Nearly eight years ago, on The Motley Fool, I wrote a message titled simply Goodbye, Old Friend. You may still be able to find the original (it was there for many years), though from time to time the folks at the Fool close up the boards, so you might not be able to access it.

Because I was worried about that, I recreated it here on my site just over three years later, so that I'd always have a copy.

The gist of the story was that I had to make the decision on whether it was the right time to put our dog to sleep. I grew up with Ruf-ce-Tuf, but I hadn't lived with him for a number of years, so while it was a tough call, in retrospect it wasn't as bad as it might have been in some other situations.

Recently, it was time to make that decision again with another friend - my buddy Ray. Some of you may remember Ray, as I've posted about him before, perhaps most memorably just over three years ago when he got a slick new haircut for the summer and looked like a puppy again. It was a good day. A really good day.

The other night we decided to take in a show. Not just any show, mind you, but a musical. That alone should be a bit of a warning to you. It's not every day that we go see something different, and it's an even stranger occurrence that we check out a musical. The last show we saw was Mamma Mia! when it came to town last year (not reviewed, since we had seen it already), but before that it was likely Tryst nearly two years ago. That's not to say that we don't see shows - they just don't bring ones to Charlotte that we'd like to see all that often.

So we decided that we'd see the touring production of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. Billed as What Happened Before Dorothy Arrived, that is only partly true - in fact, Dorothy arrives near the end of the show. So if you're expecting a history lesson on Oz, you only get a sampling of that. In reality, you do get a bit of background, and it's well-woven into the tapestry of the earlier tale (which actually takes place after this one), but it's not like it took place years and years before this one. Just be prepared. Other than that, it's not too bad, but make sure you see it at a good venue.

Today, April 29, 2008, marks the 30th anniversary of Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day. Started way back in 1979, this event offers - you got it - free ice cream. What could be better? Well, perhaps a free steak dinner or just giving you free money, but free ice cream isn't bad. According to various sources, there are more than one million free cones given away each year, and many of the company's Scoop Shops have charitable organizations present, which benefit from the extra crowds who gather to enjoy the free ice cream.

The staff at the shops also offer tickets for sale that will get you to the front of the line - these ticketes start for auction at low prices, such as $1, and then frenzied bidding (which is actually not terribly frenzied) ensues, depending on how long the line is. We saw one go for $5. Since the line isn't usually very long, I'm surprised that they make much money in this manner at all. Whatever is raised goes to the charity that's at the shop.

What is probably most disturbing is that a large percentage of the line is made up of repeat customers - people who simply go to the front of the line, get their free cone, then go back to the back of the line to eat their cone while waiting to get back to the front. I mean I get the whole concept of wanting free ice cream and all. But first, that makes people who are actually wanting to enjoy a free cone wait longer and second, it means that the company who is doing something to give back seem like they are stupid for doing so. Talk about taking advantage...

It's that time of year again. For a while now, we've had to suffer through the torture while our favorite teams didn't win The Big One (unless you are a fan of the Giants, that is). Luckily, the game was a pretty decent one, and we got to see the Patriots - finally - fall. Most anyone could enjoy that. Everyone likes an underdog. Though a certain part of me wanted to see the Pats finish the first perfect season since the 1972 Dolphins, it's just as comforting to see it not happen. The Giants played a good game.

Still, for most of us, it means that the long, long summer was upon us, and we had to wait for what seemed like ages before football picked up again. As luck would have it, the NFL draft came along this weekend, and what used to be a mere afterthought has turned into a veritable sideshow. Just look at Keyshawn Johnson. He deserves pages all to himself. Did you see that suit he was wearing? A plaid shirt, pink polka-dot tie, reverse pinstripe suit and what looked like an olive green pocket hankie. I don't care that he played for the Panthers, how good he used to be, the fact that he made (or makes) all kinds of money or that he could beat me up. It looked stupid and was just plain ugly to boot.

As I'm eating lunch yesterday, who should be on the television but the Pope! He's just pulling into Yankee Stadium in his Popemobile - a modified Mercedes that just looks wacky, with an enclosure on the back where everyone can see him, and presumably he is safe from someone who might like to kill him. But just how safe is he?

While he's being driven along, it looks like the enclosure is completely sealed. Until a corner shot shows that his hand is out one of the windows. So obviously it's not totally closed, and one of the seventy thousand or so people in the stadium could try and get something in that opening. Nice.

Just a week ago, my Zonegran dose was bumped up to 500mg. Nothing much interesting has happened in the last week - which is certainly good news, to be sure - so it's time that it go up another pill. That's right, hold on to your hats, it's time for: 600mg! It's really not as exciting as it sounds, but it does bring a change with it.

As I mentioned last week, I'm no longer taking all of my 400mg pills at night. Zonegran does have a longer half-life than Dilantin (or so I'm told), which means that I could take all 6 pills at night, but it just seems strange. That, and that's a lot of pills to take at once, and the Zonegran pills aren't exactly small, you know. So last week I dropped down to taking 3 of them at night and 2 in the morning. Today I picked up an extra one in the morning, so now I just take 3 whenever I'm brushing my teeth. Easy to remember. And I have a monstrous bottle for a month's supply. It's really rather impressive what a 50% bump in dosage will do. I go back in next week for an ambulatory EEG. Turns out that I don't have to have an MRI after all.

At least not yet. That's cool.

Way back on March 8, 2006, I bumped my Zonegran level to 400mg, which is where it's been even since. A little over two years! And everything had been going along just swimmingly. Until Sunday. I don't really know why (or if) the Zonegran has started to be less effective, but after visiting the doctor, we decided that it was time to bump up the dosage a bit.

My best guess is that I've put on a bit of weight - currently I'm hovering around 250 - so for now, I'm going to go to 500mg of Zonegran, and in a week or so, I'll go to 600mg. Rather than taking all the pills at night, I'm going to split up the dosage. While the Dilantin was relatively short-lived, Zonegran lasts longer in the bloodstream, which is good, but I still feel better about spacing it out some. It just doesn't seem right to take it all at night. For the time being, I'm going to take 200mg in the morning and 300mg at night. Then next week I'll take another pill in the morning to bring me up to the full 600mg. Hopefully that will keep me seizure-free.

As if all the fun we had Sunday morning wasn't enough, it didn't end there. Trying to keep things calm, we figured we'd just hang out and do nothing except sit around and decompress. With any luck, by the time the kids did come home and we had to speak to another human being, it would be late in the day and the events of the morning would just be long gone. Unfortunately, someone out there decided that just wouldn't do.

Around noon we were kicking back and watching an old movie when I was visited by yet another unwelcome visitor. At least, I guess that's what time it was, because I really have no idea. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the back of the ambulance, on my way to the hospital. That's right, I had a seizure. Joy of joys - could the day get any better? At least the ride wasn't a horrible one, but I still had to go through the whole barrage of questions in the back of the bus while they determine if I've come out of my stupor. It took a while, but eventually I came around.

The day started off fairly abnormal - I was actually awakened by noises in the hall. That in itself isn't really unusual, as our kids typically make all sorts of noise. But normally, I'm up before they are, which means I make the noise and they have to deal with it. So I'm in the other room reading by the time they really get going. More importantly, however, they weren't home. It was just me, my wife, and the indoor dogs (and they were in the room with us). So noise in the hall is potentially a bad thing.