Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 draws to a close but not really looking back so much as stumbling forward...

So here is a quick update to the naked diet thing I tried.
The first few weeks were hard but I felt so good and then slowly my body stopped enjoying the new diet. My stomach has gave up on eggs, now they just make my stomach hurt in the mornings to the point my back is in spasms and sharp pains.
I still eat chicken sometimes with peppers, usually with a side of spinach and carrots. I've slowly re-added cheese which doesn't bother me too much.
Bread is hit or miss.
I had been making smoothies with bananas, strawberries, spinach, and sometimes cherries or blueberries but those started destroying me too.
I'm still avoiding going back to the bad habits from before though I do have a few breakdowns and indulge in chocolate or a pint of Culver's ice cream. I can't say that helps the cause but surprisingly it does little to incite such issues as the eggs or the smoothies do.

I've tried a few different recipes which have been pretty tasty but I've haven't seen any marked change for the better. Adding more vegetables to my diet I know has valued effect but not much to curb the stomach issues. Another doctor's visit is in the near future.
As Kurt Vonnegut wrote " So it goes..."

The winter is hitting in full force. But it's Wisconsin so what the hell do I expect.
Lucia is getting so damn smart. Obsessed with Spiderman at the moment. I've tried to introduce her into X-Men but the mutants aren't as interesting. She would rather watch the "web-slinger" or The Avengers cartoons. Makes me very happy even though I've watched the Ultimate Spiderman cartoon about 15 to 20 times each.
We are starting to get to the trying parts of parenthood with her. When she is good, she is a hilarious jewel but bedtimes have become battles of wills which makes me always feel like I'm being overly stern but when we are patient in our sleep rituals she takes every advantage to stretch out sleep time as long as possible. Not sure how many parents agree but I personally feel a firm bedtime is, routine if you will, is necessary otherwise she could be up later than even I'm currently staying up each night.
Though it does leave me excitedly anticipating the next phase when the tantrums are less frequent, not totally sure when that will happen, but I'm looking forward.

Christmas is coming up and although I do not like the whole holiday but I'm not fighting too much about indoctrinating Lucia in the Santa myth. I can't rob her of the magical parts of Christmas that little kids get to experience with the decorating and seeing all the lights. I can do my best to put my ideas aside until she is old enough to understand the world better. Slowly and in small doses I give her more than just the religious implications of the holiday. It's more about fun for her and if that's what Christmas means to her and I suppose I can't argue with that yet. If I were one of those parents who deny her those experiences then I'd be no better than any family who forces kids believing the full religious rigamarole before they have the chance to figure it all out for themselves.
So yeah, done being preachy or whatever.

Last note, the second season of American Horror Story is fucking fantastic. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tired? You don't even know, friendo...

I do not know how some people do it.
Being a stay at home parent in theory sounds like a blast, but in practice I think I would go bonkers. Lucia already runs circles around me the few hours we are together when I get off of work. She exhausts the living hell out of me. I feel really bad about it when she CONSTANTLY asks "please play with me" and it is then basically just her running around the house back and forth while I try to "catch her". And I'm soooooo worn out already.

When I get home from work I am so tired to begin with and most days it takes all my energy to stay awake and cook dinner. Then she has a motor mouth. Saying there is no "quiet time" is the Marianas Trench of understatements. Alot of what she says is pretty damn amusing but the waterfall of whining mixed with questions that are always followed up by "what you say" 5 times until I say "you heard me".  Bedtime is the highlight of some of my nights.
I know this doesn't make me the worst parent in the world but I sure feel that way. I'd love to have that manic energy she has from 5am until bedtime so I could play with (or at very least keep up with) her until she puts herself to bed but I just don't. I feel like I should be one of those guys who had kids at like 70 with a young wife and he just naps while the kid runs around the house like a maniac. And that's sad.

And don't get me wrong, I fully realize how lucky I am to have a little girl who catches on to things so quickly. Miss Lucia Phair is whipsmart for her age. Listening to her hand out candy to trick r treaters and saying things like "I love your costume, Captain America" melts my fucking heart. It's sickly sweet how much that gets me but as I'm sure 90% of parents know that there are times when you wish your kid would ask to go to bed at 5pm and sleep in until 8am the next morning. It also doesn't help that she is at that stage where she will comply with NOTHING we ask of her. "Please stop throwing things" quickly turns into (in mean booming parent voice) "YOU'RE NOT LISTENING, GO TO YOUR ROOM NOW!!!!!!!!!!! with like a million exclamation points behind it. It's not pretty nor fun when repeated calm requests are stone faced ignored. I know this is one of those phases that will probably reappear more than once but right now I want it to end so I can enjoy my Lucia time, rather than only uttering "stop that" every other sentence. So there is my "I feel like a crappy/frazzled/lazy parent" venting.

New diet adjustment... I've been on my new dietary restrictions for about two weeks now. I started earlier than my Nov. 1st start date to ease into it and it's gone pretty good so far. I've broken down a couple of times and snuck in some halloween candy. If it's anywhere near my reach I have a difficult time saying no. I've done really good in some situations where junk food was all around me and I made the healthy choices.
I'm having fun adding different ingredients into my cooking thanks to the help of my cousin Chaffie's partner Jennifer giving me some great recipe ideas and my old friends Michelle and Caroline for support and encouragement. It was good to hear this self imposed diet test thing has worked for other people. And my friend Bari for giving me a massive amount of information to help me start working on my diet test. Much appreciated all around.
I still have major cravings for desserts, not so much bread and that type of stuff. Watching for gluten, sugars, and high fructose corn syrups being added into so many different foods that you wouldn't expect unless you know what to look for has been a pain in the ass. But that's the way the food manufacturers want it so not totally surprising.
Another week and I'll begin to reintroduce a few different foods that I've been missing like cheese as an example. Then go from there. I know there are going to be some foods that I've cut out that I could care less to even bother re introducing.
The big step will be to find out how to make some tasty desserts that won't cause my digestive system to flair up by using alternative all natural ingredients. I'm happy to cut out as much processed foods as I can as long as each meal leaves me feeling satisfied and not hungry again 20 minutes later. But for now baby steps.

Final summation: just keep swimming, just keep swimming. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

When The Music Hits Me, I Feel No Pain At All...

My weeks at work kind of drag, besides that Monday speeds by the rest of the work week crawls, it just slows to "no wake" zone speed which can get tedious so to pump myself pass the time quicker I've started coming up with themes for listening on my iPod.
The first day, Wednesday I started with touchstone albums from my early 20's( 21-25) that happened to be very Victory Records, "Strong Island" era heavy . Taking Back Sunday's "Tell All Your Friends", then Alkaline Trio's "Remains" but only the first half which is comprised of alot of b-sides and song  that were on various compilations which had two of my favorite ALK3 songs, "Queen Of Pain" and "Hell Yes".
Then I bounced back to Brand New's "Your Favorite Weapon" then Against Me!'s "As The Eternal Cowboy". Both Brand New and Against Me! had me singing along out loud and my co-workers probably wished I wasn't. Of course I had to jam to Motion City Soundtrack's "I Am The Movie" which again I couldn't help randomly busting out lyrics slightly off time. I think by the time I finished that album it was near my lunch break and end of the day so I had time for Saves The Day's "Stay What You Are". It was a nice way to end a pretty otherwise shitty day thanks to being struck down with vehicle troubles. That kept me from being able to go into work on Thursday.
Today I took the theme of "essentials/influential". Not really essential or influential to everyone just that had an effect on me and my evolving listening tastes. I cannot remember every album I went through but here are the few I do remember, in I believe as close to listening order as I took them:
Rancid's "Let's Go"
The Clash's "London Calling"
Dead Kennedy's "Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables"
Deftones "Around The Fur"
GlassJaw's "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence"
The Get Up Kids' "On A Wire"
Bright Eyes "Lifted or The Story Is In The Soil So Keep Your Ear To The Ground"
Modest Mouse "Good News For People Who Love Bad News"
and then the last one for the day was Good Clean Fun's "Positively Positive"
Nice way to round out a Friday I think.
So I think I'm going to make this a regular thing. No playlists just browse my albums and see what theme I want to go for.

On another front, after a lot of good advice I have decided to do this Whole 30 diet thing starting November 1st. Now if any of you know me at all, probably haven't seen me eat a vegetable besides maybe a few carrots or mashed potatoes and also watched me eat copious amounts of pizza. My stomach issues have been a yo-yo for a long, long time now and as stupidly obvious as it is, I'm going to try and cold turkey all the shit food I tend to eat.
My regular diet of shit food has been a finely tuned selection of food that for some reason do not make me piss out my ass constantly. Not to say it doesn't happen with these meals, I had just got it to a minimum. Well that doesn't seem to be working anymore so after a chat with a friend I'm going natural.
I've done most of the hard parts already, quit drinking, no smoking, no red meat, no caffeine. Those usually the biggies but the only nook I cannot seem to clean out is sugar. I have an overpowering sweet tooth. It's pretty obscene. So essentially what I am doing is paring down anything with additives, sugars, things with very long hard to pronounce words on their ingredient list.
I will be surviving for the month of November on a diet of chicken, eggs, spinach, carrots, various fruits and some other vegetables that I may be bold enough to try. Oh, no dairy either.  Very tough for a Wisco boy to do but damn it I'm gonna go for it. I quit smoking cold turkey so hells bells, I can do this.
I have been ramping up very slowly towards November like the other day I ate an entire bowl of spinach and carrots without any dressing or cheese. Just a side of pan seared chicken and a vitamin water. Those V.W.'s will be missed but they are just sugar water basically so they are out. Regular water or water with lemon will be the replacement. Possibly peppermint tea, I am not sure if that is allowed yet.
I've tried cutting all of these things out over the years one at a time and never got any positive results but I honestly never thought about ( because I'm kind of thick and anxiety ridden when it comes to food) kicking it all at once. The Whole 30 thing is to give your intestinal and stomach lining a breather so it isn't alway being inflamed and irritated, thus heal itself. If this works and makes and vast improvements then I'll try as hard as I can to keep going.
Also to clarify this is not a diet that I am intending for weight loss purposes, I'm boney enough as is, this is just to de-toxify my digestive system and see if my health issues improve. I'll keep tabs now and again on here I'm sure as I dream of Culver's frozen custard or a Twix bar.

Another big development is Lucia is finally potty training. I'm not going to go all proud parent overboard but it's a big step and one I'm glad is coming sooner rather than later. It's always good to not have to buy diapers and wipes and all that jazz. Its' rather interesting though that I am starting to see my little girl as an actual real person, not just a baby. Her amount of independence and quick wit for a 2 1/2 year old really astounds me. I didn't think I'd be seeing or hearing some of these things she does at this age, I figured she wouldn't be very entertaining until at least 4. Not to say she doesn't throw fits of immense rage over the tiniest of problems but she is getting better. I'm sure it has to do that we are pretty hard on her to behave. Last thing we want is a problem child, one of those little dictators that you have to bend your will at everything for. So yeah thats a thing now.

Lastly I have to recommend to anyone and everyone who owns a Blu-ray player to watch Pacific Rim. I could watch that movie on loop. Its' so pretty, and there are giant fighting man powered robots and massive monsters coming out of the ocean to destroy everything. Great execution, visually and script wise. I think casting was nearly flawless. Seeing Owen from Torchwood cast in this movie was a geek out moment for me then Ron Pearlman shows up and is pretty great. This movie is just fucking fantastic. I shouldn't hype it too much or it's bound to let down. That's what happens to me with most movies that people LOOOOOOVVVEEEE, Sixth Sense for instance, everyone raved about, told me I must see it, I missed it in theaters then my girlfriend at the time rented it for me and I guessed the twist in the first 12 minutes and she got so mad at me. And the movie itself was less than spectacular. So take what I say with a grain of salt, but really, just watch the damn movie.

OK kiddos, I got roped into working a few hours tomorrow morning so I've got some horror movies to viddie before I pass off to dreamland for a scant few hours.
Alright well, don't bump your ass to hard when you hop along now. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

World War Z Is Basically A Bag Of Dicks (spoilers inside)

The only time I have ever been this foaming at the mouth angry after a movie was the Rob Zombie remake of Halloween. But tonight World War Z topped that level of distain.

I should tell you that I have read the book by Max Brooks multiple times as well as listened to the book on tape which is far superior to the movie. World War Z of the book was an oral history that has been written 10 years after the "Zombie Wars". It takes place all over the globe and is very sociopolitical and so dense with detail and personal accounts of the spread of the virus, if I remember correctly it was called Solarium or something close to that. The virus reanimates the brain's basic function,the brain lives enough to control the body and instinctually knows to find food but no blood pumping and the rest of body functions.

The movie however is about Brad Pitt and family. Pitt is an ex UN investigator called back into duty after escaping Philadelphia and then finding their way through Newark, NJ. From there he is sent to investigate what is going on. Pitt's character is made up to be fucking Superman, he survives EVERYTHING thrown at him. He is like fucking NEO from the Matrix minus the computers.
He goes to Israel where they build a massive wall to keep zombies out while getting refugees into the safe zone. They had been fortified for over a week prior to the outbreak.  Within hours of Pitt getting into Jerusalem, a massive sing along starts which attracts all the zombies to one part of the wall and the climb over each other until some reach the top and then it's fucking bedlam. He barely escapes on a Belarus Airplane. Infected is on the plane so he blows a goddamn hole in the hull and  buckles up for the crash.
He and a woman soldier survive MIRACULOUSLY! and make it to the nearest W.H.O. This is where he gets to test out a theory he came up with. That is that zombies ignore people who are terminally sick. The virus needs a healthy host. Sure enough it works to camouflage him from zombies noticing him.
One man CAN make a difference. And then the sentimental bullshit that he reunites with his family in a refugee camp in Nova Scotia. Total fucking waste.

My problems with the movie first and foremost is the only thing really in common with the book and the movie is the title. I hope Max Brooks made some fat cash on selling Brad Pitt's
production company two words and one letter. I know "movies are never as good as the book". For the most part I subscribe to that way of thinking going into movies based on books but this was a bridge too far. It fucking sucked.

Problems with the movie:
*the zombies or infected since they aren't DEAD dead, are like fucking cheetahs. They're leaping and attacking is fast, furious and very much animalistic. Classic post-Night of The Living Dead zombies are slow and are more a swarm that overwhelms or surprises its victim. These movie zombies which are freshly dead as this outbreak takes place within a few days span when it goes worldwide BUT, most of them when you actually get to see one is already in an advanced state of decomposing. The book has the slow hive-like zombies.
*The movie zombies were basically rip offs of the Jurassic Park velociraptors. Nearly same sounds to call others, hunted nearly the same. It was fucking stupid.
*The one man on a mission spin on the script was fucking terrible, it could have been Bruce Willis doing Die Hard 6 with zombies the way they made Brad Pitt nearly bulletproof.
*The sentimental crap of calling his wife and her calling at the precise time Pitt was on a mission that required absolute silence.
 *The Philly scene had many many shots ripped off from the beginning of the Dawn of The Dead remake.
*Zombies have superhuman strengths, they should be dead(ish) and maybe can run the first day or two but then ligaments would break down leaving them shuffling or crawling.
* The shaky camera work when the attacks took place. You see almost no blood and guts throughout almost the entire movie. I can concede that when they did close up on the zombies later in the film the make up department earned their money.
* So much wasted source material

I have never written a script but if I were going to set the guidelines for adapting the book of World War Z which horror hounds were nearly blowing their loads hearing the news it was becoming a movie, I would do my best to do the book justice.

My version:
First it needed to be a trilogy from the start, filmed all at the same time much like Lord of the Rings was. Then stagger the release for each film.

* FIRST FILM would begin with a disclaimer reading that this was the stories of survivors of the Z Wars unchanged from their own accounts of events. How the movie(s) serve as a reminder to the future how quickly things can breakdown.
*Sparingly voiceovers of whoever was telling their part of the story would fade in and out.
*Then before the full credits and title card with the Patient Zero and his victims are being checked by a doctor in China mountain area where he makes a call to a friend in the Government who sweep in and thats when the title card splashes the screen.
* The first part of the movie will be about the "Great Denial" no one knew what was really happening and that caused massive spreading.
* We would get quick glimpses of survivor stories that would actually be fleshed out in the following movies. The mayhem all over the world shown in snippets.
* The second half of the movie would be the military's ramp up to the Battle of Yonkers, where they had conventional weapons, the helmet cams,  how they were dug in trenches on the streets as the hordes made their way toward the soldier's position and how the weaponry and tactics absolutely failed.
*End the first movie with a massacre on the streets of Yonkers.
* SECOND FILM would open on the bodyguard who was working the celeb reality apartment in New York. Where it was fortified and stocked, all the celebs acting like complete dicks while the entire apartment was being broadcast live 24/7. It gets attacked by people looking for safety and all hell breaks loose.
* this leads right into the stories of The Great Panic, maybe a bit about the ship graveyards on the shores of India, Americans fleeing to Cuba and their internment camps, the girl whose family fled north above the freeze line, show how America was split by the zombie hordes
* The Reddecker plan being explained and implemented in certain countries
* The end of film two is again the military gearing up for another battle this time in the desert, showing the robotic precision to take down a million zombies over the course of a night, show the new weaponry (the LOBO, S.I.R. and the P.I.E rounds), the zombies slowly climbing up the mountain of corpses on all sides. Show the platoon encircled by the wall of dead zombies and getting bulldozed out. A huge victory to end film two
*FINAL MOVIE would be about the sweep across America that lasted months going from west to east clearing all the zombies they come across.
* Quislings, L.M.O.E.'s and the feral children the sweep comes across.
* We can hear from the VP and Israelis about how they dealt with the zombies and the war effort to eradicate them.
* Late middle of the movie is the march on New York taking that back and then a shot from across the river after Victory day was declared
* Last film ends with Todd Wainio a soldier from all three battles 10 years later talking about how the world will never be totally safe from zombies as they pop up out of lakes, the ice, the oceans every know and again but the world has adjusted. Maybe a quick mention that Greenland is one of the last countries to still be dealing actively with zombie eradication.
* Fades to black and then a picture of each person who contributed their stories and a small blurb under each one about them, where they were, who they lost to the zombie outbreak, stuff like that.

Now that would do the book and its fan some real fucking justice. Yes, it would be expensive overall but cut way back on using CGI like this movie did and go with conventional make up and practical special effects and that would keep costs down.
I was seething while watching this trash bucket of an excuse for a zombie movie.
I hate it with all my heart for the potential that was gutted and wasted from such a dense and engaging book to come up with this booger collection of a movie.
FUCK YOU BRAD PITT, FUCK YOU MARK FORSTER, you screwed the pooch on this abortion of an attempt. to adapt a great modern piece of literature
I really do wonder how much money Max Brooks made off that title. The studio sure as shit didn't pay him for the content of his book.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bye Bye Baby Blue...

So after the finale I couldn't stop thinking about it.
I haven't read any of the other reactions to end of Breaking Bad besides where someone said the Badfinger song "Baby Blue" that came on over the last scene was laughable. And I took issue with that. And that got me started and here's my take after seeing the final episode only once but I have watched the rest of the season once or twice. This is my scatterbrained theory on Breaking Bad as a series as well as the finale culled from notes I scribbled down while at work.
First I have a theory that Walter White's cancer never went away and he knew it the whole time.
The series takes place in just over a year seeing as how Walt found out about his cancer during the school year and it is mentioned a couple of times through the last season how he amassed $80,000,000 in a year( though he was robbed of nearly 70 million of it.) Then when he returns from hiding it is winter time, supports the one year span of the series.

At first Walter was cooking as a way to cover health costs and have his family provided for but once he realizes the cancer isn't going away it becomes about him what he leaves behind when the cancer takes him, about cementing his legacy. His legacy as Heisenberg with the wanted posters that look just like him with glasses and a hat. Almost reminds me of Superman hiding his true identity behind a pair of glasses. Throughout the series he randomly dons the hat which I was always taking as almost a dare to the rest of the world to realize who he really is.
That's when Walt starts to enjoy the thrills of not knowing what is going to happen next all while building his reputation as a master cook. I don't think he even cares what he is making, the fact he can use his science knowledge to make people fear and respect him is exactly what he needs.
The cancer frees Walt of guilt and the morals that bind everyday society into behaving and as a man of science it seems like Walt doesn't believe in an afterlife so he can justify his actions as not being counted against him after he dies. He is just concerned about the time he has left on Earth.
This also explains why he becomes so non-chalant while they are taking breaks while the meth cooks (eating his lunch while watching television in the tented houses) while Jesse becomes so up-tight.
Its an interesting reversal in their relationship from when Walt was so wound up when they first started cooking and Jesse had the "it's no big deal" attitude. As their time wore on together Jesse loses his freedom and gets trapped in his role as cook's assistant (and later the chef himself) along with being racked with the idea of having to live with the guilt for the rest of his life from everything Mr. White and he did to sustain their meth business. Walt gets more and more relaxed as time goes on because he know whatever he does in a few months or maybe year all that will matter is his legacy and leaving his family financially stable. What he does along the way is just problems he solves which makes him feel more powerful after every time he bests whoever is known as "the best", like the drug dealers in the first season or when Walter gets rid of Gus. You can see it when he is so happy he takes over in the absence of Gus when he says they are working for themselves now, no one is telling them what to do.
I back that up by when Walt tells Skyler comes clean and tells her everything he did was for himself. That he "felt alive" when he was going taking on rivals and evading Hank and the D.E.A.
Whenever Walter started peacocking in front of Skyler leading into straight up scaring her, it was to feel that power especially since he felt so weak from getting cancer on top of missing out on the windfall from Gray Matter business, which he helped start. He wanted Skyler to understand he wasn't acting out of fear and weakness but that he was actual the mental superior to so many scary BAD people. In the beginning he was almost emasculated that he came THIS close to being rich and instead living a hum drum life struggling to make bills (him working two jobs). Finally he got to prove he was powerful all along.
Also their relationship highlights that theme of Walt living free knowing he had little time left, especially when Skyler ends up having Ted, her former boss paralyzed after first trying to help him out but it all went wrong and she was crushed by the guilt of knowing what happened to Ted was her fault.(A case could be made that Ted's actions and greed was truly the cause of his own injuries.) Skyler becomes a shell of person knowing she caused harm to one person while Walt justifies and sometimes straight up shrugs off the numerous people he had killed.
Then the Walt/Jesse dynamic was another way for Walt to feel superior, not in the way of easily to manipulate Jesse into working with him or unknowingly running interference for him while he let his plans play out. Its pretty telling that Walt picked a former student of all people to help him make meth which made him feel like a successful as teacher in a way he felt he never really reached his students before. It another layer of his ego getting stroked.

Then there is the finale was him making amends, well as much as he could anyway, considering all the collateral damage left in his wake. Him getting out of the meth game in the last season was because he wants to end life relaxed and not having to look out for new threats up until his last breath.
Things get fucked and he watches everything he built crumble around him causing him to flee. But while up in the mountains across the country he knew his the cancer was about to take him anyway so he comes "home" to restore his legacy and reputation before he's dead.  Skyler gets a bit of closure, he knows his family will be financially stable after he's dead, Jesse is finally free to try and get some peace. Walt gets his revenge on who robbed him. Which brings me to the song over the last scene.
The song isn't referencing all the bad things he did or everyone he hurt on his rise to meth kingpin, if so then yes it could be seen as funny as I've heard some found it.
Instead it's used as an ode to his blue crystal meth that is his legacy.
Yes the first line of the song is " i guess I got what I deserved" which could reference him about to die ultimately from his actions as a drug kingpin. I think the fact that he is walking around the cookhouse based on HIS formula reflecting on everything that went into coming up with that blue crystal meth formula, his baby.
The song starts right around the time Walt would be hearing the police sirens coming his way. He is happy in the knowledge that though he is about to die, he dies surrounded by the blue meth kitchen which would confirm to everyone that he indeed was Heisenberg without him having to answer for all the evil he did in that final year of his life.
So this is why I think this was a fitting finale, I will admit that him coming back to town and doing what he can to "make things right" is a bit cheesy but it fits his M.O. which by what he does in the final episode leaves him in the best light possible to be remembered in, cementing his legacy to his family (minus Hank's wife, even though she gets to find where Hank is buried from the knowledge Walt gives Skyler) as a provider and a faithful husband.
Walt going out the way he did is the ultimate ego stroke.
Heisenberg never got caught by the cops, he got away with it.

Ok so that is my half cooked theory. Going back and filtering the show through the "cancer never went into remission" mindset and it gives the series an extra little weight. Again this was thrown together with notes I wrote in between doing actual work. Its totally possible that I missed the point of the show completely.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Neferious September Slump of 2008, 5 years later.

I didn't even realize that today is 9/11 and i'm pretty ambivalent the whole thing. I'm more interested in events from 5 years ago this month.
I lost my grandfather to cancer, moved into a two bedroom apartment dubbed "310 to Yuma" because it was apartment 310 and we had a poster of the remake behind the door. I moved in with Carrie Royce.
And how we got fired on the same day( make me think of that line in "Float On" by Modest Mouse) after I came back from my grandfather funeral. I think we drank that night. That was a shit ton of stuff to happen in the first two weeks of September 2008.

Firstly, I started the month in the middle of a week long vacation from the movie theater I was working at so that I could pack my old studio apartment on Stevens Square further uptown in the 2 bedroom place with my co-worker Carrie. I also used that week to go to events surrounding the protests of the Republican National Convention that was taking place in St. Paul at the Excel Center. Saw a couple concerts including a Labor Day fest where Atmosphere, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg among a few others played in a park right across the river from the Excel Center. It was a bitch getting there because of all the guards with assault rifles and the "God Hates Fags" comedy troupe( oh wait, that's right they are very serious, hard to tell). It was even more difficult coming back across the river because even with our bikes the police had closed every bridge with full on roadblocks but we found one that let us sneak back across so we could go home.
So there was that.
Like I said I was moving to a new apartment so I took packed up the last of my junk and then took a shower waiting for the landlord to come and do the final inspection before I handed over my keys. Then it was boxes and boxes and more boxes to go through in the new place. It was a pain in the ass moving my couch and huge bed up the three flights of stairs. I let Carrie have the bigger room of the apartment( i ended up taking over the living room 90% of the time so that was a small concession on my part)

Then I got a call from my mom that my Grandfather who had terminal cancer and was in hospice care at the time I believe, anyway she informed me that my Grandpa wasn't doing to well and I asked if I should drive down to Des Moines to see him but she told me that he didn't want visitors.
So I sat on my bed letting that news sink in. It wasn't terribly long after that she told me he had passed away. I was kind of stunned the way I assume most people are when they get that kind of news. Then I started to feel really bad because I couldn't remember the last time I saw him. It had been over a year at least. I felt totally shitty.
After I was composed enough I called my boss to let him know what was going on. I was on my last day of my week long vacation. This was September 4th. I had to let my boss know that I had to go down to Des Moines for the funeral and I'd need another 2 days or so. He was very nice about it, understood and that was that.
If I remember correctly I drove the 3 hours plus down to Wisconsin to pick up my mom then the 6 1/2 hours from Lodi, Wisconsin to Des Moines, IA. My brother who was still in the army( prior to being kicked out) flew in the next morning. My Uncle Dave and Aunt Lola's house was kind our general gathering place for those few days.

One thing that made me feel like such a terrible grandson, his first born grandchild, was when I saw that the rest of the family had started this remembrance list of quotes and other funny things my Grandfather always said. I was asked if I wanted to add to the list and I drew a complete blank. I had nothing. All I thought was how I hardly knew him.
We visited nearly ever summer when I was in elementary school up until I was in middle school. Every year we drove down to spend a weekend with him and my step-grandma I guess you'd call her. We'd swim in the backyard pool or go to the Wakonda Club where they were members. Sometimes we'd come see him at Storey-Kenworthy, the family business, where he would have a silver dollar for each of us.
After I hit middle school we didn't go down any more.
My Grandfather would come up to Wisconsin to visit us usually around Memorial Day. We'd go to the same restaurant on Lake Wisconsin for dinner, the he would golf with my Dad, then the morning he left we would have breakfast at the Downtown Cafe. I never engaged him in any meaningful conversations. My parents ( my Dad mostly) would make sure we were on our best behavior when he was down so I never felt like I could say a whole lot except what was going on in school and other small talk.
Never anything in depth.
It was my fault that I didn't know much of anything about my Grandfather except I was told that my Dad's parents disliked each other which was the excuse as to why only my Grandmother showed up for my high school graduation though they both came to my brother's graduation to my confusion from the information that I was knew about how the two of them felt about each other.
What I mean by it's my fault, is when I was 16 I had a car. Gas was cheap. I could have easily driven down anytime during the summer to visit. I could have done it whenever I wanted after high school but I was too wrapped up in my own life. It's what happens i guess. He always sent birthday cards. He was always very jovial when he did come see us. Always had a big, huge grin nearly the whole time. Thats what I remember of him.
I should have asked him more about his life, World War II, the family business, anything. But I never did. My family didn't know him as intimately as the rest of my Dad's side of the family and I still feel bad to this day about it. It's on us, or me that I have such limited memories of him.
It was hard hearing everyone talk so lovingly about "Papa", having these great stories of times spent with him. And I didn't have any to share. Honestly that was extremely embarrassing.
The rest of the time down there was when not talking about my Grandfather, they were asking my "brother" about being in the military. From what I was told both he and my Grandpa trained at the same military base. The funeral was just as sad as when I was at my Dad's but this time I didn't have anything I could say during it. I didn't feel like I could make eye contact with all the people who came to his funeral because each of them knew more of Jim Kenworthy Sr. than I ever have or will.
That feeling really sucks.
I got far too wrapped up in my own life being too selfish to remember that family is important and I should have been a better grandson.
I drove Mom, Dakota and myself back to Wisconsin. Trying to be brotherly, I had my "brother" switch where he was flying out of back to where he was stationed from Milwaukee to Minneapolis so I could spend time with him. That whole time was awkward and not nearly as fun as I imagined it would be.

So I have returned back to Minneapolis on I'm thinking it was a Friday because I went back to work that Saturday night?(i think). I worked two shifts at the theater where new owners had just taken over just as I was taking the start of my vacation. I was told they were sitting each of the employees down to have a talk to get to know the employees and what improvement ideas we could bring to the table. I never got that chance to impart my ideas.
On that Monday the 8th I believe I got a phone call waking me up around 10-ish. It was my boss letting me know that I was being let go and he was very sorry and it wasn't his choice. I was taken aback a little but said I understood, last hired, first fired.
I walked out of my bedroom to tell Carrie who was sitting in the living room and just as I got half way through telling her what just happened, her phone starts ringing. She looked and announced to me that it was from the theater. She answered and got the same explanation as I did. I think she might have cried a little. One thing I knew for sure was we drank that night. I also discovered that another manager other than myself was shit-canned, the illustrious "Rock n' Roll" Ray Whalen. We were the three kicked to the curb while a few other  employees who by work ethic should have gotten the ax instead of us.

So here I am the first week into my new year long lease and both people occupying this apartment no longer had a paycheck coming through. It was a shit situation which we somehow made work for two years before I had to make plans to move back to Wisco.
In those two years I had some of the best times of my life some that I wouldn't have had if I were still working at the theater.
September 2008 was a depressing time, a bottom out of sorts and it was a blast on the way back up.

Final Summation: 5 fucking years on... 9/11 doesn't mean shit to me. 9/4 does.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beyond The White Wall

I didn't think this would happen.
I'm hooked on Game of Thrones. I wasn't a huge fan of Lord Of The Rings and most medieval movies. I suppose its lot like when I tried to avoid The Harry Potter craze but I succumbed and it's pretty much what has happened with GoT.
The show is so damn addicting. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fashion Comes Easy When Your Office Has Air Conditioning

So the *(correction) Pres. of where I work told me I was "scummy looking". That's a fucking morale booster.
Every pay day the guy comes by and hands everyone their check personally as a sort of "the company cares" deal. Which is nice because they generally know who all the workers are by first name and not just because the name is on the check.

This past week has been brutally hot if anyone didn't know. I've done my best to stay cool in the stifling, syrupy thick air of the warehouse. Brought a big fat 1.5 liter of ice water and I wore shorts and a tank top.
Even in those I was battling heat exhaustion the entire 5 days. I almost threw up numerous times during and after work.
I rarely sweat which makes being hot very difficult. This week I was so overheated that I was sweating a lot! That indicates to me that it's not just normal hot, it's insanely stupid hot.
Monday I wore my company shirt which is lighter than cotton and is suppose to breathe better. I was dying, nauseated, dizzy, exhausted.
It was bad.
So the rest of the week I wore some tank tops, nothing vulgar or anything. Run of the mill shirts that helped give me a modicum of relief. Yesterday the Veep came through the warehouse and I guess noticed that I wasn't wearing a company shirt. Neither were a few other of my co-workers, they had random t-shirts that were cut offs as opposed to tank tops made for summer wear.
Today when he comes through I was working on shipping some boxes so I didn't notice him coming until he was right next to me and gets even closer but not quietly says very very dryly "two days without wearing a company shirt?"
To which I replied, "well, it has been pretty hot back here."
Not what he wanted to hear from me.
He seemed to expect me to apologize profusely for my mistake by what came next.

First he gave me the line about being a team and the company shirts are part of that team.
To that point, I agreed with him that it made sense and told him as much. But then he went into how yesterday there were "important clients" that came through the warehouse ( i saw them taking a tour and they didn't take a second look at the workers, they were looking at the storage space for product) and since I didn't have my company shirt on I was "scummy looking" and gave the impression I was some part- time scrub who didn't care... and he kept going with more insults about my looks but I began shaking with rage at being insulted straight to my face and there was nothing I could do about it if I enjoy having a steady paycheck.
My face was burning and not because of the inferno like conditions.
I was just staring at his mouth not knowing what I should say in response.
I was just stunned that I was being talked down to in such a way.
Next thing I heard him say was to talk to someone in the front office if I need more shirts.
All I could muster was "ok then" through my blinding anger.
THEN he, instead of handing me my pay stub like he does EVERYONE else, he put it down right in front of me and as he walked away said "I'm not saying this to be a hard ass" with a delivery of a robot.
Actually YES, that is exactly the reason you went on after I agreed with your initial point.
I've seen him come down every now and again previously and check if I am wearing company clothing.( I always bring my hoodie with the logo on it but it gets too hot after a half hour of being there.) Most days I try to until they get smelly and MUST be laundered.
I was fucking pissed.
Not only by the condescending and insulting things he said to me but that he was so damn close to me and wouldn't even HAND me my pay stub. It was a total bullshit move.
I looked back after a few minutes at one of my co-workers who had been wearing a shirt with cut off sleeves with the huge logo of some local bar. All of a sudden she had on a shirt with the company logo. She obviously saw him before I did and said nothing. Then as soon as he left she was back wearing the cut off bar shirt the rest of the day.
Just fucking stupidity.
Putting aside the actual insult to how I look, those "important clients" he mentioned walked right past our work station NOT looking at us. And I can venture a pretty damn good guess that had they seen me in a normal tank top they wouldn't have said "wow some of these workers aren't in company shirts, maybe we should rethink doing business here".
I'm going to guess that like any rational person walking into a work space that is hovering around 100 degrees they would be more apt to think: "Man, its hot as hell in here. Glad I don't have to endure this on a daily basis."
And my second point is that I work in a warehouse.
Specifically NOT to deal with the general public.
I choose to work in a shitty, hot, no air flow tin hot house so I don't have to worry about how I look.
I as well as any of my co-workers should be cut a little slack on our choice of shirts if it is going to keep us cooler on scorching humid swamp ass days like this week which would allow us  to be more productive hence better for the company.
I totally get dress code and the reasons for it but mid August is exactly the time that exceptions should be permitted.

Also the warehouse is the ONLY spot in the entire massive layout of the building that doesn't enjoy even the slightest benefit of air conditioning. The second you walk from any other walkway that leads to the warehouse, it is immediately 10 degrees cooler at least. Not to say that working in those other areas doesn't get hot because you know, you're working. The body tends to get hot doing any type of work. But us warehousers get no relief unless you are within 4 feet of a fan or have something cold to drink. Those are temporary solutions though.
I would not normally complain about working in a warehouse because it's obvious that you have to deal with the more extremes of temperatures. I've been working in this field for two years or so. I don't mind working in these conditions because I've chosen to do so.

What I fucking hate is when men who get the privilege of spending 99.98% of their day in air conditioning talking shit to the grunts in the trenches. Part of me thinks that it's because I stand out thanks to my colorful art-filled skin that I'm an easy target but I cannot be sure.
I don't know what I can do about how I was talked to, probably nothing seeing as how high up the food chain the person insulting me was so I vent on here.
Obvious advice is : start wearing a company shirt no matter what. And yes, I plan on that. I just hope that if I have to do so in weather like this past week, I randomly collapse at my post from heat stroke. About the only way my point could be made without my risking my job security. I like my job but I do not like being treated like I was today.

OK I got that out. I can drop it now and move on fresh come Tuesday.

And in an hour or so I begin the drive up north to the lake cabin. And fun time with my wife, daughter and In-Laws.

Final summation: If you work in the freezer, don't tell what's cooking in the frying pan to put a lid on it. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Duluth to Madison...Treatment Bound

First thing I noticed when watching Die Hard is that it was filmed when you could still smoke in airports. I realized that before I noticed that Bruce Willis still had hair.

I had been having a hard time seeing while driving to work, bad enough that I had to pull over until it passed. It was like not being able to keep both my eyes open at the same time because when I had them both open thats when my vision would go double or just plain screwy. So I went in to the doctor last week to see what the hell is going on with that. As an aside I also mentioned that I had lost something like 20 lbs in the last 4 months give or take. Anyway, I go in to see a nurse practitioner since my real doctor was booked up a month out. Before I get to even see her, they do a vision test on me and i apparently have pretty damn good vision so when I do see the N.P., she dismisses my concerns with my eyesight episodes since my vision test was great. Instead she focuses on my weight loss which seems to have been 12 percent of my total body mass. After the normal questions with no red flags I get sent down to the lab for blood work to check my thyroid as well as normal body  functionality tests and then sent on my way home.
I got a call then next day to tell me that they found nothing. 30 dollar co-pay to be told they don't know why my eyes go crazy every now and again or why I'm down the weight. I've been doing warehouse work for over two years so the exercise isn't spurring the change nor is a change in what I eat since I already have to be careful what I eat. Nothing I can figure as to what the hell is going on and neither can the professionals.

Got brought into my boss's office last week and got talked to about the amount of time I spend in the bathroom at work. Pretty fucking embarrassing being asked if I have a medical condition( i do) but even more so hearing that a co-worker was the one bitching to my boss about it. It's not something I can really control. Some days I get attacks worse than others. Now I just put my head down, my iPod on and push through my work days as best I can.
Just another reason why I spend two dollars a week on lottery tickets. That tiny hope that one day I don't have to put up with humiliation like that anymore.

I was going to write up a huge thing about the latest shitty stuff my Mother's other son has pulled but then I came to the conclusion that it's not my place to tell put him on blast for everyone who may or may not know him as much as I would like to. Anyone who needs to know the story probably already does and if you don't, you might hear about it down the road. Honestly it isn't worth my time as the antics aren't really new just a ramped up version of past stupid shit. Nothing changes just gets worse so I'm done bothering with it.

Flip it to the positive flow now.

Suzy and I had a really relaxed albeit not terribly romantic anniversary this year. A trip to Menards then Best Buy to pick up Wayne's World and Die Hard on Blu-Ray then dinner at Friday's. It was nice to have the time to go out spend time together, just her and me.
Thanks to my sister and brother in law watching Lucia for us.
We didn't do anything on our actual anniversary this was done the saturday prior. Our anniversary fell on a Monday so after working all day both of us just wanted to lay around and watch TV when Lucia went to bed. I'm going to have to start planning something special for next year. No clue what that might be but it's a project for me and I've got a whole year to toil away at it.

Going to be spending next weekend up with the In-laws at Pelican Lake cabin. The last time I was up there was Suzy and my honeymoon. Lucia's been up there more than I have but it also might be our last time since it might go up for sale sometime soon.
By the forecast, its going to be a perfect average late August weekend. Hot as hell which should be great to go out for a boat ride and maybe a swim in the lake. It will be nice to get away for the weekend.
Two weeks after that Adam and I will be going down to Chicago on that Sunday for Riot Fest which more than anything is for me to get the chance to see The Replacements( Tommy, Paul and two of Paul's solo touring band regulars). This will be the year I get to cross off the last two musicians I wanted to see before I die ( Paul Westerberg and Willie Nelson respectively). So excited. I guess you could say I can't hardly wait.

Also in mid September the new Grand Theft Auto is being released. I'm saving up so I can get it and I believe Adam is getting it too so we can use the online multiplayer together. Its the little geeky things in life that make it so worth living
Then I get four days in October off because we don't have anyone to watch Lucia so I get to burn through some PTO which will be really nice.
Paid to sit at home with my daughter. More than happy to take it.

Final summation: "Explosions are the most boring part of my day"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bunker Buster

I've been in Geekville alot rewatching Lost from the beginning for the third time. Last time it was when I was home with Lucia, back when she was a newbie, between jobs.
I still dig it just as much as the first time I started watching the series.
I've done Doctor Who to death waiting for the newest season to be added on N.I.
I've had enough Mad Men for quite a while. I pretty much hated the new season of Arrested Development save for a few parts here and there.
Twin Peaks, once was enough.
Breaking Bad is edge of my seat stuff but now I have to wait until the Monday following to watch new episodes, I'm not so good with patience that's why I have found ways to NOT have cable yet see new episodes of shows and PPV's through my computer onto the big screen. "If you stream it, they will come"
In case anyone is curious Geekville is our basement which is more of a viewing room. I think I've mentioned before, it's like Margaritaville but for laziness instead of dumb, drunk assholes in Hawaiian shirts.
After a physically and mentally taxing work it is probably the best place to be.
And I love my bed, thats how much I like it down here. In fact, I probably have committed 4, borderline 5 of the seven deadly sins down here. That may be a liberal interpretation and I have no plans on naming them here. I'd say they are the most harmless ones but if its like a deadly sin doesn't that by it's very nature render it harmful? Not that I subscribe to that nonsense but I glanced over and saw my copy of Se7en and it made me think for a second. "That's heavy Doc"

Music Time works down here too thanks to plugging my iPod into my sound system. I hate I cannot find all the components to my record player so my albums sit sadly staring at me. Eventually I'll root around my mom's house to find all the wires and shit needed to get it up and running. I had a tiny record player for a while but something in the motor broke. It was one of those vinyl, cd player, tape deck old timey looking ones but it sounded like absolute shit, too fast and somehow too slow all the same time. I have no clue how that is even possible but it was. Wasn't too sad when the motor just stopped spinning.

Geekville is perfect after a long day lifting boxes and putting books into other boxes. Only thing better would be if there was one of those therapeutic whirlpools in range of the TV. But it's good enough for my decompressing time after Lucia goes to sleep. And most every other time I get a chance. Which is probably too much.

Every good thing has it's drawbacks. Suzy's not a fan of basements in general but even though ours is completely finished and dehumidified, she doesn't like coming down here. Plus she isn't a huge fan of what I watch so unless Lucia is down here playing with her toys then she sticks to our bedroom mostly. Sadly the actual upstairs sitting room doesn't get much love. The walls are too bare up there for me. I like looking at things hanging up, I haven't gotten over that "teenage cover every inch of your walls with your favorite things" phase. Not sure I ever really will.

Also during my decompress time I the choice to play video games and I've been meaning to play Madden 13 but I never seem to put it in, I just stick with WWE 13. Its the only fighting game I can play for more than a week. Also I have that very neglected Rock Band guitar and microphone. I should bust that out sometime but probably when Suzy is gone with Lucia somewhere otherwise I could see myself waking Lucy up with my loud off key singing.
Tomorrow night I am surely putting some time into Madden 13. It's just that it's atleast an hour and a half commitment to play a game then save it then turn off. Oh these damn first world problems.

Final summation: the things that we love slowly steal our souls, the question is, is it worth it?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down( Bonzo Works In A Warehouse)

Twice in two days Esteban has fallen into water because of me and his curiosity. First was when I left the toilet seat up and he fell in and then tonight after Lucia's bath I got distracted and forgot to drain the tub and in he went again. Atleast this time he was actually clean afterwards.

This weekend is our second Anniversary and I have absolutely no idea what we are going to do. Well, Monday is the actual date but with my 10 hour days at work, I'll be worn out by the time I get home Monday night, so we are planning on doing something. A random aimless road trip for the day around Wisconsin might be fun. Don't know where the hell would be interesting without driving way way up Northwoods way. I want nothing to do with the Milwaukee area. I've still got a couple days to make some sort of game plan.

Uggg, 3 more ten hour shifts to go. Warehouse work is an exercise in mental and physical endurance. Sometimes I hate that clocks are in view. I'd rather get lost in work and then boom, next thing you know 3 hours have passed. Those are the good stretches of the day.
My stomach has been my enemy at work the past week or so. Pretty much have to stop after every order to make a run to the pisser. I get nervous that my co-workers think that I'm just being lazy with all the time I wander off and I really hate to have to explain the reason for my periodic disappearances. Also my anxiety has been jumping up to levels that are making it hard to hide at work let alone deal with on my drive home from work.
Also I just got into some correspondence with a old co-worker who has similar experiences with these types of issues. It's nice to be able to trade secrets and tips on how to deal with the stress and anxiety that can become so oppressive. Gives me a bit of hope on that front.

I saw The Wolverine last weekend and it wasn't great but it wasn't awful. Much much better than X-Men Origins but it did have it's slow middle but the ending made up for it. Plus the set up for the next X-Men movie they are working on now was pretty geek-tastic.

Fuck, I've got to be up at 5am. My brain is slowly fading like that family picture Marty has in Back To The Future. Thus I ended it here. Onto a later date....

Monday, August 12, 2013

No, I'm Sorry, The TV Is Broken, But We've Got Lots Of Music Instead"

I cannot believe how hard it is to convince a 2 1/2 year old that "TV is broken" when constantly being pestered to watch "Yo Gabba Gabba" or "Sunny Day" which is Lucia speak for "Sesame Street".
I've been trying very hard to stick to at least the first hour when we get home each day to have music time. Lucia fights it every time, whining for whatever kids shows are on Netflix Instant since we don't have cable, only internet. But once the first or second song starts she gets use to it and sets about to play with toys.
This kills three birds with one stone as it gives me some time to catch up on my own internet addiction, get off my feet for a bit and not have Lucia glued to the TV or computer screen.
We've realized lately just how strong Lucy P's need for kids shows are. My hope by instituting this moratorium on tv watching and replacing it with music will keep her using her imagination since she gravitates back to her toys (action figures, little people animals or fake kitchen) while the music plays.
I made a playlist on my computer before Lucia was born comprised with songs I wanted her to know( The Ramones, NoFX, Liz Phair, Tom Waits etc..) , kid's songs which is mostly Matt Pryor from The Get Up Kids' kids side project The Terrible Twos as well as Kimya Dawson's kids album and some songs from that "Yo Gabba Gabba" show then there are the songs I thought a little kid would like "Rock Lobster" "Eep Op Ork", and maybe some old Stevie Wonder. I haven't really used this playlist very much in her first two years because she seemed to dig when stuff on my personal playlist came on. The first time I saw her bouncing in her carseat to 7 Angels, 7 Plagues I got so excited.
Eventually I got her to say "Oi Oi" when "The Brews" came on. Randomly one day Lucia started singing the chorus to that Carly Rae Jepsen song "Call Me Maybe" even though neither of Suzy or I own that song. I did end up finding the single because for a few months it was constantly requested. And she got good at singing a little bit more than just the chorus.
Suzy has go her into Lady Gaga. Besides "Wheels on the Bus" or "Ring Around The Rosey" we really haven't exposed the little one to typical kid's songs. I'm not sure how much her grandmother's have sang songs with her but she doesn't repeat any of them at home.
Once Lucia started singing the Sesame Street theme song it began to make think her TV time was getting out of control. Now if we don't let her watch one of those kids shows (we have kept it mostly to educational shows, tried to at least) it's FREAK OUT city. Tantrums, whining all that bad jazz that kids do when they don't get what they want. In an effort to make TV more of a treat I've been saying "TV is broken" or " Yo Gabba Gabba went away" anything I can to get her mind away from those shows before a meltdown occurs.
Right now I'm feeling really good about the progress I've seen since starting Music Time. Sometimes she will start playing along on her little kid's drum set and tell me I have to play the tiny guitar or keyboard. That always make me grin all wide and toothy.
I plan on continuing this experiment to see what effect on her mood this has. It's always been too easy to just let her watch whatever show to have some peace, which Suzy needs more than me because Lucia Phair is in the "I want Mommy ALL THE TIME" phase. I'm really hoping this Music Time can start to replace her need for the TV. Though getting ready for work in the morning would be impossible if we didn't have that damn electronic babysitter. I hate that it's what works but I'm working on finding a way to balance this incongruity in her habits.
Fingers crossed.

Now that I'm past that preceding parent rambling, we got a new kitten on Friday. Well, I didn't have a say in it. I was asked about having a cat and I said NO! Throughout the day I kept getting text messages from the wife about different cats. I told her" IF I were to consider another cat it would have to be a short haired one" This was taken as "Ok, you can get a short haired cat" and when Suzy didn't come home at her normal time I was starting suspect what she was doing and when I put Lucia to bed and still no Suzy I texted her "you better be leaving those cats alone" then a half hour later I hear Suzy coming down the stairs slowly.
When I looked at the doorway I here her say "How mad are you" then I saw the carrier it confirmed my suspicions. We now have a new little short hair mutt cat that I got to name Esteban. He is very very cute and funny looking so that helped me get over the decision that had been made without my approval.
I had been feeling bad about denying her another cat since she is such an animal person, I was going to say yes eventually because I have to say NO way more than I would like to about different things. Well, there we go we've got a new member of the family that is much cheaper than another child so that counts for something. And I guess he makes a great anniversary present since we had said we weren't going buy each other anything.
That's about all I got right now. I'm sure I'll have something to complain about soon enough so until then. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Theater Etiquette 101 (or shut your damn mouth and other thoughts)

If I were to hold any place holy it would hands down be a movie theater. Sitting in that sticky floored, artificially flavored butter smell permeated seats, nothing makes me more giddy and tingly than when I hear that projector whirl up. Granted, now most theaters are making the leap to digital projectors but still. Once those house lights go dim down, it's transformative. No matter what movie I am there to see, be it great cinema or a shitty blockbuster those two hours are sacred .
Some people, including me however, tend to be tentative at best. Friday night crowds can be dicey at best. This is where all those movie goer stereotypes bubbles up to the surface, I'm sure you can name at least one of the many that populate your average Friday night crowd. Time and time again I've had nights ruined by annoying patrons selfishly destroying the enjoyment of everyone around them. I love watching movies in the theater house so I rarely want to hear anything from my fellow movie patrons, with exceptions of those teenage girls lone scream at a sort of scary scene in a horror movie or the entire sold out theater bursting out in laughter or cheering.
Normal conversations  being carried out having nothing to do with the movie, that annoying little glow of kids texting, little children in R-rated movies or being subjected to someone's personal commentary are all clear cut blasphemy in my eyes. The last in that list I was only once happy to hear while in the balcony of The Uptown theater watching "The Darjeeling Limited" when I had some woman translating a scene where it was all in a foriegn language without the benefit of subtitles. So during that scene I was happy to have being able to overhear that women's conversation. And then she was quiet the rest of the film.

As much reverence as I have for the theater, there are some movies NEED to be screened in the sanctity of one's own home. Finding gems when they are well past their theatrical runs can be make the difference between loving a film or it being as dull as steamrolled thumb tacks.
This is a huge fundamental split between quality and enjoyment.
The Clive Owen movie "Shoot Em Up" is a wonderful example of this theory.  Had I paid $9.50 to see this movie I would have thought it was a hugely stupid and a waste of money. Instead I discovered it by chance while visiting a friend. Basic plot with minor *spoilers*... is a guy at a bus stop sees a pregnant woman being chased by a man with a gun. Chewing a carrot he follows them and he dispatches the man following the woman only for her to go into labor and more armed men burst in. She gets shot so he has to keep the baby away from some crazy Paul Giamatti character. It has every action movie cliche' just ramped up to batshit level complete with one liners that would make Looney Tunes jealous. Somehow I found myself loving the over the top dumb that is this movie. Watching it I saw through cliche's to the way it straddles the line between taking itself seriously and sucking, and knowing it's hitting on every action beat for laughs. Its not parody, its just a movie happy to be almost an homage to all those Stallone, Schwartzengger and Lethal Weapon flicks.
This theory extends to indie films that would have seemed pretentious on the big screen but seeing one of these movies, be it a Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch etc..., with in a dark theater with strangers just doesn't hit home like viewing at home. It can make a movie feel more personal, akin to coming across a great find at buried in the racks of Goodwill, it's special and accrues more enjoyment than it otherwise would have opening night. Watching Memento for the first time with a group of friends in a basement brought this feeling on and gave me much more appreciation to Christopher Nolan's other movies from that moment on.
Total quick side note about seeing an almost lost gem of a so bad its good movie on Netflix Instant called Miami Connection. It's so lame that if you watch it with friends you will all immediately act out your own personal version of Mystery Science Theater 3000/Riff Trax. I don't want to say "you will enjoy this movie" but when we watched it we had so many great barbs and asides that made it a very fun experience. Also the title has NO correlation to the movie itself until a teeny thread of a side story pops up at the end. Oh and its from the 80's if that makes it any more enticing. I digress to my larger point.

I've never been one of those types that dress up on opening night, waiting in line looking truly goofy but I understand them. Seeing a movie with this type of crowd can be the most enjoyable experience one could have. Their excitement and energy makes watching the newest Harry Potter for instance so much fun. Those times where it's collective laughs at the right time or a breakout of applause at the climax of those fan favorite flicks actually add to the good time atmosphere. Movies who get the geeks out in droves are the ones where everyone shuts the fuck up until its absolutely called for. This is "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" effect. (*though in Rocky Horror yelling back at the screen is ALWAYS called for.

A couple days ago I had a status about how much I hate people recommending comedies to me. I said something about how comedy is far too subjective for the chances that what one person finds side splitting and doesn't  have me, I don't know... say, falling asleep during "Dude, Where's My Car". I can't find another genre that is like the comedy genre. If you are an action movie fan, most high budget exploder movies that come out will please you. If you like horror then as long as there is blood soaking the screen and a few jump scares the movie goer is generally satisfied. But not in the comedy realm two people can laugh and quote Anchorman til they are blue in the face but put those two watching "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and more than likely there will be a huge discrepancy in how funny it was. Maybe those" Madea Does Something..." movies would be a much greater example. Hyping up hilarity is only a set up disappointment. Just the small act of telling me how hilarious some movie is, puts the bar higher than otherwise would be for me to laugh if I do take the recommendation. Also there are some comedies that MUST be watched on a rainy afternoon on TBS because the commercials give you a break to decide whether to bail on viewing or no, any Adam Sandler movie fits this. If a movie is in my taste wheelhouse I'll already want to see it or will ASK someone I know if it was worth watching.
Asking means I trust the advice of said person.

Its really tough determining which movies are holy dimmed multiplex worthy or I need to come across it on my comfy plush couch. I have sat through some shit-tastic movies because I paid too much to justify walking out. And thanks to Netflix Instant I've cowboy'd up and watched some awful b-movies hoping for that gem but instead get putrid dumb-ocity. Taste is no science, it's all about what state of mind you are going into watching this or that movie.
If you want recommendations beyond what has been mentioned in this celluloid sermon, just ask. I'm sure I'll have a suggestion or two for you.
And if you are in the theater with me, just shut the fuck up and stare at the big screen in front of you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Written Word Just Spoken Instead...

I wish I had time for books, physical books.
But I don't.
So instead I've been doing alot of audiobooks. They are insanely great because I can listen to them while I work which in an eight hour shift I can knock out a book a day if I don't get interrupted very much. And I can just finish listening on my way home or to work if it is especially long.
I'm going to have a few of those when I tackle "Infinite Jest".
It started out a couple months ago with listening to the full cast read version of World War Z. Listening to that made me not want to see the movie because how could they capture so much of the chaos that flows through the reading of the book in a two hour movie. They would need it to be a planned out trilogy (much like the Lord Of The Rings was) to really do the book justice.
I know enough about the movie version (from set accounts, reviews, reading the script that was online, the stories of the scrapped third act) to know it has nothing to do with the book besides a title. From what I've heard about movie WWZ, it shows almost no blood which for a zombie movie is akin to a biographical movie on Ron Jeremy and it be devoid of women. It renders everything else ridiculous. But I digress as that is another post altogether.

Back to the point, so I listened to the audiobook version of WWZ about 5 times before it stuck me to look up other books. Now I'm hooked. In the past few weeks I've listened to:
"The Bedwetter" by Sarah Silverman
"The God Delusion" By Richard Dawkins ( side note: the last chapter has him talking about quantum mechanics/physics and I'm pretty obsessed with the every day applications of QM)
"Assholes Finish First" and "Hilarity Ensues" both by Tucker Max. These two had me trying my hardest not double over laughing AT WORK or piss myself which did nearly happen an hour and a half into my workday. Close call on that one.
The following three are all by Christopher Hitchens:
"God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" which I need to re-listen to because of how dense and full of insights I found profoundly interesting.
"Hitch-22" His autobiography.
"Mortality" this one had me all choked up because it was the last one he finished or mostly finished before he died and it was read by a friend of his from Vanity Fair along with a few quick stories about Hitch while he was being attacked by cancer. Very heavy to listen to. Alot of it was culled from stories written for Vanity Fair about the process of dealing with cancer. It's a great listen/read depending on if you're time limited like I am.
"God, No" and "Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday" both written and read by Penn Jillette.
I've loved his and Teller's show on Showtime named aptly "Bullshit" where they sift through the hype on a number of different topics from circumcision to spiritualists. These books were more that I was happy to come across without much effort. Most of his ideas in the books I agree with, some not so much. But the stories in between had me riveted.
Now I need to start in on some more fiction audiobooks which I'm currently searching for some good ones that I haven't physically read yet.

I can't remember if I've talked about this as my brain goes a mile a minute and I also don't usually re-read my previous blogs so I probably cover the same ground more than once.
I love mowing my lawn.
As a kid I hated having to do it at my parent's house but now it's my zen time. Twice a week I come home after a long day at work, put on some shitty old shorts and beaten up stained green shoes and lose myself in though while the mower blade twirls. My thought process actually slows down for once so I can ruminate on different ideas, possible projects, whatever is going on in my life or just have a conversation with myself in my head where if I were actually talking out loud I'd be the "crazy neighbor who mumbles to himself"
Even when it is scorching hot outside it feels good for that 45 minutes to an hour of attacking my yard.
Then come in to a slightly cold shower, and on rare occasions taking that cold shower while drinking a beer which is pure decadence.

I've started really buckling down on myself not to yell at Lucia when she is getting into trouble. A relative said that no matter how their child is acting they stay calm. And her kids are hella well behaved. So I've taken that to heart and when Lucia does something that would otherwise cause me to immediately go from placid to enraged in a snap (just like Dad use to do) I calmly tell her the options she has. "Do this please" then I'll usually hear a "NO!" Oh what a prefect stage to be in right now. Once she "NO!''s me I as calmly as I can give her option to do what I ask or time out in the corner" Then the next move is hers. If she is still defiant I swiftly put her in time out but I keep my voice at an even keel. As much as you can with a 2 1/2 year old who from what I hear is just like her mother at that age. And she turned out pretty good so I just have to remember I can endure this phase. It will get better.

In the back of my head I have this hope that I will win the lottery so I can pay off my house, bills, invest some and be able to retire early, maybe move somewhere I've always wanted to move.
Not going to happen.
I know this but I still buy that one dollar's worth of disappointment twice a week. I don't care because it keeps the dream alive.
"We are the music makers... and we are the dreamers of dreams."
Lastly, it looks like this is the year I will be able to cross off seeing TWO of my wish list musicians in concert. Earlier this year for my mom's 50th birthday we went to see Willie Nelson at the Overture Center. Now if everything goes right on September 15th I'll get to see The Replacements reunion show at Riot Fest. I am fully aware that what I will be seeing is NOT The Replacements. It's Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg and probably two other guys filling the other roles in the band. Since I had moved to Minneapolis it was my goal to some how some way see Paul Westerberg play live. After three years living there my goal went unfulfilled and three years on from moving it looks like I'm going to get my chance... in Chicago. I really hate Chicago but for this I'm all in. It will be well worth being IN Chicago to do so. And if memory (i'm not googling it) serves me The Replacements played their final show in that very city. On the 4th of July if I've got my facts straight.
The other bands on the bill are just icing on the cake: Against Me!, Bob Mould, The Pixies, Chuck Ragan, Suicidal Tendencies and a bunch more. OH OH, yeah that's right Saves The Day as well.
This is the most I've sat down to write in forever. I feel like facebook and twitter are stealing the best literary minds of this generation, 160 characters at a time. And i am in no way referencing myself in the former sentence. But I should use time like this to be working on my novel/short story project that has been slowly gestating for the better part of two years now. It may never see the light of day... but just maybe I'll sit my ass down and flesh out that  seedling.
No promises.

EDIT: I don't know why I didn't mention this but It makes me really happy to see how well my friend Adam is getting better after being hit by a car. Had me and alot of other people worried for time there. I told him already but it was seriously like a slower version of what happened to my dad. Glad the only thing that Adam lost was a spleen. Mopeds don't seem dangerous but they are when some cunt pulls out in front of you. When I first visited him in the hospital, he was so doped up that he was in and out of consciousness but he kept joining the conversation at the perfect timing, then right back out snoring. He's out of the hospital now which is amazing in and of itself but last friday we got into a sold out showing of The Conjuring because he was in a wheelchair. Can't wait til he is back to his old self as I am sure having to constantly sit has got to be driving him crazy. Makes me relieved and happy that he is back home. Hospitals are annoying and depressing. The less I or any of my friends have to be in one the better.

Now I will go back to mumbling to myself.
As you were, civilian.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Zen and The Art Of Suburban Repair

I've gotten sick of music lately, new and old, it doesn't matter. Maybe it's getting to listen to my Ipod all day at work or everything is beginning to sound the same?
I'm not really sure. There are still some bands I can always listen to but I feel like I need a break from all music as much as I can to appreciate it proper again.
So Instead I've been diving into audio books instead.
I had World War Z playing 3 times in a row before today where I started "Haunted" by Chuck Palahniuk. I've read it already but it was nearly 10 years since I read it so its kinda cool to listen to it with a cast reading it.
After I finish this I'm going to have to start finding good books that I actually haven't read yet. I don't really have enough time to sit and read much of anything that isn't a website which makes me feel very mentally lazy since I use to read at least  4 or 5 books a year. Listening to a book is the next best thing. I am hoping that listening to new books instead of the same music over and over, will help me get past my writer's block on that book project I keep talking about. I usually get a burst of inspiration and knock out 20 pages here or there, but lately I haven't felt the urge to further the story.
Take this blog for instance, I haven't updated it in what, like a month or two?
I don't nearly have enough inventiveness to update my Facebook status most of the time. I don't know how writers can sit down day after day and crank out a story in such short amount of time. It's taken me nearly 2 years to get sixty pages give or take. Here's hoping I get my muse back to flesh out the rest of what I've already written.
Beyond the previous Summertime is coming and going far too fast. I seem to count it in lawn mowings. I've started doing it twice a week to keep up. I actually really enjoy it, even when I'm not in the mood I still end up glad to see the result after. I tend to view mowing as attacking the lawn. It gets rid of any pent up aggression and I get a pretty good workout as well. Being all domestic is kinda working out for me. I dig it. I'm sure come winter, shoveling is going to be a lot less fun, you know... with the cold and all. Trimming the plant life around the yard is my moment of Zen.
One of my buddies moved back and looks like we are going to start a weekly or bi-weekly movie night which should be fun.
I like my job but the heat getting cranked up in the warehouse as the summer goes along while adding to the workload is exhausting. Most days I don't have the energy Lucia requires from her Papa. Through work though I have learned that I am much better off getting up early in the day as hard as it is to get out of bed, sleeping in late has a tendency to turn me into a raging asshole for the remainder of that particular day. I mean I love sleeping but I've gotten so use to being awake at dawn that I'm better off in the long run to roll my lazy ass out of bed rather than linger between the sheets.
Oh Lucia is becoming my little nerd when she comes down and asks if I'm watching "Doctor Who" and sits with me when I do watch it. I have do have to sit through more of the usual kids fare on Netflix than I'd like. Especially the new computer generated Mickey Mouse cartoons, I cannot stand them. Soon enough I'll be able to let Lucia Phair watch horror movies with me as long as I can show her the special features so she doesn't have nightmares. For some reason I never had nightmares from any horror movies I watched when I was a kid. I didn't get horror related nightmares until after I hit my 20's. Not that I dream much anyway but on occasion I'll get one usually based on the haunting sub genre rather than the gory stuff. Either way I'd hate to cause Lucia to have bad dreams because I had her watching stuff she doesn't understand. I'd guess that if she sees how the special effects are created it would take some of the scare out of it.

I don't really know how to end this blog entry things are overall going well. I've got my lows as far as panic attacks and anxiety which makes me a bastard to deal with but it's gotten much better than it's been so... yeah... shit's not too bad right now. Hope life keeps treading upward. Now if only my numbers for the lottery would hit the jackpot. Not that I believe that'd happen. The lottery is buying basically buying disappointment one dollar at a time.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Looks Like This Year Will Be Better Than The Last.(did I just write about something positive?)

Sometimes I wonder about my former life, where people are now, are they better off than me, enjoying life more or less. Would they be jealous of me if they knew what I've going on now? Would I be jealous of them?

Some of those people I know what they are up to. Some by word of mouth, others I'm still in contact through social media or texts. I am not a phone call person, I am uncomfortable on the phone and easily distracted. Other people have completely dropped off my radar and that sometimes piques my curiosity as to what/where they are now. I think maybe I'm better off not knowing where they are in life but then my mind wanders off on other more important thoughts.

Thoughts such as I cannot believe how different and "adult" I've become. I'm sure people who know me understand why I choose to use quotations around the word adult, as I'm still in too many ways just an overgrown child. Even so this year of 2013 has brought about a natural evolution in my life, more big change.
Ok, I'm getting too flowery and vague.
What I mean is I am now working at a job that pays the highest I've ever made, even if it still warehouse work. Sometimes it is difficult work but I feel like I'm DOING something. I am tired as fuck after a work day but it actually makes me feel good, accomplished. My new warehouse job has pluses and minus when compared to when I was working at ACD.
One of the best parts is that in this warehouse I don't feel like we are just a "middle man", receiving product from trucks one day just to pack it up and send it out on other trucks the next. Where I'm working now we make what we send out.
I like that.
Though I might not personally make our product I still feel a pride that we are contributing to the world rather than being a supply closest for those places who do make product.
I do miss some of the people I worked with at my former job and the way the flow was set up but its a small matter in a larger scheme.

Of course beyond new job I have failed to mention the biggest and most grown up thing that has come to pass so far this year... namely I am now a home owner.
If anything screams adult and responsibility it would be owning your own home. It feel amazing to know I can do whatever I wish to this place, with my wife's consent I might add but none the less we choose how our home will take shape. Having a mortgage is terrifying considering the last few years in the housing market. Still I would gladly take this risk rather than dumping hard earned money into a rental property where we have no say beyond what pictures are on the wall.
I am in love with the house we bought. We got a stupendous deal overall, I will caution myself to say, "as far as we know". You never know what may fail on a home after you buy it. We might have a silent problem growing in the walls or we might have a home that will not need repair for many years. No one can ever tell, even the most savvy can make rookie mistakes. Right now I am basking in the glow of the love of my new dwelling.

I hate the term "man cave" because it usually code for "husband, I hate your taste in decoration so you can have the area of the house no one will ever see."
But in this case I have my own movie theater (well for my purposes) complete with dimmer lights and sound-proofing. It's chilly like an air conditioned theater. But as added bonus it has plenty of play room for Lucia's toys.
If I had more friends who wanted to travel to Marshall regularly I would entertain them in my personal theater.
I cannot wait until the time when we can fence in the back yard to let Lucia roam around without fear of her running into the front yard and road. Her Uncle D.J. built her a great sandbox in the aforementioned backyard. Plus the thought of bringing a dog into the family gets more enticing with a backyard that is fenced in.
Between Suzy and I have so many things we would like to improve upon to add our personality to this home. All in good time but I can't say that I don't wish to be able to dive right in on home improvements. That would be foolish to do at the beginning because it would deplete our saving incase some real dire fix needed to be addressed.

Once we found this house we both knew it was exactly what we had been looking for. Before this we were just kind of casually looking and I had made an appointment to get my Minneapolis tribute tattoo but as soon as we first looked at this house we both decided it was something we had to get serious about, I had to cancel my appointment. I wish very much I was able to have gotten that piece done but I felt good about the reasons for canceling. Although the artist from Spike O Matic Tattoo emailed me a picture of the sketch he drew up the other day and that itch has returned. I know I cannot spend the money on it but I usually give myself a session or two as a birthday present but I have to put this on hold. Plus I have a back piece I need finished but I kind of want to break that up with something that can be finished in one sitting. Again I said, I'm exhibiting adult tendencies which is becoming less and less foreign to me.

3 and a half years ago I could never guessed I was capable of being where I am now. No, I am not famous and far from rich but I am happy.
Back then I was a borderline alcoholic, an anxiety ridden member of the heartbroken army. I brazenly thought of fatherhood as an easy of a task as just avoiding what mistakes I thought my parents had made on me. It was more of an abstract concept than something I believed would actually become reality. In that past life I had many friends and the resources that allowed me to be a professional drunk. I carried on with little regard for my mental or physical well-being. I was more set to have as many fucked up and interesting experiences even if I got so shit-faced that I would only know of my actions through the storytelling of my friends and acquaintances. I made many mistakes, trusting the words of some who knew little of what they wanted beyond using me to make themselves feel better. I as well found temporary relief in those I dubbed "random heroes". I had the good company of a few trusted friends who had my back as much as I had theirs. I did whatever I could to engage in "Bukowski-ian" adventures sometimes without enjoyment but simply to prove to myself I could.
Just over three years ago I found someone worth shedding this life of drunken stupidity for a  friend's girlfriend's friend. That's when I met Suzy Brewer and I suddenly got more serious about my actions. I didn't reform my boozy ways overnight but she helped me get my shit together and on the road out of the depths whisky bottle and into what manhood( I'm still far off from being a "Man" but I am quite advanced from the boy of foolishness I had been) is suppose to be. I cannot lie, I still miss that boozy, rambling life around Minneapolis and those who surrounded me, I know I'm better off as if I continued I may very well have drove myself to a similar fate that of Bob Stinson. Suzy kept me from becoming an Uptown tragedy. I don't know how many people around me know/knew how close I was to that, mixing heavy partying with a damaged heavy broken heart left me reckless searching for something I was not in a position to find in the mental state I had been residing in.
Beyond this writing, I've don't think I've give the credit due to Suzy for the repair she had instilled in me. Then just weeks beyond a year's passing of when we first met, I was given a second female into my life to further repair all that had ruined in me previously by actions of a potent few.
Lucia Phair who just marked her 2nd year in this world in OUR new home, has given me the strength to shoulder the responsibility I had shunned and shirked for all those intervening years. Every day I struggle to be better and many days I fail but these two women keep my eye on the prize. When I thought about being a dad all those years ago, I didn't think I'd have helped create such a whip-smart, stubborn(should have assumed that one), adorable little kid which Lucia is turning out to be.
Sometimes I feel like I'm a strict Dad but I know if I'm not clear about rules early on Lucia could easily turn out to be the equal worst parts of me and my brother. That would be a failure on my part to equip her with what she needs in life to be a force for good. I'm ok with playing the bad guy early on if it keeps her on the right path into adulthood. I've got miles to go to be a real positive role model for that little girl but I'm trying my damnedest everyday to be alittle better than the day before. She deserves at least that much from me.
Wow, if only I could speak so eloquently verbally but I cannot delete and rephrase when I talk which i why don't like to try.
My fingers are better than my tongue ever could hope to be.

On other matters, after reading this it may be hard to believe but I've come up upon writer's block with my novel project. I had been on a roll of nearly 20 pages but then I lost my inspiration. I hope to continue it soon but as I think i mentioned above, after my workday I'm exhausted and with that comes a deflated imagination and inspiration. I do think that the more time I let pass the more I'll be able to bend and shape what I have written into something worth another person reading. With writing my only fear is that I will not have the courage to develop my own voice and what I end up with whenever I get to the finish will be too influenced by the authors I so enjoy. If I finish it the worst thing I could hear from those who eventually read it is that it is a "poor man's Bukowski or Klosterman or Pollack".

Fuck, wow, my fingers have worked themselves overtime. This was alot more than what I had planned on, I was just gonna gush a bit about my new house a bit but I'm kind of shocked at how much I actually had inside of my every turning brain. I feel like I just wrote a novel in 20 minutes. Whoever the audience is for this blog, I bet it feel like one too.
Here is where I stop, drop and roll...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Writer's Blockhead

Today I got the writing bug back. I'm begging myself that it's going to stick around a while. It usually is only a flutter before I get distracted by video games, Netflix, my daughter and wife, household chores and the like.
5 pages.
I got nearly 5 pages written and I added at the bottom of my writing are seeds of ideas on how to proceed if I do get blocked up again.
Two years ago while I was between jobs I started what I hoped would become a short story or maybe even a novel, you know dreams of dropping "the great American novel" out of my brain. That effort spat out about 30 pages of cliches and overused metaphors and it took me a three weeks to get those 30 pages from spinning around in my head onto my laptop.
It would take Charles Bukowski under a month and countless beers to hunt and peck a great literary piece of work on his typewriter that was written for the every man not the so much for those in the Ivy league towers. Not flowery, to the point yet entertaining.
I only wish I were that type of writer. Instead these last 5 pages are more self indulgent ramblings that I'm masquerading as a patch-worked story. Much like that two year old piece I wrote, it also was ramble-y though those were my best effort to chapter-ize my stream of consciousness babble landing on the electronic page. This time there isn't much for dialogue  , maybe I'm setting up the ground work for a greater story or simply episodic anecdotes.
What I am hoping to do is marry what I'm just starting to write with those old pages into a hybrid that someone MIGHT actually read. I'm not overly ready to divulge subject matter just yet.
I've got my fingers crossed (not literally otherwise I'd never get any writing done) that this is just a beginning of an overflow of words worth someone else time besides my own.
I tend to over think things like these and then I second guess and censor myself. But I have to lay my cock on the chopping block if want to produce anything worth a damn.
I'm just hoping I have the courage to unzip.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My mind is not a steel trap... rusty synapses

"And then I forgot what she said, that's the problem with Clonazepam, so many things I don't remember"- NoFX

That really sums up how I feel these days.
I have the hardest time recalling things, kind of being in a fog, I vaguely know if conversations or events occur. It's not from some sort of drug abuse or results of multiple concussions but most likely due to medication for Anxiety and Panic Disorder.
Everyone who I confide my problem to(which is only as or after I've had big meltdown) will always says something like " Oh yeah, I know what that's like, I've had a panic attack before".
Almost all of those who say that have actually equate a large scare with a panic attack. For instance, freaking out over a test or interview would, on a scale of 1 to 10, be somewhere near a 3.
A close call with a deer or doing a 360 in the road during a snowstorm could be about a 5.
I, on a daily basis live somewhere between 5 and 8.
That is just my every day anxiety not the panic attacks. Those 9-10 area is a debilitating, crushing and almost impossible to function until it passes. From the bitter taste in my mouth of adrenaline, to the very very shallow breathing, feeling every pump of your blood that feels as though it flows with the intensity of a fire hose. Then I'll get light headed, overwhelmingly sweaty and at the worst my muscles start to seize up to where my hands will ball themselves up and no matter how much i try I cannot straighten out my hands. And always, always no matter how intense the anxiety or panic attack is one of the immediate indicators is that a feeling comes over me of "I'm about to shit myself" That's one that always comes on. Thus far it hasn't actually happened but I've had the closest of close calls. So when I'm in a situation where I'm hitting a 6 or above I tend to use the euphemism of "my stomach hates me" or "my stomach is feeling ill". Though when you do undersell the severity of your issues, people tend to not understand what you are going through but If I come right out and say " I can't go because I feel like my ass is gonna drop out" its pretty damn embarrassing. Especially if you have to use it as often as I do. Then they tend to blame you for using it as an excuse to avoid doing things you might otherwise not want to do. BELIEVE me, I'd much rather do the most boring tedious thing I can think of if it meant I was dealing with these real physical and mental attacks.

So to combat my version of "normal" and the extraordinary days I take Seroquel which is primarily a schizophrenia but seems to work well for anxiety along with numerous other mental ailments. Then the one that fucks with my memory is the Clonazepam (aka Klonopin) which i take on a daily basis usually at night so it lasts through the next day. Even with these I'll still get what's called "breakthrough attacks" where despite the daily dose I'll still have a severe panic attack which requires a bit more medication. It's no where near an abuse level but it causes gaps in my memory. Mostly new memories. That's the down side, the upside is I'm not on constant state of alert to the point that small noises will make me jump and shiver from quick spikes in anxiety.
I prided myself when people would refer to me as Rain Man of useless trivia, when it came to movie/music/pop culture trivia or politic/history or even recalling details of my real life events. These days I am dull as a dodgeball when I am forced to cite specific relevant events if I'm in an argument. It really makes it difficult to win an argument with my wife when I cannot recall specifics on a valid point I'm trying to make. My knowledge well was deep and plentiful but I fear it is has reached as deep as it's gonna get if not beginning to dry up.
I feel mentally lazy. I try to keep up with new news stories but trying to communicate those back to someone later, I end up a stuttering mess. But then there are times when I can spew a huge chunk of trivia no one would ever bother to remember. Its become very hit or miss.

I know the popular easy answer is stop taking the medication.
I can't and here's why.
Firstly I've tried every combination under the sun to get to the cocktail I'm at that works better than anything else from herbal remedies, books designed to control your physical and mental response to oncoming anxiety/panic waves, pretty much everything. I've exhausted the list of what my doctor thought could work to bring me down to the general public levels of daily anxiety. I tried changing my diet, no red meat, no eating after 7pm, no caffeine, almost no booze, I quit smoking a few years back when this all first started. Cut down on sugar, as much as I can anyway. I've read numerous books on how to deal with anxiety and avoid panic attack and they may work for some people but thus far no piece of advice has shined itself down on my dark little problem I try to hide. Abet I hide it poorly as you are reading all about it right now.
No dice, no luck. So here I am using what has had the best results. Medication that leaves gaps or better put, lapses in my ability to recall. Why would I put up with this side effect? Maybe some background on what I've dealt with might help those who haven't been around when I've had attacks of panic

I've been a worrier all my life, from as far back as I can remember I would make myself throw up from worry. I don't know where it started or why but I do recall instances of sheer terror.
From being 5 or 6 and being at a babysitters and accidentally snapping off a superficial piece of a "little people" toy parking garage and being so scared that I hid under a bed.
I am a dweller too, I spend sooooo much time stuck in my own head that I can get lost in the past/what ifs etc...
I had a short bout of these types of attacks when I was about 20. This is the first time I can actively recall when I had an attack, that I'd rate a 10.
They kind of slowly went away after a while. Then while living in Baraboo just before my move to Minneapolis I would get anxiety attacks just as I was trying to fall asleep. That last for a few months. Not alot of sleep during that stretch. About two months after I moved to Minneapolis they went away.
My current bout has lasted over three years and still counting. This one I attribute to starting after being at a bar and having my drink "roofied". I'm assuming it was meant for a female friend of mine when she went out for a cigarette and I was talking with friends. Luckily I had my friends there and I got home safe but I had one and a half beers and then it was total blackout until I woke up in my bed the next morning. After that I stayed in my apartment for two weeks straight. I couldn't venture around the block without severe alarms going off in my head and throughout my body.
My brain speeds through thoughts so quickly that when I try some techniques from some of the books I've read to avoid thinking about whatever is making me anxious or panicky that no matter what I think of, end up within seconds back thinking about whatever i was thinking about in the first place. Slowing down to even write this nearly stream of consciousness diatribe is difficult. I've tried the touching the ground or "grounding yourself" technique but that was mostly worthless. Then there is the snapping a rubber band against my wrist as a way to ignore your thoughts so that the anxiety will pass by itself but that never works. It takes like 15 minutes for the wave of adrenaline to metabolize in your body from the first moment you feel it. This says nothing for the multiple waves that are to follow. So snapping a rubber band is more annoying added to already being in survival mode.

So since I'm resigned to living with this. Not that I care to but such as it is I don't have much choice.
I have managed to figure out some triggers raise my anxiety levels or blow up full on panic attacks, one thing that is a sure fire way to unleash the waves of panic is lack of control. What I mean by that is being in situations where I cannot choose when or how quickly to escape. Being a passenger in someone's car with set me off since I am not the one driving. Being in the car in general can really do it. Oh what awful times I've had being stuck in traffic or just crawling along in stop n' go driving. I go all white knuckle.
Shopping heightens my anxiety to in the unmanageable levels. If I do go shopping I am very "get in, get what you need, get out as fast as possible". If I have to take my time, say shopping with my wife or really anyone else.
I'm on edge.
Very keyed up.
Being in places with only one bathroom can spur a panic attack or at very least make me pace around like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Put me somewhere with no bathroom access and I lose it.
A few months back I was at a niece's birthday party and I had the bathroom occupied and then I hear a knock and it's a mom trying to get her daughter in to use it, the more they knocked the more I could not breathe. I could hear them outside of the door waiting right next to it. It was awful. I was shaking, adrenaline surging throughout my body. As soon as I got out, I had to gather up my family and leave. With so many people there and no having immediate access to said bathroom was something I couldn't handle.
Another rule I have is never leave the house on a full stomach. I'm just asking for trouble.
Yes, I've had been through enough tests and to enough doctors to make sure that my "stomach issues" aren't the cause of my anxiety. Its my anxiety that brings on the stomach problems is about as much as anyone can tell me.
Anticipation can do it to me too, which goes along with bailing on plans. I have to decide on the fly if I feel calm enough to go places or do anything that is outside of the house or work. I have wanted to see about 15+ bands in the past year but I missed them all because I was anticipating the show and it built up in my head so much that my anxiety swells until I just have to go home to feel "safe". I have always been a home body but since my panic disorder has manifested itself, I only want to be home, preferably on the couch watching a movie. The levels of anxiety keep me from doing much else when I am not at work. Hell another example is tonight, there was an after work party and I could not bring myself to go because it stirred up my anxiety. Even if people know about my... illness i guess, I don't really know what to call it, anyway even if they know they never seem to understand. It is fine the first few times but after awhile they just assume I'm using my "illness' avoid doing things I don't want to do. Thats the worst part, when someone thinks I'm using this to my advantage. There is no advantage to feeling like at any moment you could be crippled, shut down by your own body/mind for what might be no reason at all. Oh yeah, even though I have figured out some of my triggers I still get severe panic attacks out of absolutely NOWHERE. It makes people think I'm just lazy that I don't do much of anything when it all probability it is the fear of an attack in a place I cannot escape or around people who don't understand what it is like. It seems like it's easy to seem like I'm faking to do only what I want. That is one of the biggest curses.
It isn't like I never leave the house, I do quite often but in short bursts or places where I can feel in control of my situation. At my job they have enough bathrooms, the movie theaters are perfect because of the amount of restrooms. The mall... not so much. I know my family would love it if I were up to do anything at any time but the cold hard fact is I just can't most of the time. I just look selfish which trying to keep my level of personal comfort is a bit selfish but I know that me agreeing to go places when I'm just going to have even a mini meltdown is far worse. I cannot stand being told I'm being lazy or selfish when I'm only trying to keep myself in a manageable level.

Alright, so background on what I go through i hope explains why I would stick to a medication ritual that causes me to have such a shitty memory. I hate that simple things I blank out on even if they just happened yesterday. I mean I remember important stuff, how to function on a daily basis, even older memories but for instance there is a girl I dated back in 2008 for like two months and I remember going places, conversations, even the particularly mess break up BUT i do not know her name. I know where I met her, nearly all of it but her name escapes me. I recall the names of one night stands, people I worked with, friends of friends but not this girl's name. There are a great deal of things such as remembering this girl's name I cannot do. Kind of a fucked up thing to not remember or even rack my brain bothering to remember. It's just a symptom of an annoying problem even though it's a problem I still would gladly endure rather than not being able to leave the house for two weeks like what happened when this bout set itself upon me.

I've read studies that link anxiety and panic disorder with dementia in older people. Sometimes even early onset. I cannot help but wonder if this will be my fate. I with all my heart hope not. That's pretty scary, not to the point of being panic inducing but it's a worry none the less. I'd be more worried of having an aneurysm while on the toilet. Pulling an "Elvis" minus the drugs.

Now that I've opined about what I deal with on a daily basis, it's not for sympathy but for me to clean out my mind, kind of like spring cleaning. And I just realized that I probably have written about my panic attacks before, hmmmm...