Michael Robert Milam, MD (19 Nov. 1973 – 3 Jun. 2015)

So, this has been a rough month.  My only brother, and indeed my best friend in the world for all but the first two years of my entire life was suddenly taken from us.  Cancer sucks, people.  It came out of nowhere and took him in just one month from the date of his diagnosis.  One of the cruelest jokes in the universe is an oncologist getting the very disease he has dedicated his life to battling.

After his passing, I decided to Google and see if I could find where others had mentioned him, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this video clip on YouTube from last year describing his new practice at St. Thomas Medical Center in Nashville.  It’s nice to see him and hear his voice.

One moment we shared sticks out for me.  I was trying to make sense of this diagnosis, and asked Mike:

“So, you’re telling me this was just a crappy roll of the dice? You just rolled a natural 1 on a saving throw vs. cancer?”

“Yeah, pretty much. Sometimes, you just get a crappy roll.”

This exchange demonstrates a little-known fact:  Mike was a sci-fi and fantasy geek like me, but his later professional life and fatherhood made it harder to keep up with it all.  Despite this, we always made time to see the latest comic book movies together.  Regretfully, we never did get to see Avengers: Age of Ultron as we planned.  I still haven’t seen it, but  I will when I’m ready.  Mike would want me to see it and would want to know what I thought about the film.

His loving wife Ashley wrote his obituary, which I think captured his spirit well:

Michael Robert Milam, MD, age 41, passed away peacefully from stage 4 gastric cancer in the company of friends and family on June 3, 2015 at Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN.

Professional headshot of Dr. Mike MilamMichael was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 19, 1973. Charismatic and driven, he grew up in Oshkosh, WI, where he made many friends, was elected student congress president, and excelled on the Oshkosh North High School wrestling team. While earning his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, he was involved in the athletic program as a cheerleader, mascot, and athletic trainer. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Michael completed an internship in obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis, a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Vanderbilt University, and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas-M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Michael served as assistant professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Louisville from 2009 to 2012 and practiced at the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, KY from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, he moved to Nashville, TN to establish Saint Thomas Gynecologic Oncology Specialists and to serve as a clinical and research mentor to resident physicians from Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee.

In all the stages of his life, Mike was a leader who drew people to him and inspired others to perform to the best of their ability. He loved his family and was a tireless advocate for his cancer patients. He endured terminal illness with bravery and composure and his trademark sense of humor, unwavering in his devotion to friends, family, and his work.

Survivors include his loving wife of 14 years, Ashley Milam, and children, Jack (9) and Ben (6) of Nashville; parents, Dr. Robert and Carolyn Milam of Hopkinsville, KY; brother, Charles Milam of Hopkinsville, KY; aunt and uncle Helen and William Newton of Shepherdsville, KY; aunt Shirley Milam of Shepherdsville, KY; aunt Jane Milam of Paris, KY; mother-in-law Donna Lile of Nashville; sister-in-law Joanna Lile of Lexington, KY; and twelve cousins.

The family will receive friends on Friday June 12 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville and on Saturday June 13 beginning at 12:30 pm. A celebration of Michael’s life will be conducted immediately following at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (in honor of Mike’s profession) or to Alive Hospice of Nashville.

What D&D Character Are You?

Yes, this sounds about right…and also sounds exactly like the D&D characters I’ve been playing since I was a kid.

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Ranger (6th Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter’s dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger’s Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Give Me Wisco Any Day, At Least You Can Go Sledding

So, I’m having a conversation with one of my friends in Wisconsin, and I got off a little rant about the weather here.  It went like this.  This is a chat transcript, so forgive the tone and style:

Me:  You’re not a fan of snow?

Her:  No. I really dislike winter.  It’s depressing and inconvenient.

Me:  Um…You live in WISCONSIN.

Her:  Yes, I know this.

Me:  Winter isn’t depressing. You know what’s depressing?  Living somewhere where there is no winter.  Like here. Where it swings wildly between 60 and 20 degrees, often several times in the same week…no snow, no ice, nothing but bare trees and mud often so deep you can’t even walk in the fields. So, yeah…give me Wisco any day, at least you can go sledding.

Her:  Ok. I will shut up now. 😛

Now, with that rant out of the way, I need to get back to my efforts to convince the [mythical, nonexistent] future Mrs. Milam that living here is all kinds of awesome.

I know.  Good luck with that.


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This year, I’m thankful for where I am and where life has taken me. Is there room for improvement? Yes. Are there some regrets and mistakes to be corrected? Of course. Stay tuned for those. This could get interesting!

In general blog news, I’m going to try to be less of a frustrated perfectionist and just publish something here from time to time. I mean, if I’m going to take the time to keep the blog software up-to-date and managed, I should at least use it for the intended purpose and actually publish some content.

Time To Get This File Off My Desktop

I’ve had this Word file on my desktop for at least two years called “Blog Stream of Consciousness.” I decided it had to go. It was one of those things you leave thinking “I’ll get to that someday,” but you never do. So, I opened it to see if there was anything worth saving. I was surprised that it didn’t contain what I thought it did. At one time it, was a list of topics I jotted down that I thought I’d write about later. I guess I must have edited it since, because it contained only this passage:

Sitting here at the Lake House, where there is just barely any cell phone coverage and certainly not any Internet service, I’m reminded how our computers have really become nothing more than Internet terminals. Without the network, I’m relegated to using my computer as a media center for movies and music, doing some writing as I’m doing right now, and…

I’ve now deleted the file, and I guess it did serve its purpose, as it did make it into a blog post. The previous sentence contains many occurrences of the word “it.”

By the way, happy Rush day: 2/1/12.

Mac Setups: Mac Pro and a VT220

This article: “Mac Setups: Mac Pro and a VT220,” brought back some memories.

I did a lot of my initial learning about VMS and UNIX on a VT220 terminal back in the day. When I couldn’t find an open PC, I’d opt for the mostly-forgotten terminals along the Clow Computer Lab wall. When your network is in doubt, a hard serial connection will get it done.

I need to keep an eye out for a VT-series terminal at the auctions. This could be a fun little project.

Passed the CISA Exam, now for “Waiting, Part II: The Revenge.”

Today I got the long-awaited word that I passed the CISA exam that I sat for in June.

What is the CISA? It stands for “Certified Information Systems Auditor” and is one of several certifications by ISACA. Note to my pedantic academic friends: Yes, that’s a Wikipedia link back there. Get over it.

I’ll be honest, waiting EIGHT WEEKS for my exam results made me a little stressed, and a perhaps a little saltier than usual. Passing the exam is great, but it’s only the first step in getting certified. I have submitted my application for certification, which verifies my work history, experience in the field and my education. Now, I get to wait…for up to EIGHT WEEKS…again before I can officially use the CISA designation. Sigh.

Post on Facebook, Get Quoted on Federal Computer Week

So, I posted what I thought was an off-hand, throw-away comment on DISA’s facebook page. I was surprised to see my comment quoted in this post at FCW.com: DISA Facebook post causes confusion — Federal Computer Week.

Let this be a lesson, kids: What you post can be quoted and re-posted far outside of the little box you think you’re operating in. I’m just glad it wasn’t anything embarrassing. Not that I’d EVER post anything embarrassing, of course.

Bernie C. Milam, Oct. 28 1928 – Feb. 19, 2011

My Uncle Bernie, my father’s last remaining brother, passed away this weekend.  Uncle Bernie loved staying in touch with family, often calling just to “check in.”  Sometimes, he would call my cell phone and claim he dialed the wrong number while trying to reach my dad, but then want to talk to me anyway.  I suspect he did it on purpose.  The night before he died, he left a message on Mom & Dad’s answering machine, just another one of his “checking in messages.”  I digitized it and saved it.  It’s one of those priceless things.

Uncle Bernie’s Last Phone Message

Uncle Bernie was also a big fan of the Internet, but never really got into those newfangled things like facebook.  He loved E-mail, especially forwarding jokes.  He also was one of about four regular readers of this blog, back when I actually used to update it.  Therefore, it’s only appropriate he gets a mention here.

Headshot of Bernie Milam
Bernie C. Milam

Bernie C. Milam, 82, husband of Jane Anderson Milam, died Saturday, February 19, 2011. He was born October 28, 1928 in Shepherdsville, son of the late Bernie B. and Bertha Wise Milam, and was a graduate of Shepherdsville High School. He was also a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a B.S. degree in Agriculture and M.S. degree in Extension Education. He was drafted in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict and was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant. After completing his tour of duty in Korea, he returned to the University of Kentucky to complete his degree. He taught Vocational Agriculture at Meade County High School before going to work for the U.K. Cooperative Extension Service. He went to Nicholas County as a 4-H agent until December 1957 when he became the 4-H agent in Bourbon County. He served the people of Bourbon County for 36 years before retiring on his 65th birthday.

He is survived by his wife Jane Anderson Milam and three sons, James, John, and Robert (Sonya). There are 10 grandchildren; Christopher, Daniel, Elizabeth, Josh, Adam, Lauren, Alexandra, Justin, Conner, and Matthew. He is also survived by one sister, Helen Newton; and one brother, Dr. Robert Milam.

Funeral services will be 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 22, at the First Baptist Church of Paris, KY. Visitation will be 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday at the church.

Casket bearers will be his nephews, Mike Milam, Charles Milam, Steve Milam, Todd Milam, Kevin Cundiff, Eric Cundiff, Mark Cundiff, Mike Anderson, and Brad Newton.

Donations in lieu of flowers are requested to First Baptist Church Building Fund, Hospice of the Bluegrass, or one’s favorite charity.