Monday, July 28, 2008

37 Things

I've never taken the time to do one of these, but today seemed like a good day to start. I lifted it from TKT's blog. He's a good guy. You should send him money or something.

1. Do you like blue cheese? Like it? I love it!
2. Have you ever smoked? Yeah. I smoked about a pack a day for ten years or so. Had to keep my grunge street cred alive.
3. Do you own a gun? Nah.
4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite? Fruit Punch, mos def.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Nope.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? They are extra delicious at cookouts or ballgames. I don't know why.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Two cups of coffe and a glass of water.
9. Can you do push ups? Plural? Perhaps.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring is my only jewelry, but it sits in its box until I have it resized.
11. Favorite hobby? Videogames and reading.
12. Do you have A.D.D. No. If I can get my brain going one direction I'm in good shape.
13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? Yes. I'm almost legally blind without help in one form or another.
14. Middle name? Lawrence
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? Jesus, can't any of my answers be clever? Shouldn't I be working? I don't want to go to the doctor's appointment tonight.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Chocolate diet shakes (for a few more weeks), water, coffee.
17. Current worry? The Radiohead show is Monday and my damn tickets still haven't been delivered.
18. Current hate right now? Ebay sellers who wait until the last minute to mail me my tickets.
19. Favorite place to be? In hiding.
20. How did you bring in the new year? My brother's house with a small family gathering.
21. Where would you like to go? Out west to photograph grizzly bears.
22. Name three people who will complete this? I have my doubts pretty much across the board.
23. Do you own slippers? Yes I do. Very manly slippers.
24. What shirt are you wearing? Blue and white polo style shirt.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I can't say for sure that I ever have..
26. Can you whistle? I can.
27. Favorite color? Black.
28. Would you be a pirate? No. My impression is they don't bathe much, and that's kind of a thing for me.
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Anything Johnny Cash.
30. Favorite Girl's Name? Can't say I have one.
31. Favorite boy's name? Can't say I have one.
32. What's in your pocket right now? My Palm Centro and my work badge that got warped in the clothes dryer over the weekend.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? My wife this morning.
34. What vehicle do you drive? Toyota Corrola.
35. Worst injury you've ever had? When I was a little kid I bit through my lower lip so bad it took 30 stitches to sew it up.
36. Do you love where you live? Without question, the answer is no.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 5, but only 4 plugged in and working. Of that four, only two get any real use. Would someone like to buy some TV's?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BIKE GANG, American Style

How do you show your patriotism? By hanging one million flags on a highway overpass, that's how. This is the bridge over 71 on West Main Street. Show some respect, you!

After two practice runs over the weekend, I finally got my crap all together and rode my bike to work. All in all, it's a pretty easy route, but I still managed to show up to work a dishevelled overheated mess. I don't care. It was awesome.
I have to drive about six minutes from my house to the Alum Creek trail-head because the road I live off of would be suicide on a bicycle (for me at least). So, I park beside a craft store in Easton, and then get on the trail. Of the twelve miles I ride to work , the first three quarters of it is all along dedicated bike trails. They follow the creek, connect city parks, and border small residential neighborhoods finally taking me to Cleveland Avenue where I have to get on the streets and deal with humanity. The ride is a little over twelve miles long, but the first three quarters is along the Alum Creek bike trail. (For those playing along at home: Westerville Bike Trails.)

It's a really cool ride, but I'd like it even more if there were someone to do it with me. There's a girl at work here who is considering it, and I think she's going to do a practice run at it this weekend, so that would be cool. I'm also thinking about posting some fliers around the offices here (got BIKE GANG?) to let people know there's a good way to get some exercise, stick it to the gas man, and offer anyone who wants to come along. It would be cool if there was a little group of people that would ride to work a few times a week.

First things first though, I've got to get my bike a bit more commuter friendly. If I'm going to keep at this, I'm going to need a headlight before long and maybe something to make me more visible from behind. Also, I've been kickin' it old school sans helmet, and with me being on the streets some I'm going to have to rectify that. I've avoided it because I have a fat head and I don't want to look like I've got half a ping pong ball stuffed down on it, but whatever. It's the law of averages...sooner or later some chucklehead is going to swipe too close to me and I'll have to bail. Might as well be wearing a brain bucket when it happens.
So, tonight I ride home. Along the way I have to stop by and see the good folks at CHA and help walk some doggies for an hour and a half (the shelter's back yard actually meets the bike trail) and then onward home. I'll probably be asleep by nine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Washed in the Shampoo of the Lamb

While the man was never portrayed as an elitist, I would have expected his first foray into the secular business world to be a little more "high end". Maybe a Lexus dealership or something...

Whatever. For those of you in the Central Ohio area, you now have a place to buy some shampoo that will quite possibly increase your chances of slipping through those pearly gates. Hey man...take any edge you can get.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vaya Con Dios, Felipe!

My sister-in-law is a nurse. That's the only reason why she was able to insist on a CAT Scan instead of the Sonogram when she was having Gallbladder troubles. The CT revealed a Gallbladder that was most likely dead along with a 7" X 4" mass that had taken over her left ovary. At first they called it a "genetic mass" and had a name for it that I've since forgotten.

Basically, it's a mass of genetic matter that has been with her since birth. Some people believe it's what's left of an unabsorbed twin. Within the mass there are sometimes teeth and hair. She felt dirty, like she was somehow flawed.

I tried to make her feel better by reminding her that people are just gross by our very nature. We're shitting, farting, seeping creatures who are nasty as a rule. She smiled, but we both knew seepage, no matter how unpleasant, isn't the same as a lump of stuff that may or may not have been a sister or brother in your belly. So instead, I named it. I figured if she had to have a growth like this, and it had hair and teeth, it might as well have a name, and so...Felipe was born.

Still freaked by the development, she pushed for further testing. Again, she's a nurse and it's probably the only reason she was accommodated so quickly. That's when they saw the shadow within the mass and said the word "cancer" for the first time. They would operate on the following Tuesday and determine exactly how bad things were from there. We prepared ourselves to say good-bye to Felipe.

Tuesday, I got to the waiting room with Jen just as my brother came into the room. They had taken her back, he said. The surgery would start any time now. We all sat down and stared at our shoes. She pulled a decent crowd, but it was a crowd that kept their heads down. Her friends, nurses who were making pests of themselves with the doctors, reported that the Gallbladder removal had started and was going well. They sat with us and we chatted.

The first surgeon came out with pictures. He explained his part of the surgery was a piece of cake, and that they were starting the removal of the mass now. I got to see Nikki's liver, and yes...I got to see Felipe. I saw no hair or teeth. To the untrained eye, Felipe looked like he belonged there. He was just another pink wad of internal mechanics that appeared to serve a purpose.

A couple hours later, the second surgery was completed and my brother was ushered into another room for the report. The cancer was confirmed, and a full hysterectomy was done. The prognosis was good though, There would be some chemotherapy, but this form of cancer was very receptive to treatment, and while there is some cleanup to do, everything looked great. This was a bit of spin of course. No direct lies were told, but they didn't go into the details that they disclosed today.

And still we don't know everything yet. The Pathology report is expected later today and that will tell the rest of the story. That will be the point that they are able to start discussing stages of the cancer and then get a specialist involved. And so we wait. There is always some piece of information that is out there on the horizon, and we are just now realizing that this is something we're going to have to deal with for a long time to come.

When it's all over though, I'm sure we'll have great stories to tell. These are the things that define families and relationships for a while, and that part of it I'm not concerned about. It will just intensify what we already have between us, and what is there is good stuff.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Walkin' The Dogs

It's a beautiful night tonight. Hot out, but not thick and muggy like it has been and there was a bit of a breeze. Not a bad night to hit up our local shelter CHA and walk some puppies. It was just good to get out and clear my head for a bit.

There's a trail that leads around the outside edge of the shelter's property and you can take it through a stand of trees and out onto a nice paved bike trail (the trail that will someday take me to work). It was toward the end of my shift, and I was just letting Giselle, the lab mix I was walking roll around in the grass, when I felt my phone vibrate, letting me know I missed a call.

It was a friend of mine who had read my blog a bit earlier and was calling to check on me to see if I was OK. Awwww. I tend to be a bit morose when I write sometimes, and I know at the time of the posting I was just sick of my cubicle mates and wanting to be outside, but I definitely wasn't in bad shape with my day. I just liked the melodrama of wrapping myself up in that crappy carpet. I'm a dork like that.

She was fully prepared to talk me off the ledge she imagined me to be standing on, and sounded surprised when I sounded so chipper on the phone. Phone calls are always awkward with me, because I'm an awkward man, so we wrapped up quickly. I was totally laughing though. I had no idea I came across that bad.

So, for the record, I'd like to point out that I'm a pretty happy fellow most of the time even if my blog comes across as a downer occasionally. No, I'm not the jumping up and down with joy because I get to go play with mortgages every day kind of happy, but I'm doing OK.

So, to my friend that called tonight, I say thank you. If there's ever a time when I feel like I'm just going to steer my car off the cliff, I now know who to call. Fortunately for both of us, I'm awkward on the phone, so I'll probably just drive home instead so we don't have to have a weird conversation. I couldn't bear having someone in my life that I could be out drinking with and hear her say "Hey, you remember that one time I kept you from driving off a cliff?"

To everyone else, I'll work on being cheerier. I promise. Tomorrow, I'm totally starting on that .

In other completely unrelated news, my good pal Felix posted this mix his brother put together. Andor 2000 - Breakbeats. I've had a bit of a taste for electronica/trance lately, and while I haven't heard the whole thing yet (it's one track that runs an hour long) I'm really digging it so far. Plus, it don't cost nuthin'. Cheap as won't even know. If you snag it, stop by and let him know. He loves love.

Time Card Blues

Everywhere you turn it's golf shirts and stainless steel wrapped coffee mugs with rubber studs that assure a strong easy grip in the office place. It's like we need a performance coffee mug that won't fly out of our hands as we round corners heading to the conference room or try to load paper into the printer with one hand while sipping our favorite hot beverage.

The carpet is so thin it looks like it was applied as a liquid and allowed to dry in the air-conditioning. You can sometimes hear footsteps through it. I was here early, so I can hear the rolling laptop bags go by behind me as management members find their cubicles. They're on their phones talking about calls they need to make. If I close my eyes, I feel like I'm at the airport. All that's missing is the smell of Cinnabon and a voice from above telling me not to leave my baggage unattended.

The fluorescent bulbs over my desk are significantly brighter than the ones humming away in the other fixtures. I'm looking forward to more people showing up to work so their background noise will mask the sound of that humming. It makes me think of how I always said that people who live under electrical wires were crazy, and I pretend I can hear the electricity sizzle and crack above me.

People arrive and say the most interesting things:

"You see, if we had a screen door, we could leave the other door open and then maybe get a breeze."

"We leave the porch light off, because if we don't you can see the bugs congregating. They seem to like the light."

"I'm getting ready to punch my kids like a man."

"They'll never be able to sell that place. It stinks so bad of fish and curry."

"Nasanex always works for me. I always feel better afterwards."

And just like that, I'm missing the hum of the lights above me again. I want to kneel in the corner and pick at the edge of the carpet there until I can peel it from the floor and wrap it around me like a blanket. Huddled like a flood-victim in carpet flecked with staples and shoe dirt, I'll crawl under my desk and ride out the storm of another Thursday. At five, I'll crawl out blinking in the unnaturally bright fluorescence and get in the line that leads outside.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I take it all back. After this morning, I was more than ready to put her on a plane. Further, I'm thinking about having her consider staying for another week.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Miss Me When You're Gone

Jen's suspicious of my timing.

On Sunday, she's heading to Wisconsin to hang out with her mom for a week, and leaving me to log some serious Grand Theft Auto time. This is a trip she makes each year, and I always look forward to it too.

In my mind, it's a week of bachelorhood. I can do what I want, when I want. I'll be able to watch Kill Bill without having to get up and hang laundry in the middle of it. I won't have someone standing over my shoulder reminding me I should drink another 48 ounces of water before bed. No one will be standing there, shaking their head at me as I stand weaving in front of the coffee pot, asking me what time I finally made it to bed. The idea of it is great.

The reality is a bit different. I generally don't sleep well that week. I find myself working on little projects that she has been bugging me to do, that I've been putting off. We text each other a lot. I hear every little noise in the house. I do get to play a lot of games and scratch where it itches, but you can only do that so long. By the time she comes back, I will be more than ready for the company. I'm such a hermit, but she's my partner in being housebound.

Still, she's suspicious of my timing. This morning, I broke down and took my wedding ring off. It's been seriously loose for a while, but this morning it almost fell off in the shower, so I took it off and put it in her jewelry box. She watched me do and asked if I was making plans for a big week while she was gone.

"Honey, if I don't take the ring off now and try to get rid of the tan line, everyone at the bar will know I'm married."

"Nice. Jackass."