exhorbitant amount of time trying to demistify the fuel gauge on the Africa Twin. Since I've pondered on it for countless hours, I thought I may as well document it as I think I understand it better today than I ever have before.

1) The fuel tank on the 2017 Honda Africa Twin holds 5 gallons of gas. This is fairly well established.
2) The fuel gauge indicator has 5 little lights/bars/indicators on the LCD display.
3) After studying the LCD display bars ad nauseum, I have determined that each of the 5 lights indicates/represents a specific range of fuel in the gas tank.
4) When all 5 LCD bars have been extinguished, there is still 1 gallon of gas in the tank, and the low fuel light indicator starts flashing.
5) Therefore, the range for each of the 5 LCD bars is as follows:
(a) 1st LCD bar - Indicates the fuel capacity between 4.2 - 5 gallons.
(b) 2nd LCD bar - Indicates the fuel capacity between 3.4 - 4.2 gallons.
(c) 3rd LCD bar - Indicates the fuel capacity between 2.6 - 3.4 gallons.
(d) 4th LCD bar - Indicates the fuel capacity between 1.8 - 2.6 gallons.
(e) 5th LCD bar - Indicates the fuel capacity between 1 - 1.8 gallons.
(f) Flashing Fuel Reserve Light - Indicates the fuel capacity between 0 - 1 gallons.

So, today, I decided to push it a little and try to make it to Raton without stopping for fuel in Des Moines, NM, even though I knew I had about 38 miles to go and was about to hit reserve. I'm not a smart man, but it's just that they were charging too much for the fuel and I figured...once it hits reserve, I've got another gallon of gas, and if I get 40 mpg, then I ought to be able to make it 38 miles to Raton. Fortunately, my gamble paid off, and when I refuled my bike in Raton, it would only take 4.574 gallons, so I still had nearly 1/2 of a gallon in my tank. So, I should be able to go about another 20 miles or so on that. But it's not a fun feeling when the sun is getting low and there are zero other cars on the road and I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got to Raton. Only once I got there did I remember that it's a little scam of a town where everyone charges the same exhorbitant rates for fuel. But, I was glad to make it there and still be alive instead of stranded on the side of the road. I should be riding with an extra 2.2 gallon can of fuel on the bike, and why I don't have it for this trip is anyone's guess.

When I roll into Raton, I see a few run down motels, and I go to one of the worst looking ones...I'm not trying to impress anyone here....just spend the night...I ask her how much a room is and she wants something crazy like $60 and I offer her $40 cash. She asks her husband, and he says, "yes...of course". Then I go to McDonald's and eat dinner. I started eating there again because of my Canadian friend Ben.

The room is heated, and I take a shower, and it's the best shower I've ever had. Like...it's one of those crazy shower heads they use to wash circus elephants...lots of pressure, lots of holes, and the shower head is about the size of a frisbee. I turn on the heat in the apartment, and start thinking that I'm going to live to see tomorrow. Life is good.

I ride my bike back to McDonald's and get a free refill on my Diet Coke. For some reason, they only have 2 sizes: Medium and Large. So stupid there are no words.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 17, 2019 at 6:08 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 16, 2019

Rhome, Texas

Today, I rode from Monticello, MS to Rhome, Texas. Distance was something like 509 miles. I left Monticello at about 10:40 a.m. CST, and arrived in Rhome, Texas at around 6:15 p.m. CST. Starting Odometer was 35,104. Ending Odometer was 35,613. So, about 509 miles.

Mostly along I-20. But Waze did route me through the city in a way I've never been before, and I lived in DFW area for 7 years. Normally, I get routed onto US 80 and go through Forney. But this time, I told Waze I was heading to Amarillo, and Waze routed me on I-20 to I-45, then up into Dallas, and then west over to Fort Worth on I-30, then north on I-35W, then up US 287 to Rhome.

My goal was, essentially, to try to get across the DFW metroplex so that I don't have to sit in a bunch of traffic in the morning. Only now do I realize that it's not Sunday. So, it's not likely that I'll be facing a bunch of traffic in the morning. Being as how it will be Sunday tomorrow, not Monday. So, there is that. In any event. Be that as it may. I'll get up in the morning and roll out of town heading towards Amarillo. I had a pretty decent ride today, so I should be able to make it further than Amarillo tomorrow. Possibly as far as Raton, NM.

My ride was pretty nice today. It started out cold (High 30's or Low 40's), but then warmed up to the mid 60's while I was riding in East Texas. The funny thing is that, even at 64F, I still felt cold. I swear it's all an illusion. Just your mind playing tricks on you. If I can ride my bike at 39F, then why on earth would it still feel cold at 65F? It makes no sense.

On the return trip (today), I wasn't confused about which river was the Mississippi River. On the outbound trip, I crossed a river in Monroe, and assumed it to be the Mississippi River. (It was not.) Then, I crossed the Mississippi River and was blown away by the size of it. The river I crossed in Monroe, La was the Ouachita (Pronounced Wash-uh-taw) River.

Tomorrow (Sunday 11/17/2019), I'll stop somewhere between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM. I don't really have a planned destination to spend the night. But somewhere in that range, depending on the weather, etc. Amarillo would be 314 miles. Raton would be 525 miles. So, somewhere in that range, depending on the weather. I think it's supposed to be a little cooler tomorrow. Perfect.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 16, 2019 at 6:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 15, 2019

Thanksgiving is when?

And I find myself on the phone with Jennifer and I'm trying to sort out our plans for Thanksgiving. Who's house will she be at and when, etc. All of this. And I'm telling her my plans for a 3 day ride across North America to get back to Colorado and what the forecast is and then she's like...You do realize that Thanksgiving is not this coming Thursday, right? And I'm like...uh...no? Thanksgiving is on Thursday November 28th, not the 21st. And I'm like...DOH! So stupid there aren't words. So, I have another week to kill, it seems.

But then, as I check the forecast, I think that i probably need to get rolling. I look at the forecast for Dallas, Amarillo, Raton (NM), and Denver. It looks like Raton gets nasty on Wednesday. So that means I need to I need to make it to Denver by Tuesday. So, that means Saturday will be riding to Dallas (442 miles). Sunday will be riding to Amarillo (365 miles). Monday will be riding to Denver (431 miles). This gets me home about a day or two before the snow sets in on Wednesday in Raton.

My concern is that, if the weather is nice, I need to be riding, I think, as it's Fall, and the weather can turn pretty bad, pretty quickly, and I don't want to be riding on the interstate on a motorcycle in the middle of a blizzard. Like...no one with any sense would be riding a motorcycle across country in November to begin with. I think I have a small window of opportunity to make it home without dying in a blizzard, so I need to get rolling.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 15, 2019 at 9:04 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 14, 2019

Leaving Columbia

Wednesday Nov 13, 2019

Yesterday, (Tuesday Nov 12th), I go into the office at 8:00 a.m. and start preparing to present my little presentation on Direct Retro. I end up with like a 20 page document.
There's a meeting scheduled at 9:00 a.m. with me and the client.. At 9:00, the client says they're letting me go. They'll pay me for the 3 weeks I worked, and 40 hours for this week, even though it's only Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. And then they tell me that I can leave. As in, they don't expect me to hang around.

So, I collect my things, take a few photos of the office I worked in for 3 weeks (and a few hours Tuesday morning).

I think my first week must have been Oct 21. 2nd week was Oct 28. 3rd week was Nov 4th. 4th week was Nov 11th.

Outside, it's raining, so I ride my motorcycle home in the rain to the rotten Motel 6 at 1776 Burning Tree Road.

Probably, the worst thing about being a consultant is living in a Motel 6. Probably that's the worst part. I rent the room on a weekly rate of like $225/week. So, I have the room for a few more days. I think today is Tuesday and my room is paid through Thursday.

My friend stays at the Hilton just 2 blocks away from the office, and drives to work, and gets parking tickets.

"How do you make any money with your expenses?" I ask her. Shocking.

I check the weather, to see when I can ride my motorcycle back to Colorado. But, just my luck, this huge arctic freeze is gripping the entire nation. It's supposed to be freezing cold all over North America. Down as far South as Pensacola.

I think about riding the bike south, to Jacksonville, and then turn west on I-10. But it just adds too much length to the journey. No, instead, I'll just get on I-20 and head west. I-20 actually comes without about a mile of my hotel. Then, it goes west and passes within a few miles of Madison, MS. Eventually, it sort of peters out in the desert just east of El Paso.

The forecast is not good. It looks to be freezing cold all day.

But what else am I to do? If I stay in the room any longer, there's nothing but rain for the next 3 days after Wednesday. So, staying here really isn't an option. And, it isn't healthy. I need to get out of this little cess pool, in short order.

So I dry all of my clothes really good on the AC/Heater unit in the No-Tell Motel. And I think about riding in the rain in the freezing cold. It won't be fun. Normally, when I ride, if the outdoor air temperature is in the 60's, then it's noticeably cold. Now, this ride is going to be much worse than that. The temperatures look to be freezing across the entire country.

But I just decide to put on pretty much everything I have, and ride on. I think about the Dalton Highway on the way back from Dead Horse, AK. It was freezing cold, raining. 38F. And we rode like that from Dead Horse, AK to Atigun Pass. 170 miles. So, if I did it then, I can do it now. Nothing has changed.

So in the morning, I layer-up with all of my clothes, and clear out of the hotel I've called homes for nearly 4 weeks. Room 224.

On the morning of Wednesday November 13th, at the Motel 6, my odometer reading is 34,339. I gas up next door and leave the area at 10:22 a.m. EDTEST. (Daylight Savings Time ended on Sunday Nov 3rd).

I'm riding down the highway and the temperature shows 39F. It's pretty cold, but with all of my layers, I'm OK. And I hop on I-20 and head west. Ostensibly, my goal is to ride 360 miles to Birmingham, Alabama. I'm really surprised that I'm able to ride the bike in temperatures this low. It's not like I have heated handgrips or anything. And, every time the temperature goes up one degree, I shout out to encourage myself that I can make it. That it's getting warmer. That I'll be OK.

By the time I get to Birmingham, it's 55F, and feeling pretty good. So I decide to keep riding, and try to make it to Madison, or at least as far as Meridian, MS. From Columbia to Madison is a little over 600 miles.

When I get to Meridian, it's solidly dark. But the thing is that there's supposed to be some rain tomorrow. And I REALLY don't want to wake up and ride in the rain in the morning. So, part of me wants to make it to Madison tonight, so I don't have to deal with the rain tomorrow. Thanksgiving is next Thursday. And Jen wants me to be back in Colorado for that. I think. So, I don't want to be doing little 300 mile rides. I'd rather make some progress.

But now, the temperature is falling. And it's dark. As I head west on I-20, eventually the temperature falls down to about 40F. It's so cold that I'm just riding with my right hand, and using my left hand to adjust my riding gear for maximum warmth. It's so cold now that I count down the minutes until I'll be in Madison, MS. I stop several times to refuel during the day. I didn't plan my fuel stops. Instead, since I'm on I-20, I just run until the gas light starts blinking, at which point I have 1 gallon of gas and can go roughly 40 miles, and then I refuel, and take off again.

Finally, I make it to Madison, pull into the back of Mark and Molly's house and call and tell them I have arrived. No one knows I'm in the state. No one knows I've been fired. This is all news.

My odometer is 34,965. 34,965 - 34,339 = 626. Trip A says 625.4. So, we'll call it 625 miles.

At 625 miles, this is easily one of my longest days ever. I have ridden over 1,000 miles a day 3 different times, but this might be my 4th longest day ever. There's not a lot of days where you're riding over 600 miles when it's very nearly cold enough to snow.

Tomorrow, a family gathering at lunch. We plan that I'll make a surprise appearance at 12:00 noon at the Itchiban Buffet, 146 Grandview Blvd, Madison, MS.

Day 2:

Everyone Left. Thr Nov 14th.

When Jennifer and I used to come here, the place was a mad house, but in a fun way. Everyone was running around, playing, riding the golf cart. But now, the kids have all gone and it's very quiet. Peaceful. But all that's left of the kids are the photos on the wall. And, don't get me wrong....I think that's the goal is to raise your kids to be independent and go off and have their own lives. But it's sad when they're gone, too. And all that's left are the photos on the wall and some pets that got left behind.

We change the lunch date from Itchiban Buffet to the Strawberry Cafe in Madison. At noon, Molly and Sarah Lou were to meet Jack. But he's talking to his teachers at school and won't make it. And Molly is running late. So I walk in and surprise Sarah Lou.

Apparently, SL comes up on Thursdays and picks up Kate and Charlie, from different schools, at different times.

I start looking at the ride back, as Thanksgiving is on Thursday, a week from today, and I've got a long ride ahead of me. It took me 3 days to get to Madison on the ride down. It looks like I've got 1,200 miles ahead of me.

The problem with the iPhone.

So, I'm using an iPhone 6S+ to run Waze while I'm riding. It's nice because it shows you real-time traffic updates, police on the side of the road robbing citizens, stopped cars, traffic jams, etc. So, it's a nice app to run. But, it the iphone battery will never stay charged. It loses power until it starts acting up, even though it's plugged into a cigarette lighter on the motorcycle.

This is perplexing to me because I see that the cigarette-lighter USB adapter has power to it (red light shining), and so, in theory, it should be feeding electricity to the iPhone. But, it's hard to see if the iPhone is charging because the little lightning bolt to indicate it is charging is about the size of a grain of sand, on the upper right corner of the iPhone, where the screen protecter is separated from the iPhone by a small amount, but enough that it changes the color of the screen and makes it difficult to see if the little rice-grain-sized electricity icon is displayed or not.

Eventually, what happens is the phone battery runs down to the point that the phone won't operate. Then, it starts acting funny. It says things like ""This accessory may not be supported" or some such nonsense. Or it goes to a completely black screen.

Finally, I plugged it into my laptop and that did seem to make it charge correctly for the first time ever.

So, my iPhone works sporadically at best, on these long trips. Also, I should point out that my jacket doesn't work properly either. I bought the jacket off of someone on Craigslist years ago. It's faded, and torn pretty badly from when the deer hit me on July 5th of this year. So, my riding gear is faded and torn, but also, the velcro that's supposed to hold the neck closed doesn't work, and also, the jacket zipper won't stay up and creeps down as I'm riding in 40F weather. All of this is maddening, but I have no one to blame but myself.

Also, the jacket and pants are not waterproof. So, if it rains, I'm pretty much hosed.

I check the route for my ride back to Denver. I'm surprised to see that I rode this many miles in my first 3 days of that trip:
Day 1: Denver, CO to Amarillo, TX. 458 miles.
Day 2: Amarillo to Tyler/Lindale, TX. 473 miles.
Day 3: Tyler/Lindale to Madison. 334 miles.

Day 1: 458 miles
Day 2: 473 miles
Day 3: 334 miles
Total Miles this Trip: 1,265

So, it looks like I've still got a long way to go to make it back to Colorado.

The forecast for the ride back looks good, finally. Dallas, Amarillo, and Denver all looks good. Mostly clear, sunny, and a high in the upper 50's or 60's.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 14, 2019 at 1:25 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

November 12, 2019

The Coosawhatchie River

I've been down to the Congaree River and the Saluda River in Columbia, South Carolina. I've seen some unusual names in the four weeks I've been here.

When I was riding down to Florida, I passed a lot of signs that were sort of questionable. But then, when I saw the Coosawhatchie River in southern South Carolina, I was like..."oh come on...now you're just making things up. There's no way that's really the river's true name". But, sure enough, there is a Coosawhatchie River. Go figure.

I like eating at Zaxby's, which we don't have in Colorado. If you google them, they say there's one in Denver, but it's in Denver, Tennessee, if you can believe it.

There's cannon-ball strikes on the State Capitol, marked by blue colored tiles. Much of the city was burned by the Yankees under Sherman in the civil war.

It's hard to imagine that there's anything worse in life than living in a Motel 6. It's like the 7th level of hell. Last night, the two in the room above me were fighting tooth and nail and we had to call the police on them. Twice.

Now, someone is up there re-arranging the furniture. Like...it's a freaking motel room. How about you leave the furniture where it is?

The problem with the No-Tell Motel is that it has 3 floors, and the top floor is for smokers. So, I can't get a room on the 3rd floor unless I want a room that smells like an ash tray.

So, I'm resigned to the 2nd floor, which means that there's perpetually some meth-addict up there rearranging the furniture, or flogging his girlfriend.

So they're rearranging the furniture and I'm banging on the ceiling with my motorcycle helmet. Now, mind you, this is my white helmet. Not my blue one. The blue one looks like a grinding stone was applied to the face of it from when the deer hit me on July 5th.

The white one looks much better. It's a little too large for me, but it's good enough for government work.

It rained on me pretty good today on the ride from work (1600 Hampton Street) to the No-Tell Motel (1776 Burning Tree Road).

Eventually, I memorized the password to the WiFi (sc29210). And I learned that my room was 224. I began to scan the stores for food that we can't get in Colorado. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.
So I've got all of my motorcycle gear spread out across the Motel 6 room, trying desperately to get everything dried out before I have to get on the bike again. It's supposed to be very cold tomorrow, and no one wants to be riding a motorcycle when it's cold and wet. Gives me flashbacks to the Dalton Highway.

Continue reading "The Coosawhatchie River"

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 12, 2019 at 12:09 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 5, 2019

A Deer in the Headlights

It's really hard to imagine what my life is like. This is my 3rd week on the project in Columbia, SC. Last weekend, I flew home to Colorado on United Airlines. Debbie and I drove to Charlotte. She flew to Houston. I flew to Dulles International Airport (IAD) and then had a 7 hour weather delay. I managed to leave my motorcycle at work in the parking garage, where I have a permit, but my plates expired 10/31/2019. And I left my passport in my jeans at the Motel 6 I live at on 1776 Burning Tree Road. And my keys in my office at work. So, this meant that, when I flew out, and then came back on Sunday night, that I wouldn't be able to get my motorcycle keys (as they were locked in the office on Sunday night).

And this is sort of what happens when you get spread out over multiple time zones. Like...it's easy to get it wrong. Hard to get it right.

I renew my motorcycle insurance and print out my new insurance cards at home in Colorado. I figure I'll need proof of insurance to renew my registration. So, I take the BMW and head towards Evergreen, CO to renew my plates/registration. On the way, I get a flat tire on Friday in Marshdale, CO going to renew the registration on my motorcycle (my motorcycle is in a parking lot in South Carolina two time zones over). Got the flat tire on the BMW X3 fixed on Saturday. Margie picked me up when I got a flat. Mark gave me a ride to pick up my BMW when they put new tires on it. Margie tooke mt to Evergreen where I get my registration on the bike renewed. Then, on Sunday, I fly from Denver to Charlotte (nonstop). And realize that I won't be able to ride my motorcycle because my keys are locked up on the 7th floor and I won't be able to get into my office until 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning.

Debbie and I are to meet up at the airport in Charlotte and, by the grace of God, we both get in on time, or a little early, and so we meet up, she rents a car, and we head off on a 90 mile road trip from Charlotte, NC to Columbia, SC. I'm driving.

So, she's giving directions and we're rolling south on I-77. It's pitch black dark. No moon. And we're running about 80 mph on I-77 when I see, in the left lane (I'm in the right) the scariest thing I've ever seen. It's a male deer (buck), injured, laying down, in the center of the left lane. (I'm in the right lane going 80).

And I see this buck, with a huge rack. The largest deer I've ever seen, laying in the left lane, head up, alert, staring into the oncoming traffic. How we missed him, I'll never know. Just dumb luck that he wasn't in our lane. I'm sure that a car came along immediately after us and crashed into the deer at 80 mph within a matter of sceonds. But it was too dangerous to turn back. There was nothing I could do to save him, without endangering others.

Of course, the experience is terrying to me, and I'm having flash backs to July 5th when a deer hit me on a 2 lane black top road north of Leadville, just south of Copper Mountain.

As we got closer to Columbia, we saw more emergency vehicles than I've ever seen in my life rolling around. Ambulances. Firetrucks. Everything seemed to be chasing after some bizarre accident, but I was never clear why.

Eventually, I drop off Debbie at her Hilton Garden Inn hotel and she lets me take her rental car to my No-Tell Motel 6 on Burning Tree Road.

There, I check into my hotel. I'm scheduled to check out Thursday, it seems. My door keys won't work, so I get the front office to make them work again.

In the morning, Monday, I ride in to work in her car, pick her up at her hotel, and then we ride 1/2 block to work together. In my office, I find my motorcycle keys, and put my new 2020 license plate sticker on my motorcycle license plate.

So now, I have insurance and registration and a valid parking sticker on the bike. The bike is legal. The BMW has new tires on it and the plates don't expire until January, I think. I still don't have my passport, so I guess that it must be in my jeans back pocket in the hotel. I HATE flying without my passport, because it's a 2nd form of photo ID, which is always a good idea to have if you're flying.

On Tuesday, I ride into work on my bike. I think my motorcycle said it was 50F or so, but it didn't seem that cold and it's only like a 10-15 minute ride anyway. Like, it might be better to get some cold weather riding gear, but for now, it seems like I will be OK. I've heard that it pretty much never snows here, so I should be able to make it through the winter on the bike, it seems.

The only problem I really have now is my riding gear. My gloves and riding pants are basically ruined from when the deer hit me on July 5th. So, if I ever get paid, it would be nice to replace my riding gear at least.

On Tuesday after work, I meet Carlisle out for dinner at The Cock and Bull Pub at 326 South Edisto, and then ride back to the Motel 6 on my motorcycle.

I check my jeans and find my passport in the rear pocket of my jeans at my Motel 6. Lord God this ain't easy.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 5, 2019 at 6:15 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 3, 2019

The Big Picture


The Big Picture
• Pay Calc
• Pay Confirm
• Run the Actuals Distribution Process (PSPPFUND)
• Run Actuals GL Interface (PAYGL02 (and EOP_PUBLISHM))
• Run Encumbrance Process (PAYGL03) - Liquidates Encumbrances

PSPPFUND reads the following tables
And updates

PAYGL02 (Commitment Accounting Actuals) is run to create entries in the PS_HR_ACCTG_LINE table for the data from a given pay run. The PAYGL02 Job also transfers the entries from the table HR_ACCTG_LINE in HCM to the same table in FS via App Engine EOP_PUBLISHM .
As delivered, PAYGL02 relieves encumbrances when processing actuals.

PAYGL03 (Encumbrance processing)
PeopleBooks explaining Direct Retro process. Direct Retro Process

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 3, 2019 at 9:55 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 2, 2019

Creating Retroactive Distribution Transactions Directly

PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 Manage Commitment Accounting

Running the Actuals Distribution Process (PSPPFUND)

The Actuals Distribution process (PSPPFUND) distributes actual earnings, employer deductions, and employer taxes across the funding sources you've established and notifies you when you've exceeded any budget amounts specified on the Department Budget component or when a transaction lacks funding. If your pay period isn't fully contained within a single accounting period, the process also distributes earnings, employer deductions, and employer taxes across accounting periods using the calendar information on the Detail Calendar.

The Actuals Distribution process allocates transactions without funding sources or adequate funding to the department budget's suspense combination code. View these transactions and specify a new combination code on the Review Suspense ComboCode Dist component (HP_PYCHK_DIST_SUSP).

The system processes transactions that exceed their budget cap so long as the funding source has the Allow Overspend check box selected on the Department Budget component. The process generates a warning for these transactions.

After running the Actuals Distribution process, modify actuals distribution using the Review Actuals Distribution component (PAYCHECK_DIST).

To post actuals to your general ledger system, including any changes you make on the Review Actuals Distribution component, run the Actuals GL Interface process.

Creating Retroactive Distribution Transactions Directly
- This topic provides an overview of retroactive distribution transactions and describes how to:

Viewing Retroactive Distribution Messages - Use Review Retro Distribution Messages component to view any messages that are generated by the retroactive distribution process.

To view retroactive distribution messages:

  1. Access the Retro Distribution Messages component, and select the Earnings Messages page, Deduction Messages page, or the Tax Messages page.
  2. View the check earnings line and the earnings distribution, check deductions line and deduction distribution, or check taxes line and tax distribution information of the transaction.
  3. View the message ID and message text explaining the results of the process for this transaction.

Continue reading "Creating Retroactive Distribution Transactions Directly"

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 2, 2019 at 7:58 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink