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Welcome to Your Fifties

Posted on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024

Dave!Back on December 12th I fell and hurt my knee and ankle. It healed up fairly quickly. I was pain-free after about a week. Then it was a little stiff, but I thought it would be fine in another week or two.

WRONG!

It has been getting progressively worse. Last week I noticed that on top of being stiff, it was aching a lot. Now there's outright pain when I move it sometimes. I mentioned it to a friend and he said "Yeah. You probably have arthritis in your knee and ankle now." And I was like "What? Arthritis?!? Isn't that for old people?" He looked puzzled for a second, smiled, then said "Welcome to your fifties. Might want to look into glucosamine."

Oh shit! I totally am an old person now!

It happened so quickly.

Seems like only yesterday I was young and carefree and traveling the world. Now I'm old, prefer to stay at home, and living with cats. Guess I should stop ignoring the weekly mail I've been getting from The Neptune Society (if you don't know what The Neptune Society is, you're in for a fucking treat, because it's wild... when my time comes, bury me at sea with Julia Child on the memorial reef, please!).

And speaking of being old and having arthritis now(!)...

I found out an interesting fact today.

I was drying off after my shower. It was painful to bend my knee, so instead I just bent over. Suddenly the lights went off. It took my old man brain a second to realize that the electricity didn't just cut out... I had backed my bare ass up against the touch-sensitive light switch next to the shower. So now I know. My ass is light-switch-height.

Even though my butt cheeks were freshly cleaned in the shower, I was still mortified thinking that my light switch was now an ass switch. So the first thing I did after drying off and putting on my underwear was to run for the Clorox cleaner so I could scrub down the wall, plate, and switch.

I wanted to do it before I forgot, because apparently my memory is going to be leaving me very soon now.

If it hasn't already.

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Picking Kindness

Posted on Thursday, January 4th, 2024

Dave!When I was a kid, there were these giant posters of line drawings that came with a pack of colored felt-tip pens which you use to color it. I ended up with a couple of them, but wasn't really a fan because it was more fun to draw my own pictures to color. The way I made it fun was to go crazy with it. I had a "space" poster where I remapped the colors. Everywhere I would normally color blue I would color green. Green was pink. Pink was yellow. And so on. This lead to a rather interesting conversation when I wrapped it around one of my school books. A teacher thought I might be colorblind because CLEARLY I had a problem. I assured them that it was just for fun, but it got sent to the administration anyway. This just lead to an even stranger conversation when I was told that if I'm not colorblind that I shouldn't be pretending that I'm colorblind.

Funny. Here I thought that I was just amusing myself.

As it turns out "amusing myself" always ended up with my getting into trouble.

The constraints of social conformity have always been a buzzkill to creative thinking, which is why I've never been any good at adhering to it. Dress this way. Act this way. Believe this way. Think this way. Because if you don't then there will be consequences.

To which I never hesitated to say "fuck you," because the world needs me more than I need to feel a part of it. Seriously could not care less if people want to exclude me from their clique-based emotional economy or call me names or talk about me behind my back. Sure there have been times that it stung a bit because the people doing it were people I thought cared about me, but ultimately it had zero bearing on my life. Probably because I was a part of internet culture very early on and could always find my tribe regardless of location, distance, or situation. There were always groups that liked the same kind of stuff, had a similar way of looking at the world, and had similar beliefs, so I was never really "alone," even while alone. And I've been lucky to find "my people" in Real Life too, so there's that.

But that was me as a young adult up until now.

I don't know that I was ever seriously bullied by my school peers as a child. Sure I was poked fun at sometimes... that was a given... but other than isolated incidents I can count on one hand, there was no relentless torture. If anything, more bullying came my way via some of my teachers than fellow students.

But it's a different world now.

Bullying, as a matter of course, is relentless and devastating in a way it never was when I was a kid. And it's not just high schoolers who face all new levels of torment thanks to the very internet which saved me from being alone... it's increasingly younger and younger kids. Kids who have no defense because there's increasing indifference towards their plight. Fellow kids run from them so they aren't targeted next. Teachers don't want to get involved because it could get them targeted by parents of bullies. And parents of bullies rarely seem to care (or, even worse, encourage it). Some kids exist in a never-ending nightmare from which they cannot escape. But we allow it because it's always "somebody else's kid."

Until it isn't.

Back on December 19th, my mother's birthday, I found the story of a 12-year-old kid who committed suicide because of relentless bullying. His name is Eli Ballance...

Eli Ballance smiling while a snorkle mask is on his head..

12 years old.

He wasn't even given a chance to find his people.

Undoubtedly he would have eventually found friends who valued him and to whom he could relate to... but he couldn't find a way to live long enough for it to happen.

His mother tried to keep him safe at school... a place, mind you, that kids are required to attend... but they refused to promise her anything. Not that I am putting the blame entirely on educators. Teachers have to put up with increasingly hostile workplaces where they struggle to keep their heads above water as they are vilified and persecuted for trying to do their jobs. But there has to be something that can be done. If parents won't take responsibility for their kid's bullying and teachers are in a place where it's nearly impossible for them to do it without risking their lives or jobs, then there has to be a third party looking out for kids that are at risk. Because this problem is not going away. It's not going to disappear.

I have no idea why Eli was bullied. Not that it matters. His mother said he was "smart, funny, and compassionate." And that's all that really should matter.

Eli's mom is now advocating for change and wears shirts with the words "Pick Kindness" on them as a way to keep other parents from having to go through what she is.

I wish her luck.

Not just for her own peace of mind, but for all the kids like the me of my childhood who would have a tough time surviving in the world today. We deserve a shot at growing up and find our way in the world. We deserve to be able to say fuck you and find happiness despite a world that needs us, but doesn't want to accept us as we are.

   

Sick Burn! or Burning Sickness?

Posted on Friday, January 5th, 2024

Dave!On Wednesday I started developing a cough.

On Thursday I stayed at home to work because I didn't want to be a disruption at the office.

This morning I woke up (after coughing all night) and felt absolutely awful. My lungs itched... ON THE INSIDE! And since I can't exactly scratch the interior of my lungs and live to tell about it, all I wanted to do was sleep so I wouldn't be awake to feel it. But that wasn't an option. I was behind enough as it was, and needed to go into the office for a few important tasks. Despite having an itch I couldn't scratch, I loaded up on cough syrup, Mucinex, pain killers, and grabbed a bag of cough drops so I could get through one or two hours and return home to bed.

NINE HOURS LATER I headed home to die.

But I knew that if I went to sleep I would just wake up at midnight and ne a zombie for eight hours, so instead I tuned into The Brothers Sun on Netflix because A) It looks really good, and B) Michelle Yeoh is in it, and she never disappoints.

Here's a trailer for you...

You're welcome.

It's going to take a lot of willpower to not watch all eight episodes tonight.

It's that good.

Amazing how Michelle Yeoh can just disappear into a role. And it's fantastic how she seems to actively seek out characters who are different from what she's done previously. And then... she's got Star Trek: Section 31 plus the three Avatar sequels coming up.

Everything's coming up Yeoh. Luck us.

And now I need to take my fuzzy lungs to bed.

   

It’s the Cough That Kills Ya

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2024

Dave!Last Thursday my persistent post-nasal drip that's brought on by a never-ending array of allergies went into overdrive. It felt like I was drowning. I had trouble breathing. My inhaler was helping to make it so my breathing wasn't so difficult, but I decided to stay home and work so I wouldn't be a disruption at the office.

Friday was far, far worse. When I woke up I was coughing constantly and eventually it got to the point where everything in my chest was aching. My lungs would alternate between feeling like they were on fire... to feeling like they were itching on the inside. But my inhaler was still helping so I tested twice for COVID, took all the cough medicine I could find, grabbed some cough drops, and went to work. It wasn't bad... at first. But by the end of the day I felt dead.

Then the weekend came, my inhaler stopped working which meant I wasn't breathing well and my lungs felt tired. I thought maybe RSV was in play, but after going through tele-health I found that was very unlikely. I still tested negative for COVID, so I chalked it up to a chest cold and tried to power through.

Then, miracle of miracles, my inhaler started working again.

I worked at home again because I didn't feel like overdosing on cough medicine and I had great humidity in my house, but today was mostly okay. I could breathe fairly easily most of the day, and this evening I was happy to find that I wasn't hoping I would stop breathing so it would all end.

Pretty sure I'm going into the office tomorrow.

Dang it.

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Dental Hygienks

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

Dave!I went to the office as planned. That part was okay.

Then I went to get my teeth cleaned, found out that the hygienist I've been going to for 20+ years had left, I had a serious tooth-related issue that needs to be dealt with, Albertsons didn't have any squirty cheese, Our Flag Means Death was cancelled, and then everything turned to shit.

After the week I had dealing with my chest cold, HAVEN'T I SUFFERED ENOUGH?!?

The good news is that the streets were nicely plowed after the snow that got dumped on us fell, but of course there are people still driving as if they are on bare pavement when the roads haven't been sanded. Not far from my home somebody in the car in front of me did not give themselves enough time to stop and went blowing right past the stop sign onto a busy street. As I watched it all happen I was like "Go with God, there buddy!" because I thought for absolute sure that I would be witnessing an accident. But... miraculously... God must have been watching out for them (or they were very lucky), because no collision occurred.

Then I got to read this headline...

POPE CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL BAN ON SURROGATE PARENTING, CALLS IT "DEPLORABLE"

"Deplorable." Surrogacy is "deplorable."

I am saying this as a former Catholic... assholes dictating reproductive rights can seriously go fuck themselves. This guy has absolutely ZERO authority to be calling for a "universal ban" on surrogacy. For those who want children but cannot have them for whatever reason, surrogacy is an option. For women who carry other people's children for whatever reason, surrogacy is a right. It is categorically absurd for this asswipe WHO DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A UTERUS AND CAN'T* HAVE SEX TO BE DICTATING REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS TO ANYBODY (except for those Catholics who turn to his words for guidance, I guess).

But UNIVERSAL BAN? Yeah, fuck ALL the way off with that bullshit. You know what *I* deem deplorable? The Catholic Church not turning priests who sexually assault children over to the police. Clean up your own fucking house before you dictate how other people live in theirs.

Jesus.

Old white men constantly dictating what women can and cannot do with their bodies is the height of asshole arrogance. Especially this crusty old fuck...

A photo of the Pope melting before our eyes
Photo of Pope Whatever taken by AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Maybe one day religious leaders won't be drenched in hipocrisy, but I'm not counting on it.


*Can't have sex... or, more accurately "isn't supposed to have sex"... since it's been made very clear that sex is not off the table for Catholic priests.

   

Sub-Zero Heatwave

Posted on Friday, January 12th, 2024

Dave!Our winter has been relatively mild. It's snowed, sure, but it always melts away in short order. But then this morning it was bitter cold. And yet the sun was shining, so I anticipated it would warm up by the afternoon.

It did not.

When I left the office to get into my car and go home, the sun had been replaced with overcast skies and snow. Not tons of snow, but enough that the wind blowing it around produced whiteout conditions. As if that weren't bad enough, the snow had been fused to my car window by the cold, making it really difficult to scrape off.

But that's not all! Not only could I barely see, but my car didn't want to start and it was running weird. Even the turn signals sounded slow and clunky.

When I finally managed to get home, I was incredibly thankful that I had a garage to pull into...

My hard snow covered car!

Since I couldn't scrape the car itself, I just brushed off the snow as best I could. I expect the remainder will melt since my garage is slightly above freezing.

Which beats trying to melt it off with a blowdryer in this -6° heatwave we're having.

UPDATE: But that's not all! I never heard my heat pump turn on. I was then informed that it won't turn on when it's so cold that there's no heat to extract from the air. The only option is for my HVAC system to engage the Auxilary Heat. Which is far more expensive to run, but I'm awfully glad I have it...

Aux Heat is on!

UPDATE UPDATE: But that's not all! It's Saturday morning and it's -14° out... but it feels like -23°... which is to say I'm hiding in my house all weekend...

Times like this I wish I had millions of dollars to spend winter in a warmer client.

   

Midnight YouTube Day

Posted on Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

Dave!It's Wednesday. I am writing this near midnight. I've had a very rough day. I want nothing more than to slip into a deep coma and forget about the world for sixteen hours. But instead I'll be wide awake rehashing events of the day in my head while watching videos. I am watching YouTube under the delusion that it will distract me from my brain... all while knowing full well that it will not. If I'm lucky, I'll eventually be able to fall asleep for four hours before I have to wake up and start another day that likely won't be much better.

The video that's playing as I am typing this is called Real Reason Ships Don't Pass Under South America (It's Not The Distance). It's fascinating. And I'm really glad that I didn't watch it before my Antarctica expedition because I would have had second thoughts...

Ultimately The Drake Passage is very much a right of passage for visiting Antarctica. Some people get smooth sailing. Most people do not. In my case, it was isanely rough. As in looking out my cabin window and not being able to see sky rough. And though I definitely didn't think so at the time, I'm actually glad for that because it makes for some funny stories. Like having to sit down to pee because the boat is slamming you around so hard, but finding yourself being thrown off the toilet while attempting it. And trying to eat in the galley while dishes are flying past you. Good times. Good times.

But anyway. I'm going to sign off because the next video in my queue is about bananas confusing AI, and I can't wait for that...

Is there anything you can't find on YouTube?

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Apple, Data Loss, and Me

Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024

Dave!When I got home from the office for the day I had a quick bit for dinner then pulled up a personal project I've been working on for the past seven years. It's a writing exercise that may not go anywhere, but I enjoy the distraction from the constant barrage of work that never ends.

But the file would not open.

I went to my Apple iCloud Drive to see what was going on, and found out that files of all types were being reduced to zero bytes. I sorted by date and could literally watch it happening in real-time. A file would be 3.8 gigabytes one minute, then 0 bytes the next. And it's not just big files... even small little nothing files were being gutted...

File reduced to zero in a minute.

from 265 bytes to 0 bytes in less than a minute.

Everything had been working fine in the months since I copied all my files over to iCloud Drive. The only thing I had done which might cause this was to pull out my iPad yesterday to update iPad OS. All my files were put on iCloud Drive while the iPad was off, so I can only guess that it woke up, sall all the files it didn't know about, and is somehow removing all their data. Except when I turn the iPad off completely, it's still happening so maybe the iPad Os update is just a coincidence.

In any event, my iMac which has Apple Time Machine backup running is useless for iCloud drive, because it doesn't back anything up that it hasn't held on its local drive. Something Apple should really tell you. Otherwise, you're completely boned. Or not. Apple Support is calling me back in the morning so (hopefully) something can be done. I dunno.

All I do know is that my files are being destroyed while I watch, and most times it happens before I can even download them to back them up. It reminds me of that movie Disclosure where Michael Douglas is trying to uncover critical information he needs to save his job, but Evil Demi Moore is deleting them as he's trying to save them. THIS IS ME RIGHT NOW...

If Apple can't help me tomorrow morning, it means a lot of stuff I've had for decades... photos, files, drawings, and whatnot... which haven't been backed up somehow, somewhere, are gone forever. That would be a horrific loss from which I don't know I can ever mentally recover.

Apple. Where everything just works!

   

The Slow Road to Vegan

Posted on Monday, January 29th, 2024

Dave!I became a vegetarian on Earth Day, 1986. Back then it was no easy task because the many food options we enjoy today didn't exist. Finding meat substitutes at the local grocery store was difficult if not impossible, so I ended up making weekly trips to the health food store... a very expensive endeavor.

As the years marched on, access to more reasonably-priced and better-tasting vegetarian options for all my favorite foods became easier. Burgers, bacon, hotdogs, sausages... it was all there. And my diet today is much the same as it was in the 1990's. Except now I can get an Impossible Whopper at Burger King. Now-a-days, being a vegetarian is easy. It's going vegan that's hard.

Because there's one dietary staple I simply cannot give up: dairy & egg products.

But not for lack of trying. This past year I've made a real effort to ditch milk. I mostly buy almond or soy milk. And it's fine. I love to drink chocolate-flavored faux-milks (mylks, they're called now?). I have no problem putting vanilla or plain mylks on my cereals. Everything that I used to do with milk works with imitation milk. I'm good. But there's three things that there is no adequate substitute for...

Ice Cream
This is not a deal-breaker. I can live without ice cream. I don't eat a ton of it anyway. Juice bars are good enough. But still... there are times that it's the perfect treat, and the vegan options aren't great.

Eggs
I don't really have to eat eggs. So long as there's a substitute to use in baking cakes and such, I could give up eggs without too much issue. I use maybe a maximum of a half-dozen a month (mostly in baking). I'd eat a lot more for the protein content, but I don't like the smell that comes from cooking them. When cooked at home, I eat them mostly scrambled inside of breakfast burritos. But if I'm at a restaurant? Over medium on toast all the way, baby.

Cheese
I love cheese, I live for cheese, most of my favorite dishes are built around cheese, and giving up cheese would require a radical shift in my diet that I'm not prepared to make. Currently, I've not been able to find a vegan cheese that is in any way acceptable to eat.

If a vegan cheese is developed which has the texture, cooking properties, and approximate taste of real cheese, I could become a vegan overnight. I wouldn't even have to think about it. And I really hope that day is coming. If Burger King's "Impossible Whopper" has taught me anything, it's that the science of plant-based foods is seriously breaking barriers.

It's only a matter of time.

But will it be before I die?

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Hard at Work or Hardly Working?

Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

Dave!I don't mind working. Honestly, I don't. My job is tough, time-consuming, and demanding, but it's also satisfying, and I love that my assorted skills and talents are put to good use. So, yeah, I've been a hard worker my entire life, I put everything I have into the job, and I'm okay with it. I'm not saying this because I'm expecting a medal or I'm waiting for somebody to hand me a cookie... it's just a window into my mindset for this post.

That being said...

I don't want to be working ten to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week when I'm 80.

And yet, it's looking like that could be a very real possibility. The government is likely going to increase the retirement age (again), and it's understandable. People are living longer, so they have to work longer or else there won't be any money available. I get that. But it probably doesn't matter. Despite promises to the contrary, if piece of shit pig fucking Republican lawmakers have their way, you won't get any Social Security anyway (despite being forced to pay into it your entire working life). Which means you'll be fucked if you stop working regardless.

The weight of thinking about that has been crushing me lately.

It's never, ever going to end.

  • I never wanted for anything I needed growing up, but in order to buy the "cool jeans" and extra things I wanted, I took Summer jobs and worked after school.
  • I worked multiple jobs and untold hours to get out of the debt I ran up in college.
  • I worked extra hours whenever I could to be able to afford to go on vacations.
  • I volunteered for charity work mostly because I want to do some good in the world... but also because I could expense food and tack on a few days vacation to the places I had to travel. That way I didn't have to buy as many groceries or pay for plane travel (just my hotel and food for the extra time outside of work).
  • While caring for my mom, I worked my main job from home and took on any extra work I could get... from freelance design to proofreading... so I could help pay for her care and get a safe home for her.
  • When my mom had to move to a care facility, I worked an extra job so she could get into a better place and I could buy what niceties I could afford for her so she'd have the best life she could under the circumstances.
  • And of course I had to find extra work so I could afford to fix all the problems with my home.

COVID shut down my volunteer work... and my job at work changed so I don't have time for other jobs now... but I'm still working hard. And that's good. Like I said, I want to work hard to make my way in the world and be able to afford a few fun things in my life. Nobody is going to throw millions of dollars at me, so hard work is the only way it's going to happen.

But holy shit I don't want to be working like this at 80.

I need something to look forward to in my sunset years.

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Self Care Deep Cuts

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Dave!"I GUESS MY CUT WILL BE SHORTER THAN USUAL!" — Me. After I dropped the #3 hair clipper guard, broke it, and had to switch to a #2 guard.

"WELL THAT'S UNFORTUNATE!" — Me. After my hair clippers died half-way through the haircut I was giving myself.

"DON'T PANIC! YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS A BARBER, SO YOU GOT THIS!" — Me. As I attempted to use scissors to even out my haircut.

"THIS ISN'T GOING WELL AT ALL!" — Me. After I realized that I am making matters far worse trying to scissor-cut my hair.

"I MAY ACTUALLY HAVE TO SHAVE MY HEAD NOW!" — Me. After an hour of making my head look like I stuck it in a blender.

"DON'T LOOK, GRANDPA! DON'T LOOK AT ME! THE SHAME! THE SHAME!" — Me. After giving up completely.

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Inflatable Patch Kit, Anyone?

Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2024

Dave!I'm too tired to have a happy Valentine's Day.

Which is just as well because my blow up doll is leaking air.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Good luck out there everybody.

   

Love Languages

Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Dave!I love languages almost as much as I love travel.

I watch a lot of videos and follow a lot of accounts which talk about languages, so "The Algorithm" is constantly feeding me more language content. Which just goes to show that it's not all bad, because cool stuff like this is what I want to see on the internet...

This guy is awesome! I love people who know things.

I missed two on the list. The same one he did #10 (which I wouldn't have thought of, even with three strikes available) and #9... which I should have thought of, but I didn't because I wasn't thinking of the other countries that also speak it (which is silly because I absolutely knew this).

For somebody who loves languages as much as I do, you'd think that I speak a slew of them. You'd think wrong, unfortunately. But it's not for lack of trying...

  • German. My great grandmother spoke German, so I thought it would be fun to learn how to speak it. This would be in Middle School, and I have long since forgotten all but the basics, which is sad because I've been to Germany a lot.
  • Spanish. Studied it in high school. I still use a bit from time to time, but to say "I speak Spanish" would be a gross overstatement. I dabble. And I can understand it being spoken far easier than trying to speak it myself.
  • Japanese. I studied it because I love Japanese cartoons and comics and wanted to try and understand Japanese language and culture so that the anime/manga would be more enjoyable. This was an off-and-on endeavor during high school. But then became an obsession when I started traveling to Japan for work and to see friends I had made. For a while in the early 90's I was fairly fluent. I could hold my own in a basic conversation so long as people weren't speaking too fast. Now-a-days? I have a tough time remembering much of anything. A lot of words, but grammar has gone right out the window.
  • French. I loved the idea of being able to speak French, but it was way past my ability to grasp. Five or six months before my second trip to Paris, I did nothing but listen to Pimsleur language tapes. It was a wasted effort. I managed to speak basic phrases and be understood, but it never really gelled, and my comprehension was awful so I gave up. On the plus side the French people, who have a reputation for being "rude," were incredibly nice and supportive of my feeble efforts in mangling their lovely language. I never met a single French person who was anything but kind to me.
  • Italian. I started studying Italian once my Japanese was pretty good. I wanted a second language and thought it might be an easier alternative to French. My passion for visiting Italy and eating Italian food sealed the deal. It was nice to be able to have basic conversational skills (especially the three times I took my mom) but I didn't use it enough to really have it take 'hold.
  • Swedish. For my first trip to Sweden, I studied really, really hard to learn the language. I had this fantasy that I would be all cool and be able to chat up hot Swedish women. I tried it out on some friends I was meeting and was immediately told "English is fine, please don't do that." Because of course their English was better than mine. I think I remember maybe five words.
  • Portuguese. During the time I spent visiting Spain (5 times in 6 years), it was always my goal to tag on a trip to Lisbon. And so I did. I wanted to have a little bit of Portuguese in my head so I could enjoy it more, and studied quite a lot. Alas, the people I tried to speak to had zero interest in entertaining me. They'd even pretend to not understand me... even when I was certain that I was pronouncing everything correctly. I gave up on that real quick.
  • Russian. After visiting countries like Poland and Romania where I was at a serious disadvantage by not knowing any of the language (English is not as ubiquitous as in other European countries), I decided that I would study Russian before a planned trip to St. Petersburg in 2013. I was not going to mess up an architectural dream-trip by not being able to communicate. So for nine months I studied. Which was insanely difficult because Russian, which I was told would be easier than Japanese, is not a simple language for Westerners to wrap their head around. But I pushed through and... had a visa problem and only made it as far as Helsinki. St. Petersburg would have to wait. Then, eight years later, I had a work opportunity where knowing Russian would be helpful so I started looking at it again. I'm far from fluent because... well, unless you're born speaking it, Russian is just next-level tough. But I have built a bit of a vocabulary and am not entirely helpless, so that's nice. I'm probably going to stick with it for a while because the difficulty gives my brain a workout and can hopefully keep me sharp in my declining years.

And that's it. Studied a lot, know nothing. The story of my life, really.

If I had tons more time to spare and the brainpower to handle it, I'd love to learn Mandarin. That seems as if it would be a real door-opener when it comes to work projects. And of course visiting India is still sitting on my bucket list, so learning Hindi would also be nice. Realistically, however? English, a smattering of Japanese, and Russian is probably it for me.

   

My Relationship with My Toilet is Not Complicated

Posted on Friday, February 16th, 2024

Dave!I read a bullshit article where millionaire Barbara Corcoran was reinforcing the old adages "Money doesn't buy happiness" and "Money makes relationships complicated"... which is what people with money have been telling people without money since the dawn of time. Because that way they don't feel bad about not sharing their hoarded wealth to make other people's lives better.

Get fucked, Barbara.

I've lived with a toilet and glass shower doors sitting in my hallway for 6 months while I've saved up the money to have my bathroom put back together (after the first contractor did shitty work that caused a leak). I would be far, far happier if I could just throw money at my problems and have them solved instantly. My relationship with my toilet would not be more "complicated" because I have money...

Jenny looking at the toilet and glass doors in my hallway.

Holy shit do I detest deplorable assholes like this. You can enjoy your immense wealth and be happy about it while shutting the fuck up and not lying to people because you have an agenda to keep the working class under your thumb. NOBODY is buying it. Barbara even says that she "isn't giving the money back" so what the fuck is she even on about?

But anyway... first I had to pay to have the old shower demolished because that's where they said the leak was coming from...

My shower torn out.

Except... that wasn't where the leak was coming from. My tile guy figured that out when he decided to pull the toilet because he couldn't see where any leaks from the shower that got ripped out. Thousands upon thousands of dollars wasted FOR NOTHING. But at least my tile guy did a much better job of rebuilding my new shower than what I had before...

Remainder of the old shower ripped out.

New shower board and pan put in.

New tile going up.

Shower doors are installed.

Now that the glass doors were out of my hallway, I had to save the money for the ACTUAL leak under the toilet to be repaired...

Glass doors gone, toilet still there.

Which resulted in yet ANOTHER hole being put into my home so they could replace the pipe and flange going to the toilet...

Hole in my ceiling. Again.

Shockingly... despite the wood being continuously soaked and pools of water forming on the ducts (which left behind a lot of mineral scale) there's no mold to be found...

New pipe!

And now I have a toilet...

Toilet INSTALLED!

But I'm not done yet. Monday I have an electrical install. And then I need to have all the drywall repaired once I have the money saved. So that will be expensive fun. Because apparently home repairs NEVER END.

   

Warm Pita Bread and Rory

Posted on Monday, February 26th, 2024

Dave!I had such grand ambitions for dinner tonight.

But my Monday was so exhausting that I just didn't have the energy to cook anything. So I'm having a hot dog, warmed pita bread, and roasted red pepper hummus while watching Rory Scovel's new HBO special (just like I promised I would yesterday... I'm a man of my word!)...

Rory Scovel doing his comedy thing.

The dude has always been funny in a kinda everyman-average-guy-sorta-way, but he's disturbingly good-looking now. He's got a nice haircut (with highlights?) and he's dressed very well. He's totally put together compared to other appearances I've seen from him, which I am not used to seeing.

The special itself, Religion, Sex and a Few Things In Between is actually very good. I don't want to say that it's more mature and refined... this is Rory we're talking about... but it does seem as though he's scaling back on the "wacky" enough to build a stronger rapport with the audience and court a new level of success. No more schleppy Member's Only jacket hiked up to his armpits with his shirt hanging out (which is what his last Netflix Special was about). Nope. Rory got himself a stylist!

But anyway...

After this I'm off to bed. Not necessarily to sleep... I'm not that lucky... but I will be attempting to rest.

Because I'm guessing tomorrow is going to be even more exhausting.

   

The Kleenex of Clothing

Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

Dave!Today was cold so I wore two shirts. A long-sleeve Eddie Bauer blue henley that I've had for at least a decade. On top of that I wore a short-sleeve St. John's Bay light green cotton button-up that I've had for close to two decades. Sure they look weird together, but they're some of my favorite pieces of clothing.

But the blue long-sleeve T has the elbows ripped out and a couple small holes in it... and the short-sleeve shirt has several holes, one of which is too big to repair. And so when I change into a T-shirt for bed, I'll be throwing them in the garbage, like I should have done years ago. But I held onto them because, despite the tears and holes, they were very well made. Now-a-days you're lucky if a shirt will last two years. Everything is made with thin, fragile cloth and not built to last. Clothing is made like Kleenex because they want you to throw it out and buy more ASAP.

What's a few holes when compared to that? These shirts are stronger with holes in them than new shirts are fresh off the rack.

At one time I thought I would just sew my own and use good-quality materials... but sewing shirts takes longer than you'd think. It also takes skills that are not easy to master. The obvious solution is to just pay the money for clothes that will last, and I'm perfectly willing to do that. But finding them is difficult. I'm (obviously) not somebody who's into high fashion, but most of the tougher clothes I can find in tall sizes are made for construction workers and lumberjacks. Not exactly looks I can pull off very well.

And so... goodbye my faithful shirts. You did a good job these many years.

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i need a vacation

Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2024

Dave!   
A shitty end to a shitty week.

   

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Give Me All You Got, Doc

Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2024

Dave!Today at my doctor appointment, I asked for ALL THE VACCINES! I figure science has given us these gifts from God, so I might as well accept them. Alas, all he had for me was the TDAP blend update, which I am very happy to get, seeing as how whooping cough is making its way through the valley. Again. Other than that, my doctor said I should get the shingles vaccine even though I never had chickenpox. So I am absolutely doing that.

Sadly, I have everything else he recommends. Which is a bummer given how many people are skipping vaccines, and I'm sure polio and all that other crap we had virtually eliminated are most certainly coming back. God. How stupid are we as a society?

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The Opposite of Aging Gracefully

Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2024

Dave!This morning I was looking through some photos posted by an old friend. Among the photos was one which included a woman I dated for a bit. She looks... incredible.

Meanwhile... I look like what happens when sour cream sits out too long. And then explodes.

Whatever that gene is which causes people to look better with age is the gene that I have the opposite of. Which wouldn't be so bad if I didn't feel like I'm falling apart. Except I totally do. Yesterday morning I bent over to pick up some toys that Jake dragged downstairs and almost didn't make it back upright. I think that if I hadn't taken a couple Advil, I probably wouldn't have made it through the rest of my day. At all.

A part of me thinks that I should take up yoga or pilates or something. Except that may very well be the death of me, so maybe sitting on the couch and watching TV while eating potato chips is the better move?

I'm thinking yes.

At least until I throw my back out reaching for a chip.

Which may be painful, but at least I get a potato chip out of the deal. The same can't be said for yoga or pilates.

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Post-Birthday Decompression Suite

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2024

Dave!My birthday weekend with family was really nice. Riiiight up until today when I had to drive back over the mountains and The Real World.

One of the things we did was go bowling. Something I haven't done in decades. I used to love it (it's how I met my best friends in college), but as my body started falling apart, it seemed like less and less of a good idea. And though I completely sucked at it (being woefully out of practice and trying not to be too physical lest I throw my back out) I had a great time...

My feet in bowling shoes on the funky Bowlero lanes.

Bowling balls on the ball return.

The funky Bowlero lanes with saturated, colorful lights and music videos playing.

And now that I'm home, I want to sleep.

Except I need to clean up my house since I didn't do it before I left.

Always a mistake, but I'm too old to do the smart thing now.

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The innocence of youth… or not.

Posted on Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

Dave!Facebook memes are often more amusing to me than they probably should be. What can I say? I'm easily amused.

I especially like those memes asking you to score yourself on all the debauchery, danger, and mishaps you've had in life. Partly because people assume that I'm some kind of choirboy or something, but that's never been the case. Not necessarily because I seek these things out... but because they somehow find me.

The latest I ran across asks you to score a point for each thing you haven't done...

Give yourself a point for each thing you HAVEN'T done.

I end up with a whopping total of... two points.

  1. Skipped school. I skipped school more times than I can count. And it wasn't because I was "hanging out with the wrong crowd" or whatever... it was because school was so boring to me. So some days I just wouldn't go. Which was easy because both my parents worked. And because I got pretty good grades nobody really found out or cared.
  2. Broken a bone. Never have. I did saw into my thumb bone with a hacksaw though. And because I had frostbite when I was a kid, I couldn't feel pain. I only knew what happened when I saw the hacksaw blade covered in blood. Oops.
  3. Fired a gun. I was raised in Redneckistan and got my NRA Gun Safety training and everything. Haven't touched a gun since 1986 though, because I decided to try and live my life more in accordance with Buddhist precepts, and it's forbidden in the traditions of the Buddhism I follow.
  4. Done drugs. Marijuana is legal in Washington State. As to whether I did drugs before that? No comment.
  5. Been in a limo. Several times. My sister is fond of hiring them when a group of us is going out... and I was in them often with my work.
  6. Gotten a tattoo. I have nine now. Want more. Will probably get more.
  7. Ridden a horse. I've ridden horses, camels, and elephants at one time or another.
  8. Sung karaoke. I used to work in Japan. It's a very common group activity there. I'm terrible at it, however. And then there was the serious karaoke accident I had in Stockholm where I fell off the back of the stage and cut my chin open.
  9. Gotten a ticket. Four speeding tickets. AND I DESERVED NONE OF THEM!!
  10. Been arrested. I've been detained, but not arrested. And it was over something that had nothing to do with me, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seriously thought I was going to be arrested based on how I was treated though. Guilty until proven innocent, and all that.
  11. Gone zip-lining. I've been a few times. It can be fun, depending on the location. I think my favorite is the one down Vegas Old Town under that lighted canopy they have.
  12. Been on TV. I've been interviewed a couple times to comment on a project the charity I worked with was involved in.
  13. Been on a cruise. My mom loved them. So I've been on a half-dozen.
  14. Gotten a piercing. Had my ear pierced in college for years. One day it fell out and got lost, so I left it out.
  15. Smoked. I smoked because I was in a crowd that smoked. But after six months or so, I just couldn't do it any more because I felt sick more than anything else.
  16. Met a celeb. I've met many. Several band members from bands I like. A lot of TV and movie celebrities at conventions. Occasional random encounters from when I was working in L.A. But it's not like we ever hung out or went shopping or anything.
  17. Been skydiving. I went tandem skydiving with a friend. I liked it, so I went back for lessons. Got my certificate after my graduation dive and never felt the need to jump out of an airplane again.
  18. Had a one-night stand. And each time I had a one-night stand, there ended up being a pretty good story attached to it. Except once. Which was one of my very few regrets in life. I was a tool for revenge and didn't even know it. Had no way of knowing it. Even so, I still feel like crap because of it.
  19. Skinny-dipped. In the Ocean off Maui at night.
  20. Been drunk. BWAH HA HA HA HAAAA!
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Representational Governmental Discord of the Heart

Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2024

Dave!It always amazes me how people think that the entirety of a country wholeheartedly believes in their government and supports them in everything they do.

And it's like... do YOU wholeheartedly believe in YOUR government and support THEM in everything THEY do?

No?

So why should it be any different in other countries?

I've never found this to be true in any place on this earth I've visited. Yes, some countries have a government that better represents the majority of the people they serve, but even then there will be those who don't agree with what's being done in their name. But here's the thing... no matter where I've been, I've always been able to find a way to relate to my fellow earthlings, at least in general.

I have been warmly invited into the home of a man who hates America. Literally. Would not cry a single tear if the country would implode after the way our government meddled in the affairs of his country. And I'm not imagining things here. He actually said it to me with a smile on his face. But he doesn't hate Americans. At all. Just our government (for which I think he pities us)... and, to be fair, he has justification for it.

But, once invited into his home, the politics of our countries never came up. We talked about our lives, our work, our families, where we live, and a dozen other topics that resulted in smiling faces and laughter. Because, at the bottom of it all, we are both human.

Too many people in too many countries are losing sight of this very basic fact, and it doesn't bode well for humanity. There is history which makes relations between some peoples difficult... very difficult, even... but it's never impossible.

Person to person, anyways.

I drank tea and had a great chat with a guy who despises my country with fervor. I guess miracles can happen. When governments are left at the door.

   

The Jeans You Keep

Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2024

Dave!I have a very large denim collection. Partly out of necessity, because my weight fluctuates radically depending on what diet I'm having to be on.

Sometimes I have to eat low-carb in order to regulate blood sugars, and that results in rapid weight loss. When that happens, I'm in a 32-inch waist. When I'm on my regular diet, I'm a 33-inch waist. If I am having mobility issues due to my joints being screwed up long enough, then I'm a 34-inch waist. And... for those rare times I've been on a medication that's escalated weight gain and affected my mobility, I have a three pair of 36-inch waist jeans in a bottom drawer. No idea why I don't have any 35-inch.

So I have jeans with 32, 33, 34, and 36 inch waists.

But it doesn't end there. For each size I have multiple styles.

For the longest time I wore "relaxed" fit jeans because I'm skinny and I thought they made me look not-so-skinny. And it happened to be the style of the day, so Levi's 550's were my go-to.

Then the wider leg jeans went out of style, so I switched back to the straight-leg jeans of my youth, Levi's 501's and 505's.

Then I was traveling and lost my suitcase. I stopped at a store to get some new jeans and shirts and the clerk helping me put me in a tapered leg (Levi's 502's) and slim fit models (Levi's 511's and 513's) because they were popular and she thought the fit was better on me. I never in my life thought I'd buy these kind of jeans, but I ended up loving them. I didn't ever drop down to "skinny jeans" (not at my age!), but I've been wearing slim-fit jeans for over a decade.

But now slim-fit jeans are lumped in with "skinny jeans" and they are very much NOT in style.

And so...

All my slim-fit jeans are going into storage. And my straight-leg jeans are coming out of storage. I have loads of them in good shape with a 33 & 32-inch waist, which is perfect (unless I ended up gaining weight). It doesn't matter that some of them are twenty years old, they're back in style now, so I'm really happy I held onto them.

And this is the reason why I'm holding onto all my slim-fit jeans. In another ten years, who knows? Maybe they'll be back in style and I won't be too old to wear them.

I should donate all my relaxed-fit jeans. I don't picture me ever being able to wear those again. Old guys in baggy jeans doesn't really work in any era.

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Organizational Motivation

Posted on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024

Dave!Over the weekend I started Spring cleaning. Which started with putting out the sonic mole spikes because my underground friends are back, then cleaning out my flower beds (which was no fun for my allergies). And then I progressed into my home, which was neglected most of March while I was working on tons of other things.

The first thing I did was better-organize my freezer. Which, miraculously, always seems to have enough room for new groceries no matter how full it already is. Birds Eye Microwave-Steam-In-The-Bag vegetables were on sale, so I bot a shit-ton of them, then packed them into the bottom of my freezer and put the older stuff on top so I'd use them first...

My freezer neatly organized.

Oh how I love how economical frozen vegetables are. I'd buy fresh, but frozen (particularly on sale) are so much less expensive, taste amazing, and don't go to waste from spoiling.

From the kitchen I decided to move into the garage. Since the frost is gone, I'll be parking outside so I can set up my wood shop. My goal is always to try and organize things in a way that I can move my tools out of the way and still park indoors at night, but I'm never quite able to get there. This year, I can finally donate all my old kitchen cabinetry, which will open up a heck of a lot of space. So... maybe.

It would be easier if I were the kind of person who can throw stuff out. But I'm just not. I might neeeeeeed it some day. Which is so stupid, but here I am... saving every scrap of wood. But at least I got it organized nicely...

Next I have to organize my tools (yet again) and clear off my work bench. After that... it's tool time.

I need to rebuild my entry closet, build some shelves for my office, and figure out how to build a cat run for Jake and Jenny so they have something new to explore. After that there's no less than 18 projects on my list, which should make for a fun Spring and Summer.

   

So This is “Health Care”…

Posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

Dave!Greetings at 3:45am on Thursday morning!

I have kidney stones!

I figured it out because I've been screaming in pain for the past 6 hours. Still hurting, but I really, really hope the worst of it is finally over, because... holy crap is this unreal. I used to get them regularly. Like clockwork once a year. But then they mysteriously stopped, and I haven't had one since 2017. Probably because I started drinking lemonade regularly? No idea why they're back.

What's bothering me most... other than the sheer agony, of course... is that I really should have had somebody drive me to the hospital. When the pain is so bad that I can't keep down pain medication, I used to go and have them give me an IV so I can get through it. But now? The whole time I was terrorizing my cats with my yelling, I was thinking "I know it will pass eventually... so can I really afford a hospital visit? No. I will just continue to be in absolute agony to see if can get through this on my own."

What kind of FUCKED UP "health care" system is it where somebody has to be screaming for six hours because a hospital visit is off the table for them? I have no fucking clue what we're even doing. Guess I should be glad it wasn't ten hours. Or days.

We'll find out exactly how bad our "health care" is tomorrow (today?) when I go in for a consultation for yet another eye surgery. Where the entire time I'll be thinking "Do I really need to see that badly?"

   

Celebrating The Kidney Afterlife

Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2024

Dave!After the kidney stone nightmare last night (and this morning), I decided to work from home today just in case there was still a fragment left to come. Or my nausea returned. Or whatever.

After lunch I noticed that my right leg hurt pretty bad. I take a look and... yep... I've got a massive bruise on the front of my upper leg and the side of my lower leg. Absolutely no clue how I did it. I was in such a huge amount of pain that I could have gotten hit by a car and barely noticed. Maybe I did get hit by a car!

The good news is that I get to share this awesome drawing of the male urinary system that I drew up in one of my past posts about kidney stones...

Filtration System Schematic

I was pretty tender on my right side all day today, but actual pain was minimal. I managed to keep an Eggo waffle down for lunch (no butter, no syrup), get a huge chunk of work done, and drive over the mountains for my appointment tomorrow, so I'm calling the day a win.

As for the drive itself, it was pretty crazy. Roads were clear. But there was a lot of snow assaulting me going up the pass and hardly any visibility coming down the pass. I was excited to post a few photos of it all, but my dashcam cord has gone bad and my camera wasn't on for the whole trip. Maybe if you just picture A WHITEOUT... JUST WHITE EVERYWHERE... and that will be close enough.

And now, for your reading enjoyment, I present... A TIMELIME OF HORRIFIC SUFFERING...

  • 5:40pm I leave work to get cleaned up so I can see a friend's photos from a trip he took.
  • 6:15pm I have a faux-cheese sandwich for dinner.
  • 7:30pm I arrive at my friend's house. Everybody else had dinner earlier (which I was invited to, but skipped, because I don't like to make life difficult for people over my dietary choices) but I did snack a little on crackers, carrots, and hummus that was left over.
  • 8:15pm I bow out early because I feel some kind of abdominal distress coming on. From what, exactly, I have no idea.
  • 8:30pm I get home, take an antacid, and output some PDFs for work to email out for review.
  • 9:10pm Starting to get really uncomfortable now. I decide to call it an early night.
  • 9:20pm And now I get it. I've felt this before. Kidney stones. I haven't had one since 2017.
  • 9:30pm There goes the contents of my stomach.
  • 9:40pm And now I'm in serious pain. I take one of my three remaining Oxycodone/Anti-Nausea combos I have left from 2017. Immediately throw it up.
  • 9:50pm The pain is almost overwhelming, so I try one of my two remaining Oxycodone/Anti-Nausea combos. It goes no better. Even the small sip of water was too much and everything comes right back up.
  • 10:00pm I have now reached the "Begging for Death Stage." I am very close to calling a friend to take me to the hospital for a pain-killer IV, but all I can think about is how it will cost me thousands of dollars since I'm nowhere close to my massive insurance deductible.
  • 10:30pm At this point, I'm crossing my fingers that I'll just pass out from the agony.
  • 11:20pm Time has no meaning. Has it been hours? Days? Weeks? I don't know. My cats have abandoned me because I'm pretty much screaming non-stop. It doesn't no good, but I can't help myself. I keep running to the bathroom to throw up, but there's nothing to throw up.
  • 12:07am I know it was 12:07am because that's what it said on my clock when I decided to take my final Oxycodone/Anti-Nausea combo. Now I have something to throw up.
  • 1:20am According to my Apple Watch, I passed out for 35 minutes or so. I have no recollection of it. According to what I remember, I was awake and screaming the whole time. This actually makes me happy, because it meant my cats had a break from being absolutely terrorized.
  • 2:30am Around this time, I am crawling around my house looking through every pill bottle I can find to see if there's another hit of Oxy I can throw up. There is not. I contemplate the hospital again, feeling like the pain will never end.
  • 3:30am Around this time, the pain starts to recede.
  • 3:40am The pain isn't gone, but it might as well be. I have two soda crackers and a sip of water to celebrate. Nothing gets thrown up, so I guess the worst is over. I drink a full glass of water and try and get some sleep.
  • 7:20am I wake up and take a whiz. That wonderful feeling of having a needle stabbing inside my urethra is both painful and a relief, because I know it's now officially over. UNLESS THERE IS A SECOND ONE SOMEWHERE ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS!
  • A full day of work followed by a drive over the mountains, trivia night at a bar where I was smart enough to eat very little and drink no alcohol (but not smart enough at trivia), and an early bedtime.

Let's not be doing that again any time soon.

   

Man Cannot Live By Bread and Slimy Egg Alone

Posted on Friday, April 5th, 2024

Dave!I had to wake up early so I could have an early drive to an early doctor appointment that was early.

Color me shocked, there was no traffic down the usually-heinous-especially-on-a-Friday 405 East of Seattle. I anticipated a 40-45 minute commute. I did it in 18 minutes. Which means I was nearly an hour early for my appointment. I was a bit hungry (and finally feeling like eating again), so I decided to grab breakfast. Much to my delight, a Panera was 8 minutes away. Perfect.

Boo! BOOOOO!!!

Boo, Panera Bread!

Instead of the gooey, delicious, egg over-medium that you used to get, they’ve switched to that same gross, spongy, slimy "egg" that McDonalds has! DAY. RUINED. I was all "Guess I’ll just sit here in the parking lot of the eye clinic and cry." AND COULD YOU BLAME ME? LOOK AT THIS! JUST LOOK AT THIS!!!

Argh. And the shit was really expensive too.

Boy oh boy did I used to love being in a city that had a Panera in it.

But back to the traffic (or lack thereof)... what is going on? Roads in Bellevue were practically empty. In Bellevue! Didn’t even have to use express lanes to drive 65 the entire way to the city... ON THE 405, FOR GOD’S SAKE. Did The Rapture happen three days early? Are we in a National Day of Mourning because somebody famous died?!? Please tell me it’s not Skylar Astin! I need more So Help Me Todd!

But anyway... mission accomplished.

More or less.

   

Say No More, Mon Amour

Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2024

Dave!UPDATE! If you have eclipse glasses you will be throwing away, donate them instead! This is so great.

The first eclipse I remember viewing was the Great Eclipse of February 1979. We were right on the edge of the "Totality Zone," which means that everybody in the region was eclipse-crazy. "We don't even have to travel to have the best seat in the house!" Except... Central Washington in February (especially back then) is usually overcast skies, so nothing (especially the "best seats in the house") was guaranteed.

But then the Big Day arrived and, miracle or miracles, the skies were not terrible. It was a school day, which meant that our science teacher showed us how to view the event with a piece of paper with a hole in it casting the shadow of the sun onto another piece of paper. AKA the shittiest way to view an eclipse. You'd think for this monumental event, the Washington State Department of Education would have sprang to give us all safety glasses, but it was what it was. We all went outside with our papers, and I remember a lot of it very well despite my being 12 years old (almost 13) at the time. But mostly I remember how thrilled I was to get out of science class.

The next eclipse was only 92% where I lived back in 2017, but I had great equipment to view it and take photos, which made it a heck of a lot more memorable than looking at a shadow on a piece of paper...

Total Eclipse Uneclipsed Sun Shot!

Plus... my cats had fun because I was staying home with them, so there's that.

The eclipse today wasn't that eventful... we were told it would be just a small chunk out of the bottom. I brought my glasses to work to have a look since the skies weren't too terrible, but then forgot. Oh well.

INTERESTING TO NOTE: My last kidney stone was in 2017. The date of the last eclipse here was 2017. — OBVIOUSLY NASA IS CAUSING KIDNEY STONES WITH THEIR WOKE "ECLIPSES," WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS REALLY JUST THEM REPAIRING HOLES IN THE FIRMAMENT DOME! I DEMAND THAT MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE USE HER FULL POWER IN CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE IMMEDIATELY!

IN OTHER ECLIPSE NEWS: No wonder people thought that The Rapture was going to be today. It happened on Rex Manning Day! (happy Rex Manning Day to all who celebrate)...

I can't celebrate Rex Manning Day without looking up this awesome commercial that Ryan Reynolds gave us last year...

I will spend tonight watching Empire Records for the hundredth time, of course. Such a classic.

IN OTHER, OTHER ECLIPSE NEWS: So how about that Rapture? A ridiculous number of people were coming out of the woodwork claiming that the pending eclipse was clearly a sign that the End of Days was here because they were "activating" the CERN Super Hadron Collider to open a portal and invite the devil to invade so his demons could collapse society and power off the grid (or whatever dippy shit they came up with). Did God change His mind? Shouldn't all these false prophets be getting stoned to death? I'm not holding my breath that the same people posting this shit to social media are going to recant and say they were wrong. Oh hell no. They're already off to the races on whatever other stupid crap they can dream up. Like blaming President Biden for the high cost of shit while corporations are reporting record high profits. Almost as if the corporations are using inflation as an excuse to raise their prices to all-time highs so they can make billions upon billions of extra dollars without getting blamed for it (thus driving inflation even higher). Imagine that! Nope. BIDEN DID IT! And it's like, come on. The Biden Administration has done plenty of actual fucked up shit without having to push stuff like this. But, it's an election year, and high prices are an easy campaign talking point for people to understand, so here we are.

IN OTHER, OTHER RELIGIOUS NEWS: Today The Vatican took time away from their busy schedule of passing around photos of altar boys to declare that surrogacy and gender-affirming care are on par with euthanasia and abortion when it comes to being an affront to human life and a violation of God's Divine Plan...

First of all... if God didn't want surrogacy to produce life, he wouldn't allow it to be possible. Period. My theory is that Catholic priests just find confessional stories about surrogacy to be boring, and would rather hear about a parishioner confessing to getting raw-dogged by a football team because it gives them something fun to beat off to (because they're not having sex... right? RIGHT?!?). Otherwise, why are people who can't have children weighing in on how other people have children? It's insane. You'd think that they'd love the idea of the new Catholics this might create. That's just sound financial sense when it comes to the number of donations on the plate.

Second of all... as a former Catholic, I feel that I'm completely within my right to say that I don't give one single solitary fuck as to what these assholes think is "dignified" about "life." They continue to protect their priests who routinely abuse and sexually assault children. They continue to exploit people in ways that are in direct contradiction to the Bible. They are a monstrous corporation masquerading as a church. Until they clean their own fucking house, they have absolutely ZERO authority to even have an OPINION about what people do with their lives (especially when it comes to gender-affirming care, which can literally saves lives... lives that they don't give a fuck about in the first place, mind you). And even if they did clean house, they can still fuck off with their bullshit, because unless somebody CHOOSES to turn to them for guidance, their OPINION is worth less than jack-shit. Keep your idiotic bullshit within the walls of your fucking child indoctrination camps for the benefit of sexual predators, AKA "Catholic Churches."

I realize that my time as a youngster spent with the Catholic Church was me wearing rose-tinted glasses... but it still pains me to be gunning for them like this because, for better or worse, it was an important part of my life. Particularly when it comes to my grandmother. In all honesty, I don't think the majority of Catholics approve of how The Church deals with many things, but they need their Faith in their lives, so they continue to look past all the heinous shit out of self-preservation. And honestly? I don't blame them. This world is a cesspool, so whatever you need to get through the day is what you need to get through the day. I just wish that more Catholics would hold The Church accountable so that it wouldn't get to keep abusing people and ruining lives without consequences.

Now... I'm off to make dinner and get ready to Say no More, Mon Amour with Rex Manning!

I should have baked cupcakes.

   

It May Be Heaven-Like

Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

Dave!Now that the Rapture is over (Spoiler Alert: I didn't make the cut, again), I was dismayed that another rapture is scheduled for April 23rd by Christian numerologists. Or whatever. I cannot possibly keep up with this stuff. It's as if people are so hot for the End of Days that they're going to keep throwing dates at the wall until something sticks.

Or... IT NEVER FUCKING HAPPENS

But anyway, I was commenting on a Facebook post about the whole rapture death-cult-fantasy scenario and dropped this little gem, almost by accident...

If you can hate your way to heaven, then I seriously don't want to be a part of it. - ZOMG! THAT IS LIKE, PROFOUND! I'M
DEFINITELY BLOGGING THAT ONE!

I have my moments.

Yes I do.

And it's true. If all these hateful bigots who are convinced that they're heaven-bound is indicative of who's going to be there? No thanks. I'm good.

I'll just stick around this mortal plane with all my friends.

   

Guess Who’s Back?

Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

Dave!Spoiler Alert: It's kidney stones!

Though, to be fair, I'm not really sure whether it's the kidney stone(s) from last week that didn't pass after all... or something entirely new. All I do know is that the pain is even worse than last time.

There is a silver lining, however.

Unlike last week when I couldn't keep painkillers down... tonight, I can.

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Sleeping for Sport

Posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2024

Dave!Here's my routine.

The pain wakes me up. I take a pain-killer cocktail. I pass out. Repeat.

Ultimately I slept for 20-1/2 hours during a 24-hour period...

   
Not going to be great for my sleep cycle. But I'll take it over screaming my head off for hours on end.

   

Sleep Deprivation is The Worst

Posted on Friday, April 19th, 2024

Dave!Here's the deal. When you sleep 20-1/2 hours in a drug-induced sleep to avoid unrelenting pain depriving you of rest... there are consequences.

First of all, you are not rested. Your body is chemically deadened to the sensation of pain which also can put you into a coma-like sleep (it sure does for me). But you're essentially being tortured, even when in deep sleep mode. I woke up yesterday exhausted.

The kidney stone pain was not too bad after I finally managed to get out of bed yesterday. Which is to say I am not going to be taking anything stronger than Advil to deal with it because I do not need a painkiller addiction on top of everything else.

Unfortunately Advil does nothing to quell the nausea that's plaguing me now. I was in bed most of the day (the orange dashed line is when I'm in bed but not able to sleep)...

5 hours 36 minutes of sleep.

The answer, of course, is to take sleeping pills to get my sleep mojo back. But the weekend is coming up, so I'm going to give it one more try to not go there. Being trapped in a cycle of drugs to get through the day is fine if you're sure you need it... you do what you gotta do... but I don't know if I'm there yet.

And I tend to not make decisions based on things I don't know. Hopefully tommorrow will be different.

UPDATE: The answer is, of course... NOPE!

4 hours 30 minutes of sleep.

And so... I guess now I know. Looks like I will have to take action after all. Which is not what I wanted, but it is what it is.

That's three full days of my life wasted. That bothers me more than kidney stone pain. I've got stuff to do.

   

Caturday 352

Posted on Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Dave!Every night Jenny naps on the cat tree where she can see me... or on the warming pad next to me on the couch. She's doing this so she knows the minute I close my laptop to head upstairs to bed. Because she knows that I'll be happy to pet her for a few hours while working or watching TV. Jake usually heads up a while later...

Jake and Jenny sleeping next to me.

Then, once I set down the laptop and turn off the lights to go to sleep, Jenny leaves immediately because she knows there's no more petting happening. Jake sleeps with me a lot of the time, which is not a big deal because he doesn't need anything from me and doesn't bother me. Mostly. Sometimes he decides to crawl on me because he wants attention, but that's rare.

Well, tonight I did something I never do.

Closed my bedroom door.

It was heartbreaking seeing Jenny walking towards me anticipating getting her nightly petting time, then shutting her out. But I really had no choice. I desperately needed sleep after two nights of not getting any. And having cats on the bed would be a distraction from that.

We'll see if there are repercussions from this tomorrow. Will they shred everything? Poop in my shoes? Chew up the furniture? Nothing is off the table.

UPDATE: After getting 8 hours and 20 minutes of fairly restful sleep, I woke up and opened the door about an hour before their breakfast time. Jake was there waiting. Jenny came running in five minutes later. No repercussions that I've found. Lucky me. This time.

   

Test for Lupus

Posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2024

Dave!Earth Day! Which means it's been... um... 38 years since I've eaten meat. THAT I KNOW OF! Because do we really know what's in an Impossible Burger? How do they make it taste so good and meaty? Is it because there's meat inside?

And now? A question. Is this what a parent feels like when they accidentally drop their baby down the stairs?

When I got home, I sat down on the couch to answer personal emails. What I did not see was Jenny sneaking into the room. And I really didn't see her jumping on the back of the couch as I was reaching for my Coke Zero. She jumped into my elbow. Clocked her hard and she ran off. I was mortified. Followed her to her hiding place to check and make sure nothing was broken. Then left her alone.

I called her to dinner and she came down, but was wary of getting near me. She wasn't limping or appearing hurt, so I just let her be. And I've been feeling awful ever since.

Just now she came in and wanted to be petted. So I'm thinking where she hit was on her head and now she has memory loss. Poor thing. I would have been inconsolable if I hit her eye or caused some damage. Hopefully it's something she can just shake off.

And speaking of shaking it off...

There's still something going on in my urinary system. Don't know if it's another, smaller, kidney stone... a piece of the last stone which broke off... just an injury from the passing of the last stone... or lupus.

I feel the need to toss lupus in the mix because that's what House M.D. would want.

But life has to go on, so I popped a couple Advil this morning and went back to work. That's not what House M.D. would want, but he isn't paying my mortgage.

   

Netflix Road to… Profitability?

Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2024

Dave!Saving money now-a-days is a necessity for most people. Sadly this has resulted in my losing some entertainment options I used to enjoy, but I have much better use for the money. To add insult to injury, it can be tough to decide what you're going to cut.

Fortunately, some businesses are making my tough decisions for me. Like Netflix!

Right now I am on an ad-free "Basic" plan with Netflix. It's highly limited... just 720p quality and can only stream on one device at a time... but I hang onto it because I fucking detest ads... plus I like a lot of what Netflix has available. No, I don't think that I am getting $11.99 worth of value from it, but I don't cancel because there's no way to ever get "Basic" back again...

But, alas, Netflix is saying that the "Basic" plan is going to be killed off once and for all sometime soon. At which point I'll have a choice to make...

  • STANDARD WITH ADS: $6.99/MONTH - Absolutely no fucking way I'll watch fucking ads from these fucking assholes that made me happy to not have ads in the first place.
  • STANDARD: $15.99/MONTH - If I don't feel that I'm getting value out of an $11.99 price... $15.99 is out of the question. Even if it's at 1080p quality and can be used on two devices.
  • PREMIUM: $22.99/MONTH - BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAA!
  • TELLING NETFLIX TO KISS MY FUCKING ASS: $0.00/MONTH - Sad, but I do love the price...

So let's do the math. Currently Netflix gets $144 a year out of me. Far more than I want to pay, but it is what it is. But after "Basic" is removed? They will get $32 a year at most. I'll buy a month once or twice a year and call it good. Which is to say that Netflix is going to lose $112 a year. Stupid as fuck of them. But ads are so profitable, right?

I guess I should be thanking Netflix, because I could use that extra $112 annually.

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The Dogwood is Dogwooding Again

Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2024

Dave!There's a dogwood tree in my front yard. It's been here since I bought the place and I've tried my best to take good care of it. From what I can tell, it's thriving, because I've been careful to make sure it gets food and adequate water. Most of the time, however, it's not a great-looking tree. Better than nothing, but not what I would have picked to look at out my front window.

Except for one week in the Spring when it's in bloom...

Good-looking dude needs Botox BAD!

For that tiny window, it's a glorous sight to behold. Stunning, really.

Except it never lasts. One day it's in full-bloom, then a couple days later all the petals are falling off at a rapid clip and soon it will be back to its normal self. At least it will still have leaves for a while. Because after the leaves are gone as well, it's back to something bordering on depressing to look at.

I am choosing not to dwell on that, however, because yesterday the repairs on my home were completed... after six years! No more holes in walls and ceilings. And, as God is my witness, there will be no more furniture and other junk scattered around the house after this weekend. I don't care if it kills me, I'm moving everything back to where it belongs, and hanging all the pictures back up on the walls, and scrubbing all the construction dust from walls, floors, and furniture. I am done with my home looking like an episode of Hoarders gone wrong.

And then it's time to start work on the many projects I've got left to do now that I can actually do them.

Last weekend I rebuilt my coat closet so that I can have the Litter-Robot in the bottom while still hanging coats up above it with a protective barrier. I even managed to fit a small shelf above the closet rod, which was something I didn't know if I would be able to do. It ain't much, but it's enough space to put a basket of gloves, scarves, and other seasonal crap that need a place to go when I'm not using them. Not surprisingly, I did a far, far better job with my construction than the original builders did. I took the time to do it right, even though it's just a closet that nobody will look at. This wasn't easy because the door opening is askew and the walls are bowing in and out. It was like trying to build in a funhouse room of mirrors. But after warping board with a steamer, making sure all the screws were recessed and filled, and coming up with something that looked level despite that being impossible... I have something I'm very happy with.

Next weekend I'll start building the access panel covers and other stuff that's been a long time coming.

Who knows... by Winter I may just have a house that looks like a home.

   

I’m a Pirate Now!

Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Dave!   
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me...


   
Hopefully a temporary pirate, but you never know.

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It’s dangerous to have heroes…

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2024

Dave!While I was at my most visually-challenged last week, it was tough to watch TV or use the computer for extended periods. What time I was able to manage was usually devoted to working, because my job doesn't stop just because I'm hurt. Non-visually, I listened to audio books. Another activity was something that I generally loathe... talking on the phone.

One call I had was with the brother of an ex that I still keep in touch with. Since me and his sister parted on great terms, it's all good. I've been to a couple Red Sox games with him when I was in Boston, and we chat about the team from time to time. They're running about 50/50 wins/losses and, after commiserating over another loss to the Rays, our talk turned to happier times... namely the 2013 World Series Champions that once was.

The BoSox winning the World Series in 2004 is one of the happier moments of my life, but it's the 2013 team that became my heroes. Ortiz, Pedroia, Bucholz, Lester, Napoli, Gomes... everybody... so many great players, and I loved them all.

And then there's Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Saltalamacchia Dugout Jacket

I was a huge, huge, massively huge fan of Salty. His whole style of play was great to watch, and it was fun to be a fan of a guy who was kinda under the radar while more famous players were getting all the attention. I wore his jerseys and shirts... and ended up with a signed ball and photo... and even won a bid on one of his warm-up jackets from the World Series...

Saltalamacchia Dugout Jacket

   
I loved the 2013 Red Sox, and Salty was a big part of why.

Then, three years later after he had left the Sox, Saltalamacchia hit the news because of his hot-take on Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest systemic injustices against Black Persons and Persons of Color in this country. Saltalamacchia called this act... which was suggested by a veteran as a respectful form of protest... "disgusting" and had the absolute gall to tell Kap that he "...needs to go back to the history books and realize what that flag represents and what a lot of people have sacrificed for it."

My God.

I remember being absolutely baffled at this statement. I still am. A white man telling a Black man to go back to the history books? Did Salty ever pick up a history book? If he had, he'd know that slavery exists in American history... segregation exists in American history... the civil rights movement exists in American history... redlining exists in American history... a massive laundry list of social injustices against Persons of Color exists in American history! And while I know that a lot of our history has been (and continues to be) whitewashed, I cannot fathom how anybody could be so deranged as to tell a Black man to "go back to the history books." There was a time that you couldn't be Black and play at the highest levels of America's national pastime of baseball. Apparently not only should Salty pick up a history book, but he should visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and see exactly what American history had in store for Black players of the day. Was he friends with Big Papi and other Black players in the Sox? If he was, did it ever occur to him that if he was playing in the 1930's that it would have been impossible for them to have been his teammates?

Yes. Brave soldiers have fought and died under our flag. But ultimately it's a piece of cloth. A symbolic piece of cloth to be sure, but a piece of cloth nonetheless. And here's the thing about symbols... they are open to interpretation. Salty may see the American flag and have a John Wayne movie playing in his head, but when Colin Kaepernick saw the American flag, he saw oppression, injustice, and violence against his people. At which time he did THE MOST FUCKING AMERICAN THING YOU CAN DO... enacted his FREEDOM to peacefully protest.

Interesting to note... in the year of 1960 when The United States of America's star spangled banner received it's 50th star (and became the flag that we're still flying today), four Black college students sat at the Greensboro Woolworth's "whites only" lunch counter to protest the segregation which restricted Black persons from existing in some public places. How can you be Black in America and not equate the two? In the year our current flag was born, there were places you couldn't be Black and eat at a lunch counter. That really needs to be fully understood by all Americans... but there are crusty old racist white politicians who are doing whatever they can to keep it out of our "education" system, so here we are.

The Greensboro Four at the lunch counter at Woolworth's.

   
The following year in 2017, Saltalamacchia gave an interview where he commented on a bunch of New England Patriots declining to visit the Trump White House after their Super Bowl win. He said that if he wasn't otherwise occupied, he would have likely skipped visiting the White House after his World Series win... "It would have been tough just because of my thoughts on Obama and his belief system. I feel like he did a lot of things completely opposite of what this country believes in. I just think he didn’t do a lot for our veterans. That’s my beliefs. I’m sure those Patriots players are doing what their beliefs are. I understand it, and that’s what is so great about our country, the freedom to make that choice.”

I fully agree with this sentiment. We do have the freedom to make our choice. That's what brave American soldiers have fought and died to defend. And Salty's "read a history book" comment to Colin Kaepernick was a perplexing, tone-deaf, sad, and overall wrong choice. Regardless of whether or not you agree with an American's right to peacefully protest the National Anthem and the American flag, the audacity here was off the charts. Why Salty couldn't have said something like "I disagree with what Kaepernick is doing... but he's doing what his beliefs are, and that's his freedom to make that choice" is something I will never understand. That would have been more in line with what he was saying about skipping White House visits, so I dunno. Saltalamacchia is a huge law enforcement supporter and his grandfather was a local sheriff. He admirably raises money for the families of fallen officers. And while he acknowledges that not all officers are honorable, he likely felt Kap's statements about police violence against Persons of Color was an attack on the law enforcement he believes in. And I get that. But that's not an excuse for what was said. How could it be?

As a quick aside here... While I agree that President Obama didn't do enough for veterans (seriously, no president has), I will say that apparently he did enough that President Trump decided to take credit for it. And if you want a quick run-down of the many things that Obama did for veterans even as Republicans were trying to take things away from them, here's a letter by Ben Lofton which lays it out for you.

But anyway...

It's dangerous to have heroes. Because heroes are only human and humans can let you down.

I still love Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He was my hero during the BoSox run to a World Series win, he was a source of great joy at a difficult time for me, and the fact that he said something awful that I vehemently oppose doesn't change what he meant to me at that time. I can no more remove Salty from the 2013 Red Sox than I can stop rooting for the Red Sox.

Maybe in the future he'll do something so unforgivable that I won't be able to reconcile it with being a fan (like shooting a puppy Kristi-Noem-style), but Lord I hope not. This sick sad world is just too damn awful to have to cut out people, places, and moments that brought you even a sliver of happiness.

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Missed Opportunities

Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Dave!I've mentioned more than a few times here, I try really hard to not have regrets in life (okay, I've probably mentioned it several times... give me a break, I've been blogging for over 20 years!). It's just not worth it to pine away over something you did or didn't do, something you said or didn't say, or somewhere you went or didn't go. Just be happy with what you got out of this life and not worry about the rest. It happened. Or didn't. What more can you do without the ability to travel in time?

That being said...

This is not to say that there aren't things I wish could have happened or not happen for one reason or another. Missed opportunities, if you will.

As an example... I really wish I had visited the Aspen Hard Rock Cafe when it was open. It would have been so easy to do. So easy that I kept putting it off so I could hit the more difficult ones in foreign countries. But then the cafe closed with little warning and my plan to visit every US cafe evaporated. That really sucked. It haunted me for years. Now-a-days, when I've pretty much given up on visiting Hard Rock properties, it's like... meh.

As another example... I really wish that I had visited the infamous "Star Wars Hotel" (AKA Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser) at Walt Disney World in Florida. I'm a huge Star Wars nerd, and the immersive properties of the hotel seemed like something I would have enjoyed. But it was ungodly expensive, and I just couldn't afford it. My plan was to wait until the newness wore off and the price would (hopefully) drop a bit when Disney needed to draw in more visitors.

Except rather than lower the price when they weren't getting enough visitors, Disney CLOSED THE HOTEL! I was bummed. Just like the Aspen Hard Rock, I had missed my opportunity forever.

And then I saw this video by one of my favorite YouTubers, Jenny Nicholson, detailing her totally fucked and busted experience at the doomed attraction. It's four hours, but time well-spent...

Holy shit!

Thank God I didn't have thousands of dollars to throw away on this awful experience. Knowing my luck, I'd end up with a worse stay than Jenny, and it's not like Disney is going to give you your money back if they failed to accomplish what they promise. At least I assume that's the case. If you go to one of their theme parks and an attraction you were dying to ride is broken down, you don't get part of your ticket price back. Unless you're an influencer with huge social media reach, apparently.

So, yeah, absolutely no regrets when it comes to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

As it should be.

   

The Bread You Don’t Bake

Posted on Monday, May 27th, 2024

Dave!People can get really aggressive over Memorial Day. Somebody will inevitably say "Today is the day we honor our troops!" at which point somebody else will inevitably respond with "YOU MORON! THAT'S VETERAN'S DAY! THIS IS MEMORIAL DAY WHEN WE REMEMBER THOSE SOLDIERS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY!" I see this and am like dude, calm yourself. This is true, but they were at least trying to do a good thing so there's no need to be quite so aggressive about it.

Then today I turned on my television and saw that PlutoTV had a marathon of movies to "salute the troops" and was all "YOU MORON! THAT'S VETERAN'S DAY! THIS IS MEMORIAL DAY WHEN WE REMEMBER THOSE SOLDIERS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY!" But in my case I was railing against a faceless streaming corporation so it's okay.

Yesterday I had planned to work on home improvement projects, but had to spend the first six hours of my day cleaning my garage wood shop so I could find all the things I needed to actually do the work. Every year I swear I'm going to keep everything organize and clean up as I go... but then I get absorbed in projects and don't do that. So I lose stuff. Which is why I have four hammers, three crowbars, five tape measures, etc. etc.

I found what I needed half-way through cleaning yesterday, so this morning I decided to clean up what was left before continuing work. Alas, it took most of the day so I didn't get much else done. I mean, I did hang the mirror back up in the guest bathroom, so I guess that counts for something.

It was also my big plan to bake bread today but I didn't, so that counts for nothing.

Any other day that would be sad, but isn't nothing what's supposed to happen on a holiday?

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Third Time’s a Data Plan

Posted on Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

Dave!For only the third time in my life, I've changed my mobile company.

I've considered it many, many times, but the effort to switch over something I don't care that much about was never worth it to me. If I can make calls and access the internet, I'm good. But eventually the reasons to switch are far more than the reasons to not switch, so here we are.

My first cellular carrier was Verizon. I liked everything about them and stuck with the company for a little over a decade. Right up until the Summer of 2007. And why did I switch from a mobile carrier that I had been so loyal to? The first iPhone was released, and it was exclusive to AT&T. Had Verizon been able to sell me an iPhone, I would have stayed.

Switching to AT&T was okay. I didn't love them. I didn't hate them. I just went along with them out of sheer momentum for nearly fourteen years. Their coverage was never as good as I had with Verizon, but it was good enough. What was horrific about AT&T was their billing. I have no fucking idea why it was so shitty, but in my last four years it kept building and building until I couldn't take it any more. After I changed plans I spent hours on the phone trying to get my bill straightened out. It never worked. The next month I'd just have to start all over again. The minute I was eligible for T-Mobile's Magenta 55+ plan, I bailed.

The nice thing about T-Mobile was the price. $50 a month. Total. Taxes and fees included. But that price came at a cost... 1) The signal was terrible so many places despite the fact that my handset was showing good bars and 5G. 2) They discriminate against single people, because single-line customers didn't get the perks (like free Netflix) that multi-line customers get, even though single-line customers pay more per line than anybody! 3) They keep changing the game from when I signed up. First I couldn't pay with a credit card any more or they'd take away my auto-pay discount, then they decided to raise the price $5 a month. With no perks, poor quality service, and a price increase, I was done.

And now I've come full circle. I'm back to Verizon. I was going to go with a pre-paid plan just to get the best price, but ultimately went with a regular phone plan because... GET THIS: VERIZON DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SINGLE PEOPLE! Single-line subscribers get all the perks that multi-line subscribers get! So when I factored in an auto-pay discount, a bring-your-own-phone discount, plus the money I would save on stuff I was already paying for by taking advantage of the choose-your-own-perks, I would be paying the same $55 that T-Mobile was charging. Except taxes and fees were not included, so I am paying $8 more. But I was willing to pay it to get Verizon's better service... and to support the fact that VERIZON DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SINGLE PEOPLE! Interesting to note that when I take advantage of other perk savings that are available when my current subscriptions lapse, I can likely recoup the $8, and maybe more...

Comparison Verizon vs. T-Mobile

In three years my "bring your own phone" discount will end. I don't know if Verizon will make an offer to keep me... or if I'll have to switch again... but I think I'm to the point where I'd rather switch for a fourth time than pay more for what I was already getting, so maybe I'll jump to a pre-paid plan then. Or switch carriers. Or give up on a mobile phone altogether.

You can do that, can't you?

   

A Night of YouTube and A Day of Corruption

Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2024

Dave!I had a really rough night and ended up watching a boatload of YouTube videos to take my mind off the stabbing pain that was shooting through me. Sure it meant I only got 3 hours and 42 minutes of sleep and was exhausted all day long, but it beats having to take painkillers that wreck havoc on my internals.

One of the standout videos I watched was Jenny Nicholson at her most hilarious. The longer this went on, the funnier it got. I think I have a hernia now...

   
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! There was more Jenny madness to be had: "I guess I don't know that guy's nationality just by looking at him... so... maybe in his case it is okay to be doing this." In this video she's taking a look at this Canadian church which has become famous for their Easter plays. I WAS NOT AT ALL PREPARED!! As she runs through them, things just keep getting more unreal as the years go on. I cannot fathom how much time is spent on these productions. But it's a lot. TIME THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT WORSHIPPING THE LORD! GAH!

   
Another great thing I saw was the trailer for Moana 2, which looks gorgeous and hilarious...

   
I finally joined Nebula to watch Thomas Flight's exclusive videos and discovered Mary Spender. What a phenomenal talent. She's on YouTube too and worth a listen. She's got her original music there, but she also comments on music in general. This video on the song Dreams by Fleetwood Mac is so good. What a wild story...

   
And now it's today! I've always loved Antonio Banderas. Even when the film isn't great, he puts his all into his role and is always worth watching. What's so great is that the guy never stops working. The first thing I saw him in was Philadelphia. But the movie I first really remember him from was "Desperado." Then there was Mask of Zorro and The 13th Warrior and Once Upon a Time in Mexico which cemented him as a favorite. Right now I am watching a 2017 film called Security on Netflix. I liked it. Banderas has lost absolutely nothing. And then... BEN KINGSLEY?!?? It's kinda Die Hard in a mall, but in a good way. Plenty of action, some dark turns, and Banderas killing it...

Enjoyed it quite a lot. In a day when fascist assholes are wanting to close libraries, ban books, and keep kids from reading, it's nice to remember more literate times.

In other news...

As usual, neither the Left nor the Right is happy with my reaction to the Trump verdict, but I'm getting used to it. Because what I have to say is this... "Great! Now let's go after the rest of these corrupt politicians and purge the government in BOTH parties."

Overwhelming evidence. Guilty on all 34 counts. That's what his party wants representing them in government? But then I look at Democrats and their love of Nancy Pelosi and her corrupt insider-trading ass, which they excuse away because her husband made the actual trades, and it's like... yeah. She couldn't have possibly told him to sell their Google stock right before Google would be sued over antitrust violations. That totally tracks.

Americans need to wake the fuck up. The only reason that 90% of these politicians are in government "service" is so they can exploit their office for money and power. Period. Ban politicians from trading stocks or accepting money from PACs and lobbyists, make the penalty for corruption be death by firing squad, and watch how fast most of them abandon a job that once meant guaranteed money and power.

Corruption is built into our political system, and the ones who can stop it are the ones running it.

Which is why I pledge fealty to no politician or political party. I am sick of all of it.

   

Lens Replacement Theory: Part One

Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2024

Dave!Over a decade ago I was trekking through the Costa Rican rainforest when a branch snapped back on my face and cut into my eyes. This caused a series of problems with my eyes and eyelids, and I had a half-dozen procedures and minor surgeries over the years because of it. And now I've had two more so I could get the lenses replaced in my eyes. I decided to write about it in case anybody out there is curious about cataract surgery.

A couple years ago my optometrist had told me that cataracts were starting to form in my eyes and I would need to eventually have surgery to improve my vision. As we age, the lenses that focus light on our retinas can get discolored, cloudy, or both. Called "cataracts" they negatively affect normal vision because it obscures and changes what we see.

Recently it's gotten increasingly difficult for me to drive at night. There's a weird glare from headlights that's uncomfortable. Not to a dangerous degree, but certainly enough to keep me from driving after dusk. But even more critical? Watching movies in a theater or at home when the screen is bright and the room is dark was not a great experience. That was something I couldn't deal with.

And so at my last appointment my doctor and I talked about it, and she said I met the criteria for getting cataract surgery now.

Long story short if you want to skip the next couple days...

  • My overall surgery experience was excellent, which I'm told is typical.
  • They fix one eye at a time, so you always have one working eye while the other eye is impaired.
  • I had functional milky-vision four hours after surgery when I untaped my eye. Full vision was there the next day.
  • I am seeing better now than I have in a decade.
  • I selected multifocal two-zone AcrySof IQ Vivity lenses. I will explain why next entry. Be aware that while cataract surgery is covered by most insurance plans (with or without routine vision care), only the basic lenses are covered. Fancy two and three zone lenses are most likely not covered at all.
  • Yes, it's freaky having your eyes sliced into. Maybe it's because I'm so used to dealing with eye surgery stuff that this didn't faze me, but it seriously wasn't a big deal. I understand that many people will be afraid to have cataract surgery even if they need it because the mental game can be overwhelming. If that describes you, I'd urge you to at least look into it. They can give you relaxing drugs and there are options that will make it not so terrifying for you.
  • After being recommended by my amazing eye doctor, I selected Pacific Cataract and Laser in Bellevue, WA for my surgeries. Cannot possibly tell you how thrilled I was with them every step of the way.
  • All in all, cataract surgery has improved my life for the better and I highly recommend it to those whose vision is being compromised from cataracts.

Tomorrow I'll talk about my lenses and the surgery itself.

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Lens Replacement Theory: Part Two

Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

Dave!I'm talking about my cataract surgeries this week! If you missed Part One from yesterday, you can find that here.

The first step in addressing your cataracts is to have a consultation with an expert. There are choices you'll need to make and, while you can read about this stuff on the internet, you really need to talk things over with somebody who can guide you to the best options FOR YOU... not for some random social media influencer or YouTuber or (most definitely) me.

CHOICE #1: Which lens is right for you? During the discussion with my doctor, I was given four options...

  1. Monofocal Distance. You can see things far away, but near-to-mid-range vision will require glasses.
  2. Monofocal Near. You can see things close-up, but mid-to-far-range vision will require glasses.
  3. Multifocal 2-Zone. You can see things from about 24 inches away to far away, but near vision will require reading glasses. Some halos and glare possible. Diminished contrast possible.
  4. Multifocal 3-Zone You can see near to far without glasses. Halos and glare more probable. Diminished contrast more probable.

Thanks to the shitty state of "health care" in America, the cost of the lenses will likely factor into your decision depending on your insurance. My insurance would only cover monofocal lenses (outside of whatever deductible I had left, of course). Any other lenses would be 100% my responsibility to pay for (though the surgery itself is still covered). If I wanted multifocal lenses, they are $2,900 each... $5,800 for the pair!

Now, my first instinct was to skip right to the Multifocal 3-Zone lens. No more glasses at any distance? Sweet! But I work as a graphic designer and love photography. The idea of losing any contrast in my vision scared the shit out of me. Would I even be able to do my job any more if I lost contrast? This is mostly a factor in low-light conditions, but it can creep into any situation because the light entering your eye is split between three focal zones. Most people in most situations would be fine with that. But after telling the doctor my concerns, she agreed that I'd be "safer" with the 2-Zone lens because the light is only split between two focal zones. This gives me the best compromise between not wanting to wear glasses and preserving the most contrast in my vision. Since these lenses are going inside your eye, it's not like I could replace the three-zone lenses easily or cheaply, so better safe than sorry.

Pacific Cataract and Laser prefers Alcon brand lenses, and their 2-Zone lens is called AcrySof IQ Vivity. I, of course, read reviews and experiences online from people who had this lens implanted, and no red flags were raised. Yes, there were a few people unhappy with them, but those were outlier opinions that didn't match what the vast majority of people were saying.

CHOICE #2: Which anesthesia is right for you? Which, to me, wasn't a choice at all, but I'm not everybody. I was given two options...

  1. Paralyzing Injection. Let's just cut to the chase... they stick a syringe full of paralyzing solution via a small needle under and behind your eyeball to paralyze the muscles which allow you to move your eye (which also removes your ability to blink). I heard this and was like "SIGN ME UP!" Because it seems as though NOT HAVING YOUR EYE MOVING AROUND WHILE SOMEBODY IS CUTTING INTO IT IS A NO-BRAINER. Spoiler Alert: You feel a small pinch. That's it. The paralysis wears off about 3-1/2 to 4 hours after surgery. The only residual pain is from your top eyelid being taped over your bottom eyelid so your eye doesn't dry out while you're unable to blink. I also felt where they poked me a little bit for a few hours after the paralysis wore off. No regrets. Highest possible recommendation. Safer for you. Easier for your surgeon. 17 out of 5 stars.
  2. Topical Anesthetizing. I asked the guy injecting the paralyzing solution into my eye muscles why in the heck anybody would choose to not have it. His answer? Fear of needles. For people with that fear, they offer a topical anesthesia which makes it so you can't feel any pain while they're operating on you, and no needles are involved. I cannot fathom going this route. They offer an oral anti-anxiety drug for people to not freak out during surgery, but they give it to you before your eye is either paralyzed or anesthetized, so that may help you with the whole needle thing. I've done all this before, so I didn't need the drugs... but you should ask the doctor about it if you think you might need them.

And thats the end of Part Two. Tomorrow we operate!

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Lens Replacement Theory: Part Three

Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Dave!I'm talking about my cataract surgeries this week! If you missed Part One, you can find that here. And if you missed Part Two, you can find that here.

So... I've consulted with my doctor. I've consulted with the cataract clinic. I've selected my lens. I've selected the paralyzing injection. I've wiped out my Health Savings Account. Time to operate!

But first, a warning: so that you always have an operational eyeball, most cataract surgeons will not operate on both of your eyes on the same day. You'll get your worst eye done, then come back in a week or two to get your other eye done once you've healed up. If you have insurance which has an annual deductible, be absolutely sure that both of your surgeries and your follow-up appointments will be in the same deductible year, or else you'll be starting over and end up paying more money!

As I mentioned yesterday, I opted for the paralyzing injection so I'd be sure my eye wouldn't move during surgery. Once I've had my injection, my eye got taped shut so it doesn't dry out while I was waiting to go to the ER. They sat me in a comfy lounge chair where I was hooked up to a heartbeat and blood oxygen monitor. Both times I very nearly fell asleep.

Once I was in the ER, I was seated in another comfy chair and reclined until I was almost laying flat. They then taped a drape over my face and cut out the part over the eye getting operated on. They removed the tape forcing my eye closed, clipped my eye open, then irrigated it with saline until my surgeon arrived.

I truly wish that I could have gotten a DVD of my surgery, because it sounds fascinating (you can see surgeries and animations of surgeries on YouTube if you are interested).

A small incision is made into your cornea on the side that's closest to your ear. Then the surgeon inserts an ultrasonic wand to pulverize the lens that's in your eye so it can be sucked out in tiny pieces with a teeny-tiny vacuum. I heard a bunch of weird noises during this whole ordeal, as you can imagine, but I didn't feel anything. There was a bright light shining in my eye, so I couldn't really see what was going on either. It was just a bunch of shapes moving around.

The new lens is rolled up in a syringe, which they then insert into the incision. The doctor shoots it in the empty cavity, then it flattens itself out. The entire surgery took about ten minutes each time. But all told, I was probably at the clinic 90 minutes each time.

After surgery they tape your eye closed since it will still be paralyzed for 3-1/2 to 4 hours and you don't want it drying out since you can't blink. I was not able to feel most of the side of my face, including that side of my forehead to the top of my head.

Once you feel your eye waking up, your upper eyelid will hurt a bit because it's taped over your lower lid. With my first eye surgery, I assumed that this meant it was time to take the tape off. I was wrong. My eye was stuck looking up and off to the side! I am not embarrassed to say that it freaked me out a bit. I looked like a literal zombie. This isn't a big deal... you'll just be seeing double until your eye drifts back to being in sync with your other eye, and you'll have to keep douching your eye with saline until you are able to blink again.

They have to dialate your eye for days (literally, your eye won't be normal again for 2 to 3 days!), so be sure to have sunglasses handy if your clinic doesn't provide them to you.

Depending on the policy of the clinic you go to, you'll either be given a blend of medicines in a single eye drop bottle... or be given different bottles of individual medicines. This helps your eye heal and keeps it free from infection. I was instructed to use the single-drops I was given 4 hours apart from when I first wake up until they're gone.

Other than the drops, I was given two instructions: 1) Do not rub your eye, especially over where the incision is made, and 2) Do not get your eye wet.

And that's surgery. It probably sounds more scary than it is. Fortunately, I had an amazing clinic with amazing staff and amazing doctors and an amazing surgeon, so the entire ordeal simply wasn't a big deal to me. But I've had so many eye surgeries and procedures that it was just more of the same. I'd like to think that if you get an amazing clinic and staff, it won't be a big deal even if it's your first eye surgery.

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Lens Replacement Theory: Part Four

Posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2024

Dave!I'm talking about my cataract surgeries! If you missed Part One, you can find that here. And if you missed Part Two, you can find that here. And you definitely need to have seen Part Three, which is all about the surgery, which you can find here.

But today we're talking about after the surgery (Spoiler Alert: I could not be more thrilled with the results).

That first day you wake up after your second surgery when both of your eyes have had their lenses replaced, prepare to be in shock if you had a heavy eyeglasses prescription like I did. You open your eyes and... the world is in focus! You can see! It's definitely weird. But even weirder? It's kinda been messing with my head when I'm trying to fall asleep. Since I had been taking my glasses off before my head hits the pillow for decades, I think my brain uses that as a clue that it's time to start falling asleep. But now that everything is in focus when my head hits the pillow, my brain is still thinking that I'm not ready to sleep because I can see. No idea how long it will be before my brain understands that this is not how it works any more, but hopefully it's not too long.

But the strangest thing by far post-surgery is how I'm perceiving things around me. I thought that cataracts were only affecting my night-vision. Not being able to drive at night was what pushed me to get things fixed, after all. But I had no idea whatsoever that my day vision had been compromised. Badly. This was most obvious when I had only one eye's lens replaced. This is an (exaggerated) simulation of what I was seeing when I switched from one eye to the other...

Yellow-ish vision vs. Blue-ish vision!

My cataract eye looked dingy and yellow. My fixed eye looked cool, crisp, and blue-toned.

And then it hit me... my progression to dingy yellow vision happened over a long period of time. And my brain just kept remapping colors so that white still appeared white in my head, even though it was no longer very white at all. So once one eye got fixed, all of a sudden I was seeing white as being truly white in that eye. And since my brain had remapped color, it appeared blue-toned because it was no longer yellow-tinted.

Once my second eye got fixed, I had no way to compare what I had been seeing to what I was seeing after surgery. But the re-re-mapping must have already begun, because I wasn't seeing everything as if it had been blue-shifted. I did, however, see white as being very, very white. My toilet was frickin' gleaming!

Right now I'm kinda in-between. In another week once I've forgotten what my dingy eyes used to see, and my brain has finished re-re-mapping colors, I'm guessing that everything will settle down and my normal will be back to... well, normal... again.

One thing that I hope won't be going away any time soon is the clarity of what I'm seeing. My glasses were very thick, so there was a distortion to what I saw. And because there was refraction and grime and dust accumulation going on, I never saw things with any real clarity (though it was better than what I got out of multifocal contacts, because they weren't sliding around with every blink). I watch television now and, day or night, a 4K picture makes a big difference. It's so noticeable that when I look at SD (standard definition) content, it just doesn't look crisp to me any more (even though my television upscales and sharpens it). Never used to bother me, now it does.

And now a bit about my lens choice...

As you may remember in Part Two, I had to make a choice as to which lenses I'd get implanted. I opted for the Multifocal 2-Zone lenses because I didn't want to rely on glasses like I would have to with a monofocal lens, and was concerned with losing contrast which was more likely with a 3-Zone lens.

NEAR-VISION: I used to wear progressive bifocals to see near-to-far. I was told that with Multifocal 2-Zone lenses my clarity of sight would begin at 24-28 inches. I figured this would cover most of what I'm trying to see... 95% minimum. For that remaining 5% I'd just buy some reading glasses. So long as I could glance between working on my laptop and looking at my television without issue, I'd be fine. I was concerned about using my mobile phone since I do that a lot and I generally hold the phone fairly close. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. I can see my mobile perfectly if I hold it just a little bit further out (but not comically far away). To make it even less of an issue, I switched my iPhone to large-sized, bold dynamic text and turned on "Display Zoom." Anything closer than 18 inches is too blurry to be much use but, for me, that zone of 18-to-26 inches is okay, 26 inches to infinity is flawless. The only time it's been an issue is when I got a sliver in my finger and couldn't see to pull it out because I didn't have any readers handy. Guess I need to start stashing them everywhere like I do with tape measures.

BRIGHT LIGHT: Interesting to note that the lights in my house seem much brighter to me when it's dark out. It's like replacing a 75-watt bulb with a 100-watt bulb. At least it would be if my lights weren't all LED now. That will take some getting used to because not all my lights have dimmers on them.

CONTRAST: I am thrilled to say that, in my specific case, contrast is actually better than it was before my surgeries. Probably because everything is so much more clear and not because I'm actually getting more contrast. After my first eye was fixed, I would spend a lot of time comparing how I was seeing out of one eye vs. the other. There was no contest on contrast. After worrying so much about the risk of losing some of it, it was bizarre to find out that there was improvement. I went out walking around three nights in a row, and it was always the same... left eye in glasses: blurry mess where it's hard to pick out details... right eye after surgery: crisp with good definition. I know this won't be the case for everyone, so I feel fortunate. It does kinda make me wonder if I should have gone for the 3-Zone lenses after all. But no regrets. I love what I have, and feel good in my decision to go the more cautious route (because it's not like you can just swap for a new pair of lenses).

HALOS: When it comes to bright lights in darkness, yes there are halos that appear. But it's nothing compared to what I was seeing with cataracts. No more big blurry blobs dancing across my vision and obscuring my sight. I can watch movies in a dark room. I'm no longer afraid to drive at night. It's a huge plus. Yes, there's still glare, but I'm told that as my brain starts to adapt it will lessen more and more.

So... that's all the pros of my cataract surgery... are there any cons? We'll find out tomorrow!

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Lens Replacement Theory: Part Five

Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2024

Dave!All this week I've been talking about the cataract surgeries I've had (if you missed it, you can start with Monday's entry here). My review of the process has been positively glowing, and I have never been so happy to have done something so simple which has improved my life so much. But there are down-sides...

THE COST: As I mentioned, my insurance wouldn't pay for any multifocal lens options (most don't). If I wanted multifocal (and I did) I would be paying for the lenses out of my own pocket (though they would co-pay the actual surgery costs after my deductible had been met). Only monofocal lenses were covered. At the clinic I went with, the lenses are $2,900 each, $5,800 for the pair. I'm telling you right now that it would be a bargain at twice the price. But it's a fuck-ton of money at the regular price, and that's going to be a barrier for a lot of people. It was almost a barrier for me. But ultimately I couldn't put a price on my vision, which is used every waking moment of every day, so I bit the bullet. First I paid $188.91 for the exam and consultation after insurance. Then I wiped out my Health Savings Account to the tune of $3,935.14 for the first lens and surgery after insurance. Then $3,542.15 went on my credit card for the second lens and surgery after insurance. That's $7,666.20 and counting (I don't have the amount for the follow-up exam, as that hasn't gone through insurance yet). Having to care for your health is a real bitch in this fucked-up country. Even if I went with monofocal lenses, I'd still would have had to come up with $1,800. Maybe people have better insurance than I do. Maybe MediCare will have paid for all of it if I waited. I dunno. All I do know is that I'm going to be approaching an $8,000 medical bill so I can see.
UPDATE: Boy was I off. Turns out that my grand total for everything (at least I hope this is the end!) is $9472.63. Yikes.

ABRASION: I hesitate to talk about this because I seriously don't want to dissuade anybody from getting cataract surgery if they need it. My second surgery was flawless. After four hours or so, I felt the anesthesia wearing off. They tape your top eyelid over your lower lid so your eye doesn't dry out. That stings a bit, but is seriously no big deal. Once I could feel my eye moving again, I took off the tape, put medicine drops in my eye and... milky vision! But by the end of the day I was already seeing. In the morning I woke up and had perfect vision. Wonderful. This is the typical experience. My first surgery, however, was not typical. When the anesthesia started wearing off I was in horrible pain. Like I had been stabbed in the eye. I took the tape off and my eye was stuck looking up and to the right. Very disconcerting. The pain eventually lessened, but I was not comfortable. The next morning everything was blurry. I couldn't see out of that eye at all. In the morning when I went to my post-surgery checkup, I was told that my eye had somehow gotten an abrasion and three layers of my eyeball were scraped off in front of my pupil. Of course I never felt it happen during surgery since the side of my face was deadened. I was told that the eye has rapid healing, and I would 3 or 4 days. It took 7 days. After that I've had days where my eye goes a bit blurry. As of right now, I am still suffering from "Recurrent Corneal Erosion" because the new cells forming to heal my eye sometimes get stuck to my eyelid at night as my cornea swells, but that's being treated and I should eventually be just fine. UPDATE: I was prescribed some gel of some kind which reduced the swelling of my eye at night so my cornea could have a break and fully heal. That's all it took! Now everything is back to normal and I'm seeing perfectly. Amazing!

FLOATERS: I've had loads of floaters for decades. It doesn't generally bother me... until it does sometimes. I was told that the presence of floaters wouldn't change from what I had been experiencing except they would likely be more in focus. I can't really say for sure if that's true or not. It feels like it could be true... but since absolutely everything is more clear now, it could just be more of the same. What I can say is that because my vision is more clear, any disruption to that clarity is very noticeable once I see it. Floaters. A smudge on sunglasses. Something in my eyelashes. I can't unsee it. I have to take care of it ASAP or go crazy. But short of replacing your eye fluid via surgery, you can't "take care" of floaters. I am guessing that eventually it won't drive me as crazy on those occasions that I notice them. In the meanwhile? It's worst when working on my computer and that's kinda problem. I have a hard enough time concentrating... especially when working.

THE STUPID! This last one is all on me. Reaching up to take off my glasses before hopping in the shower or going to bed. Coming very close to poking myself in the eye because I think I have contacts in. And here's the thing: you really, really don't want to be poking yourself in the eye for a week or two after surgery. It takes your eye a while to heal, and doing damage by rubbing or poking it is something you definitely don't want to do. I have no idea how seriously you can cause problems, but I honestly didn't want to find out. My constant worrying was ultimately enough to stop me from doing damage, but it's hard to fight against instincts you've built for decades.

And thus ends my accounting of my cataract surgeries. Hope it was as fun for you as it was for me.

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Flatware of the Budget Conscious

Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2024

Dave!When I bought my home, I had zero money. Technically, I had way, way less than zero money because I had a mortgage. But I had a lot of practice having zero money from when I was crawling out of credit card debt, so it wasn't a new situation for me. I needed a place that was safe for my mom, and that was my entire focus. How I was going to be able to afford to live was a distant second.

My furniture came from IKEA. Everything else came from Amazon or Target.

I never bought the cheapest stuff because I didn't want to replace it in six months. Instead I bought the best-reviewed stuff from the high end of the low end. When it came to flatware, that meant a set of minimalist utensils from Food & Wine. I loved the look of them, and I could get 8 sets for $100...

Despite a few reviews saying it would rust, most of the reviews were positive. I never had any problems with rust. I'd toss them in the dishwasher and that was the extent of my involvement with their care.

Last year once I wasn't drowning in new home ownership debt, I decided to upgrade my flatware. I bought a very cool matte black set for not an insubstantial amount of money. I loved it. All I could have wanted.

Until it started rusting if put in the dishwasher.

Which wasn't very long. Don't think it even lasted six months. Fine when you hand-wash and dry it... not at all fine drying in the dishwasher, despite the fact that it was advertised to be "dishwasher safe."

I bought the expensive stuff and ended up needing to replace it after six months, which is why I didn't buy the cheap stuff in the first place. Which just goes to show... quality doesn't exist and everything you buy is shit now-a-days, regardless of how much you pay for it.

And so I am back with my old cutlery. I'm still hanging on to the black flatware because it's too cool to toss, I'm just not using it on the daily since it can't go in the dishwasher. I'm saving it for special occasions. Of which I have very few now that I'm not hosting houseguests very often.

Though I suppose I could make an argument that every day is a special occasion with my cats and all. A pity hey don't eat with utensils.

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I don’t want to invite any drama.

Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2024

Dave!I have a new passion. Comeuppance videos. You know, videos where some asshole content-creator who steals content or abuses people or lies to attack other creators subsequently gets called out for being a fucking piece of shit... then canceled over it. It's that last part, the cancelation, which is surprisingly rare. Powerful, popular creators bring ad revenue to Google with their YouTube videos, so Google tends to look the other way when these shitbags do shady, repugnant shit.

But there are times when the actions of the content creators are so bad and the community outrage is so overwhelming that Google has no choice but to drop the hammer.

And it's a glorious thing to see.

I'm not going to name names because I don't want to invite amy drama. These assholes may be shitbags, but they do have their fans. And usually these fans are insanely protective. I found out the hard way that they're usually the type of fans who will obsessively search Google for anybody who would dare to disparage the person they worship. Then unleash their displeasure with a near-freakish level of vitriol. I have rewritten posts over an insignificant comment I've made because some people really want to go ten rounds over somebody they've never met, yet fanatically adore for some reason.

And I have enough problems.

And it's Monday.

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Alternate Facts Pressure Wash

Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2024

Dave!Last year I bought a power washer that was on sale because it seemed like a handy thing to have. Turns out that I could have saved the money because I can get the same "pressure" with a garden hose nozzle. There is a nice thing about the power washer, however. You can put cleaning solution or window cleaner or whatever in it to wash while you spray. That's a handy enough feature that I don't regret buying the thing. Though I do wish I. Would have gotten the electric power tank instead of the battery power wand. That would have been more powerful, I think.

I wish I could say that I'm talking about power washers because I power washed my house when I got home but, alas, it was because I fell down a power washer art rabbit hole...

If you search for power washer art on YouTube, you'll find all kinds of cool stuff.

AND THEN I fell down another rabbit hole of HOAs fining people for not pressure washing their driveway.

AND THEN I fell down another rabbit hole of HOA assholes.

AND THEN I got this in my feed...

Alternative facts. Jesus. Really hoping we don't get a repeat of this bullshit.

   

The Best Laid Project Plans on the To-Do List…

Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2024

Dave!I have so many projects on my to-do list that It'll take me the rest of the year to get through them. Or... it would if I stopped adding to the list.

I had three tasks I was going to complete for the weekend.

The first was to rebuild a bathroom hutch so the Litter-Robot could fit underneath. I figure that the cats' bathroom might as well be in my bathroom so I don't have to wade through kitty litter every time I go in my office (which was the old location). But I don't want to wade through kitty litter in my bathroom either, so I decided that I would sacrifice the shelves in my hutch so it was recessed away from the door. It took all day Saturday to get the hutch torn apart... and I still haven't started rebuilding it because, despite costing $900, the thing is crap quality. I'm going to have to buy materials to make it work.

The second was to install FastTrack on my garage walls so I can better organize my tools in the hopes that I can fit my car in the garage. Did that on Sunday, but was then too hurt and tired to organize anything.

The third was to reverse the catio door because Jake now forgets how to get back inside after he goes out. I'd rather have him unable to go out than unable to come back in, so I'm reversing it. Never got around to it because, well, I was too hurt and tired.

Getting old sucks. Remember when I had energy to easily get a dozen projects done on a weekend? Those were the days.

Oh well. There's always next weekend.

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Floating By A Van… Down By the River…

Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2024

Dave!Today it's 104º

Tomorrow is supposed to hit 107º

Which is why I was on the river this past weekend instead of today!

I'm floating down the river!

Geese!

Duck!

DANGER! EXIT THE RIVER NOW!

These scorchin' times we live in.

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One Hundred Ten and Floatin’

Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

Dave!Yesterday I joined my friends for another float down the river. The excessive heat (it hit 110º) is causing the water level to plummet, so this might be one of the last chances I get without moving to deeper water.

Despite the heat, the cool river was a treat. And there were birds and deer about, which is always fun to see on a trip.

Putting Into the River

Fuzzy Water Birds

Me... Floatin'!

Goose

Deer Walking

Deer Running

Mom and Baby Ducks

Mama Duck

Me... Floatin' Again!

Bear Activity Sign

We've been told that the heat will break soon. Today I was hoping for a temperature under 100º, but I guess that'll happen tomorrow since today was 102º.

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A Very Reacher Vacation

Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2024

Dave!The fact that I've been working every day of my vacation would be tragic if not for the fact that I am thrilled come Monday I won't be completely drowning in all the work I missed. That makes it all worthwhile.

Today I did get to hang out at a friend's pool after going to the office in the morning. Then go out to dinner. Then finish a book I've been reading (I'm trying to catch up with the Jack Reacher series, and this was #27, No Plan B, which is excellent... even though the books aren't the same since Lee Child started collaborating with his brother on them so Reacher keeps going after he retires). So, plenty of vacation to be had.

In other news... why are book covers for major authors so frickin' boring?

I get that you want a popular bestselling author like Lee Child to dominate so his fans will notice it on the shelf (or, more to the point, notice it in an Amazon thumbnail), but surely they can come up with something more interesting than this?

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Friday Delay One Day, Okay?

Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2024

Dave!

Yes.

It's so perfect out here in Washington that there are delays in deliveries.

Assumably because postal carriers want to head to the beach...

Weather delay aannouncement.

Beautiful blue skies out my window.

Makes about as much sense of this...

@sarahelizabethhyde iHOP #comedy #parenting #ihop #eatingout @Chad Daniels ♬ original sound - Sarah Elizabeth Hyde

Oh well. Good thing this isn't life-saving medication I'm waiting on. At least I hope not.

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