Houdini & Doyle

May 8th, 2016

There’s a new show on Fox that looks pretty good — or at least better than the usual summer wasteland on TV — and that’s Houdini and Doyle on Fox, starring Stephen Mangan of Episodes as Sherlock Holmes’ creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who teams up with Harry Houdini and London female constable to solve crimes. Check it out:

It still counts

May 7th, 2016

I’m doing what I should have done yesterday: Posting a quick video just so I can say I posted six days in a row.

This is a quintessential Eighties song and video, by a very typical British band. Enjoy!

The Balance

May 6th, 2016

Well, how about that — I’ve posted to my blog five days in a row! As I’ve said recently, in the early days — 2003 and 2004 — I sometimes five times in a day, but these are different times.

And I’m proud to say that the previous four days that I’ve posted were not just some quick-post days. I wrote long and detailed posts each time, at one point approaching 600 words, and often included pictures.

So I earned myself a break: An aforementioned quick-post day.

I was reminded recently of a particularly profound (yet fairly obscure) song by the Moody Blues, one of my favorite bands of all time, so today’s post is that song:

And just for fun, here are the lyrics:

After he had journeyed,
And his feet were sore,
And he was tired,
He came upon an orange grove
And he rested
And he lay in the cool,
And while he rested, he took to himself an orange and tasted it,
And it was good.
And he felt the earth to his spine,
And he asked, and he saw the tree above him, and the stars,
And the veins in the leaf,
And the light, and the balance.
And he saw magnificent perfection,
Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
And he knew he was.

Just open your eyes,
And realize, the way it’s always been.
Just open your mind
And you will find
The way it’s always been.
Just open your heart
And that’s a start.

And he thought of those he angered,
For he was not a violent man,
And he thought of those he hurt
For he was not a cruel man
And he thought of those he frightened
For he was not an evil man,
And he understood.
He understood himself.

Upon this he saw that when he was of anger or knew hurt or felt fear,
It was because he was not understanding,
And he learned, compassion.

And with his eye of compassion.
He saw his enemies like unto himself,
And he learned love.
Then, he was answered.

Just open your eyes,
And realize, the way it’s always been.
Just open your mind
And you will find
The way it’s always been.
Just open your heart
And that’s a start.

It seems to me that this would be a perfect song to play at a funeral. It basically says, “I know I wasn’t perfect, but that’s really not the way I meant to be. Please try to understand.”

I’m really surprised that people don’t regularly request this at their funerals.

Or maybe they do and I just don’t know.

Who still blogs anymore?

May 5th, 2016

So, how about that — I’m posting four days in a row! I think that’s more than I posted all last year!

Back in the heyday of blogging, when it was still new and fresh and a bright sparkling oddity, I posted four times in a typical day. People were actually reading blogs back then, and there a lot fewer blogs.

Now, blogs are yesterday’s news, and what blogs do get read are corporate rubber-stamped eyeball fodder, churned out in a jaded attempt to rack up clicks. A few hardy individuals do still write personal blogs, on topics of genuine interest to themselves and others, but it’s hard to stay vigilant.

Believe me, I know.

crepesAnyway, here’s an example of what I’m talking about: A new food blog, Mockingbird Kitchen, started by my young cousin Mary.

Okay, okay — my cousin’s young granddaughter.

I’m old, are you happy now?

Anyway, check it out, and whenever you run across a blog that’s done with genuine interest and passion, please bookmark that blog and keep going back to it, and leave comments for the blogger.

Otherwise, the click-bait pseudobloggers have already won.

Strokiversary Pt 2

May 4th, 2016

So like I said yesterday, May 3, 2013, is probably when I actually had a stroke, but the first round of symptom checks — Droopy face? Nope. Can’t hold both arms outstretched? Not a problem. Can’t hold a big exaggerated smile? Nope. — came out negative.

what is strokeThe next day, though, I did a little more reading, and found a whole new set of symptoms: Numbness/tingling on one side of the body, severe headache, double vision, loss of balance. Check, check, check, and check.

My cousin Sherilyn is a nurse, and I noticed that she was on Facebook, so I got a quick consultation, and she told me to call 9-1-1 “NOW!”

And thus began my “voyage of discovery”.

This voyage included a week in the hospital — completely miserable — followed by two weeks in physical therapy rehab — much more comfortable, and even enjoyable, as I re-learned to stand again.

On my intake interview, one of the therapists asked what I do for fun, and I told her that I like to play guitar, and she told me I could have a guitar in my room! Also, they let me play video games — mostly Wii Sports Resort — as part of my therapy. So: I had to weeks of playing guitar, playing games, sleeping, watching the first Hobbit DVD on my laptop, and getting pudding whenever I wanted it. I had my birthday halfway through my stay there, but my wife brought me a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, so all in all it was a pretty sweet way to pass the stroke-time.

Bonus points: Bristol got to visit me in the lobby.

Anyway, now it’s three years later, and I still have numbness, tingling and double vision, plus loss of balance and sleep apnea, but hey: Everybody has problems. Mine are pretty minor in the big scheme of things.

My Strokiversary!

May 3rd, 2016

Today is the third anniversary of my stroke, as documented by photos here and here (granted, that last one is mostly about the food in the rehab hosptial — but in my defense, it was pretty good food).

It was actually on the fourth that I was hospitalized, but the stroke was well-established by the time I went to work on the third — and yes, I worked all day under the effects of a stroke — take THAT, calling in sick to work for just “not feeling good”.

All in all, I was very lucky: A friend of my mom’s had a stroke ten years ago, and she still can’t talk. My only lingering effects are nerve pain and numbness, double vision, diminished balance, and sleep apnea. That may sound like a lot, but it’s balanced out by all the slack it buys me when I play the stroke card. “Gee, I’d LOVE to help you move, but hey, the stroke and all …” I even took a cane to the DMV and get escorted to the front of the line!

I figure, we’re all on the path we’re on, and there’s no sense bemoaning it. I’m where I’m at in life for a reason.

Sleep? Study!

May 2nd, 2016

So I recently completed a sleep study — which is to say, I spent two nights at a clinic, hooked up to wires and hoses, watched by an attendant by way of a night-vision camera, and it really wasn’t too bad. I was surprising uncomfortable with the wires stuck all over me, but once I turned off the lights, I was able to get right to sleep.

The reason for all this dates back to the stroke I had almost exactly three years ago (Details to come in the next couple of days! I’m sure you can’t wait!): Ever since then, I’ve experienced extended periods of light-headedness, and pretty much every afternoon or evening I go through a period of just not being able to stay awake. It’s more than just fatigue, but once I get past that couple of hours, I’m wide awake.

And no doctor, not even my neurologist, have been able to figure it out.

But then, about a year ago, when a dental assistant was asking me general health questions, and I told her about the late-day drowsiness, and she said that she was recommending a “sleep study”.

I don’t think I had ever heard that term before, and I just wrote it off as the dentist’s office being under undue influence by the sleep industry.

But then my doctor retired, and the doctor who replaced him (which is a long rant in itself, remind me to rant on it sometime!) recommended a sleep study.

Then my wife and I switched doctors again because we didn’t like the new one (again: it’s cool rant! Remind me!), and the new new doctor recommended … guess! Go on, guess what she recommended!

And about that time, the upward-curving line of medical professionals harping on sleep studies happened to intersect with the downward-plummeting trajectory of my patience with dropping like a freaking rock all the time, so I broke down and signed up.

MIKE & MOLLYAlong the way, friends and relatives told us that I would be amazed at the difference being on a CPAP (a sleep-apnea-fighting contraption) would make in my life. Around the same time, I began noticing that several TV shows (The Last Man on Earth, Mike and Molly, Modern Family) had main characters with sleep apnea and having to sleep hooked up to machines — but it didn’t help that the CPAP was always shown in the context of helping make life a living hell for the person sleeping nearby.

Then, last week, I did my first test-sleep on the machine, and I have to say, I slept really well, and seemed to manage reality better then next day. Also, the machine they had at the clinic was fairly quiet — much quiter than the blaring TV that my wife falls asleep to every night.

So maybe this will work out.

At any rate, I’m getting sick of being on the verge of passing out almost every single day, so I’m willing to try anything.

I go to my doctor tomorrow (and no, not the new-new doctor — she left the practice suddenly and under mysterious circumstances) to get the results, so hopefully new-new-new doctor will be able to, literally, hook me up.

And who knows — maybe the treatment will help me keep my act together enough so that I will go back to posting regularly on here!

“Back to the Future” is Now!

October 21st, 2015

Welcome to the future 2015

It’s Back to the Future day! Specifically, it’s the day we’ve waited 26 years for (and not 30, like they keep saying on the news, because the future wasn’t actually shown until BotF 2 in 1989) to see just exactly how much lamer it would be than the movie version … and it’s pretty lame!

Here is Time Magazine’s tally of the accuracy (or lack of same) for predictions of 2015 in Back to the Future II.

A more detailed look at the predictions:

Here’s what I want: An automatic fruit dispenser And also a Black & Decker pizza rehydrator!

The Cubs win the 2015 World Series! Or is that just in the alternate timeline?

And finally, two things: A collection of the best BotF fan art, and a sampling of fan art from all over the net. Here’s one of my favorites:

bttf

April 18th, 2015

Like I’ve mentioned before, the only time my relatives read my blog is when they’ve said something rude, and want to know if I’ve griped about them.

Maybe even that isn’t enough to bring them in these days. I guess only my traffic logs will tell me for sure …

Presurfer

April 4th, 2015

Here’s another blog I used to check out compulsively, but have slacked off in recent years: The Presurfer. Presurfer is a blog out of The Netherlands, and one of my biggest sources of links in the early days. Check it out!