Kelly Clarkson rocks!!
Check out her cover of
Walkin After Midnight.
Patsy Cline is still one of my favorite artists and
Video is no longer up.... if anyone knows where this can be located let me know!!!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holidays are almost over....

Well here we are. Two days until 2010. It seems just like yesterday that I was diagnosed with MS. *whew*

I have been staying away from the computer for the most part. A few games i have been playing but as a general rule I would sooner channel surf than be on the computer. I had nearly forgotten how bad television is. Everyone is airing some sort of end-of-year retrospective, countdown, best-of, or marathon.

I have to admit, I watched a lot of the marathons. To be specific, the Law and Order: SVU marathon as well as the NCIS one. Those are two of my favorite shows but for totally different reasons. I like the stories on SVU and not so much the characters while on NCIS is is the precise opposite (If you ever watch NCIS you have to love the head slap Agent Gibbs is so good about handing out). Be that as it may, I watched a few other things over the holidays. Some made me smile while others made me wince.

I got to see quite a few of the old stop motion and cartoons I remember as a kid. I still didn't see anyone air It's a Charlie Brown Christmas. That is, without a doubt, my all time favorite holiday special. Yes, I know I can get all of them on DVD but I refuse to. Those were meant to be seen on TV. I will probably break down and get the DVD's sometime but I am holding out as long as I can. As a last mention..... 24 hours of A Christmas Story. Need I say more?

My MS has been less than agreeable since late October. Most days are ok but I have had some real shaky ones. My right side seems to have a mind of its own more often than not lately. Makes it interesting since I get up each day wondering what it will be like. I caught myself, the other day, sliding along the wall in the hallway, because my balance was off. I didn't realize what I was doing until I got to a doorway. It took me a few minutes to right myself and with focus I was able to walk quasi-normal. meh. It could be worse I suppose.

My dad has been in a funk since mid September. Mom passed in September 2006 so I understand that. October would have been their wedding anniversary and then you throw Thanksgiving and Christmas right behind that..... well, you get the idea. To be honest, it has been trying on me as well. I guess my own funk is just as bad as his. Good days and bad days. I keep hoping that after the first of the year things will get a lot better. Of course, classes start on January 7th so I have that as well.

I will let you in on a little secret. I can not wait for classes to start. The sooner I get back, the sooner I can graduate and get back in the job market.

What else..... I was asked about my weight loss. Nothing new to report there. I have myself stuck at between 305 and 310 pounds. I think once I get back to classes things will start falling into place but that has not been a focus, at any level, since classes let out earlier this month. Yea, I know.... I am procrastinating. It is one of the things I do extremely well. We will see what the new year holds.

So I guess that is about it. I suppose I could rant about politics, or political correctness, or a host of other things that get under my skin but I just don't have it in me.

On that, less than happy, note let me close with this. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a very Happy New Year!

Toodles all!

Mikw

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Long time, no see!

Well, it has been quite a while since I have been here.  Lets catch up.

 

The last few months have been a bit trying.  My MS has been on a tear.  As a result, I was having some problems at school.  Trying to learn all the new Cisco stuff was trying, to say the least.  My right side has been weaker than normal (Normal being relative mind you) and my balance has been off. 

 

The last month of school was interesting but I managed to pull out straight A’s.  I am happy for that.  I will have a nice break before returning to classes next month so I am trying to use this time to just relax and get to feeling better.  Spring semester is going to be a bit rough since I am doubling up on my classes so I can graduate a semester early.  The sooner I can graduate the sooner I can get back in to the job market.

 

I have been following the news pretty close.  I have a lot of thoughts on what has been going on but to be truthful with you, I just don’t feel like talking about it.  The few conversations I have with friends generally result in me getting worked up/angry and I just don’t need that.  Suffice it to say that I am still extremely worried about where things are headed and what price we are really going to pay.

 

Ummm, my dad and I have a great Thanksgiving dinner.  I cooked the turkey in our rotisserie oven and it was delicious.  We will be doing the Christmas turkey the same way.  I am kind of looking forward to it.  As for the holidays in general, they are sucking.  Neither myself or my dad are big fans of the holidays since mom passed.  We are making do the best we can and we will get through it.

 

Well, I have to go since I still have chores to do (I hate doing laundry).  I wanted to post something to let you all know that I am still alive and stumbling (bad MS joke there, I know).

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Then and now....

I have been thinking.

I know..... shocking, isn't it?

I was feeling reflective again. No, not that kind of reflective. I was just thinking about where I am, where I've been, and the obligatory where I'm going. I do that a lot lately. Like school, being one of the 'now' things. The computer class is going ok but I am really having to work at it. Kind of makes me wonder like the next two will be like. meh. I signed up for it so no complaining allowed. That brings me to my other class this semester.

PhysEd. That is becoming quite the four letter word to me. The workouts are taking longer and longer to recover from. The pain is becoming more and more constant. The numbness in my feet and toes is becoming more persistent. That tells me something is wrong, but I want to finish the class. The instructor left me a note inquiring as to why I have not been doing the abs workouts at the end of class. I have not responded yet. I have the feeling that if I tell her the truth then that might result in bad things. Well, more bad things than are already happening. I guess I will talk with her next week. Hopefully things will be better for the last 3 weeks of class.

With that being said I was browsing the internet the other day and came across a story about Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. It was some listing for an upcoming concert (8 hours from me, I checked). It reminded me of the first concert I ever attended. Care to guess who it was?

Yup. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts with Red Ryder opening for them. We really didn't pay much attention to the opening act. My buddy and I had tickets but they were as far away from the stage as could be while still being inside the civic center. We chatted while Red Ryder played, munched on snacks and sipped at our drinks. When the opening act was done they swapped out the stage.... the lights dimmed as Joan and her group took the stage. They started playing as Joan started the standard glad to be here stuff.

My buddy and I looked at one another and without saying a word jumped up and headed towards the stage, at the other end of the civic center, at a dead run. Just when we got to the stage they broke into "Bad Reputation". The concert was an absolute blast, for a variety of reasons. It was at that moment that I fell in love with Joan Jett. Come on, a rocker chick that looked great doing it. What teenage boy didn't fall in love with her. To this day I am still a huge fan and for the record she still looks great).

Music was such an integral part of our lives in the late 70's and early 80's. That time period produced a large amount of music that spanned an enormous, and highly varied, appetite. It was all there and most every taste was satiated in some fashion. For me it was a little bit of everything. Stuff ranging from Boy George (yes, I said that right) to Judas Priest. I managed to find something that i liked in just about every category. I kept an open mind about it. My mom taught me that.

But then there was Joan Jett. Yes, as I have mentioned, she was a rocker chick. But it was far more than that. The music was a blend if a lot of styles that just seemed to grab me by the head and make me listen. Her voice was different. Honestly, it was sexy and strong all at the same time. Alluring, yet rough and forceful. It was like a feather one moment and a hammer the next, but always at the right time and in the right amount. For the love of all that is holy and right, it is Joan Jett!

Ok, I think you get my point there. But what in the name of the 6th level of Hades does it have to do with anything? A moment of reminiscing is all. A fond memory from by life that I wanted to share. A reminder that not everything in my life has been, or will be, bad. I should be thankful for those times. At least that can never be taken away from me.

Rock on Joan! Rock on!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.


PS: I downloaded "Fit To Be Tied" (JJBH Greatest Hits) to my computer. Bad Reputation is as great today as it was back then. Later taters!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The bike, the potato, and the nose. A true love story!

Now or Later.

It used to be the name of one of my favorite sweet treats as a kid. I kind of liked the strawberry ones bu they were all good. As an adult it means a whole host of other things. Of course, we tend to use the word procrastination instead. To be honest though, I am good at it. For example, posting to this blog or doing my essays for school. Either way, I tend to put off til tomorrow what I could do today. I try to tell myself to buckle down and do it. Then I reason myself right out of it. I could offer up some nifty reasons but in the end, they don't really hold water.

So, with all of that being said, let's see what fun I can coax out of the misty blackness of my memories.

Bert. Ayup. One of my best friends growing up. He was a great kid, and none too bright. Well, that's not entirely true. He was a very bright kid, just no real common sense. He was our guinea pig, of sorts. We could talk him in to just about anything. Usually it was because we feared being injured. He was like a Timex watch; he could take a licking and keep on kicking (change intentional).

Oh, where to start at. There are a lot of stories about the hapless childhood of Bert, the neighborhood crash test dummy. Hmmm, the cartoonish tree fall, the plastic garbage bag parachute, the burning britches, the deer + Jack's mom..... and on the list goes. All of those are full of hilarity as well as ample volumes of stupidity and disbelief. But I have one that needs to be told.

The bike, the potato, and the busted nose.

Seems like a rather odd combination. Well, for most mere mortals it would very likely be. For us, not so much so.

One summer day we decided to have a dirt clod war. For those of you not familiar with this childhood warfare it is very simple. Find a plowed field/yard that has been subjected to the perfect amount of moisture and heat (Both of which were very common where I grew up at - not like now). What you end up with is an endless supply of dirt clods of varying size and density. You throw them like baseballs at your opponents. When they hit they explode into a sandy colored cloud, clearly showing when one has been hit. You should be aware that in South Georgia dirt clods came in two varieties.

There was the standard type, usually made up top soil. These were considered the perfect kind. They were not too heavy and did not hurt, much, on impact. We tended to favor these as it did not impede the fun factor by a large amount, unless someone took one to the face. This was rare so we didn't worry too much about it.

Then we had the least favorite type. The ones made up of mostly clay. You see, here in the south we have a large amount of clay, red clay to be specific. This would certainly make a dirt clod (well, technically speaking it would be a clay clod but don't judge) but it was of the type we did not like. Mainly because on impact it did not burst into that beautiful puffy cloud of loose soil. Instead, it was more like getting hit with a rock. Very much like a rock in fact. So we tended to avoid these expect in anger (Remind me to tell you about the infamous Pat/Jamie incident).

So we were having a dirt clod war. We were all having fun when Bert decided to hop on his bike. Now we all made it clear that shots at Bert would be close to the ground. Tires and feet. We were crazy but we really never, ever, set out to really hurt someone. Anyway, Bert goes hauling ass up and down the street while we all take pot shots at him. don't be fooled, he would stop and get some clods of his own and would return fire as he screamed by at the speed of sound.

There were maybe 5 or 6 of us out there that day. The Jody showed up. No one really liked Jody. He was strange. If you had known us back then you would realize that this is saying something when someone was strange by our standards. So he comes out and just joins in. Oh no, we will have none of that. We send him away with some harsh words. Ok, we might have pelted him with a few dirt clods but hey, we were just kids. So Jody goes storming home.

Back to the game. Things were going along smoothly until Jody reappeared. What happened next is still funny to all of us, except maybe Bert, today. I will try to do the scene justice.

A clear summer day, sun shining brightly and hot. Four or five kids, covered in a mixture of sweat and dust, are on the edge of the street in front of my house. Wearing only shorts and shoes we are laughing and chunking dirt clods at the lone kid on the BMX bike. The scrawny, blond, tousle-haired Bert, legs pumping the pedals for all he is worth is screaming down the street past us. On his last pass (yes, we are getting to the point), he looks back over his shoulder to see what we are going to do. Still cruising down the street we all saw Jody appear at his front door. Bert, on the other hand, was still watching us.

Jody was far enough away that we could only tell that he we wound up and threw something in Bert's direction. Here is where it slowed down, just like on television, for most of us. The object, which later turned out to be a raw potato about the size of a baseball, made a perfect arc through the air in front of Bert. Totally oblivious to Jody, and the potato, Bert turned back, to look where he was going.

I am going to say this for all to witness. In all my years of running around that neighborhood; in all the games of baseball, softball, and football; up to this date to also include all of the professional sports I have watched, I have never before, or since, seen a more perfect throw made. The distance, the arc, the timing... absolute perfection if there ever was. Sucked to be Bert that day.

Several things happened in rapid succession. The first, and most important of all, was that the projectile and Bert's nose attempted to occupy the same space at the same time. Instinctively, Berts hands flew to his face. At that same instant, the front tire on the bike began to wobble due to the lack of control of the handlebars. In about three or four seconds the bike was headed in to a shallow ditch, violently throwing Bert to the ground. By the time Bert skidded to a stop, the bike was on top of him and he was screaming in pain. It should be noted that Jody was also back in his house at this point, behind a locked door.

We ran over to him, pulled the bike off of him. There was blood everywhere. We were pretty sure that he was mortally wounded. when Bert finally moved his hands to show us the carnage, the only thing wrong was his busted nose. A busted nose and two black eyes. Bert was mad as hell but all we could do was laugh. Like I said, it was the perfect throw.

It is too bad, really, that the world was not full of video cameras back then. That would have been a perfect Youtube clip. I still wonder how we managed to survive to adulthood. I would also like to be able to tell you that events like this were rare for us. Sadly, they were more the norm.

I would like to thank Bert though. Without him and his fearlessness (or stupidity), my teenage years would not have been nearly as fun.

Thanks Bert!

So this is my post for today. I hope I was able to make at least one of you smile, if not laugh outright. I think I just need to stick to posting stories about events from my childhood. I am always in a much better mood after I do this.

So I am off for. Later taters!

i now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is it Friday already?

Well, Friday has yet again rolled up on me like an eagle on a trout. The older I get, the faster they get here. It's both good and bad all at the same time. *sigh*

Let us start off with some awards. I am the proud recipient of two.

The first is the Kreativ Blogger award. This is courtesy of Nadja over at Living! with MS. She is such a sweetheart. Stop by her blog, you will not be disappointed.

The second is the Bullshit Award from Sherry over at Word Saladsthe Demyelination of Me. If you ever want to see true character and inner strength... stop by her blog.

A huge thanks to both of you ladies. Hmmm, I went back to look at the two previous awards I got and guess what? Yep. These two ladies again. I get the feeling I am being cyber-stalked.... lol! I am just kidding.

Ok, so what's new with me. Not a whole lot. The weight thing is driving me nuts (Yes, I realize that is going to be a very short trip). One day I am at 304 and the next the scale says 313. I am beginning to think there are gremlins in my bathroom. I mean, really? I gained 9 pounds in one day? I don't think so. I think it is time to invest in a new scale. Something digital. With HUGE numbers. Maybe one that talks. Yea, that's just what I need. A scale telling me I'm fat. Still I fight on.

Ummm, school. Going well. Finished the A-term computer class with a 96.8 average. Why they don't just round that up I will never know. It's an 'A' though. I'll take it. Tests on chapters 1 and 2 already, for B-term. 95 and 97 respectively. I am not disappointed but when I looked at the questions I missed I could have kicked myself. Easy stuff I knew the answer to, just a brain fart when I picked a check box. My bad.

I have a slew of things running through my mind right now. Sadly, my thoughts are so jumbled that when I settle on one to write about I trip over 4 or 5 others. I get sidetracked easily. Personal life. Life after school. Friends. Family. School. Work. New website. Blog change.

Of course, that still leaves MS to talk about. Pretty much the same. I still have some weakness on the right side and some balancing issues when I am walking fast. Personally, I don't think I will ever get any better than I am at this point. I just hope that I don't get any worse. Isn't that the way it is with MS though? You get to a point where you accept the reality of it but in the very next instant you hope it stays at that point. Of course, we know there is a chance for it to not only get worse, but to get a lot worse.

Whatever. Maybe I will hit the lottery. Yea, and maybe monkeys might fly out of my butt.

So I guess this is all for today. Maybe next time I will have more rainbows and unicorns. Maybe.


Later taters!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm still alive

Ok, for those of you that semi-sorta-kinda-maybe keep up with my blog you might have noticed a decided lack of them lately. Yea, my bad!

Things have been a little crazy here. The last couple of weeks have been filled with tests, paper to write, studying for my written final and my skills final. Oh, all of those are for my computer class at school. In case you are wondering, 98 on the written final. I still don't know what I got on the skills final, but I feel like I did really well. I am sure I will pull an A for this class.

Oh, it is an A-term class. That's why all of that.

On a very related note, i am working on moving my blog. I have registered a domain and all that good stuff. I have been working on setting up the sub-domain for my blog as well as the blog itself. If any of you want to know then Google blog creation software and take a look. There is a ton out there. I think I have settled on Wordpress. The only problem is I do not think the service I am using supports it with the configuration I bought (Lucky me). I am looking at a couple of different options but the reality is that it will be a bit before I can get it up and running. Rest assured, I will and all of my *cough* loyal *cough* readers will benefit from it.

So what else..... the MS seems to have gone in to hiding. This, despite the fact in my PhysEd class I am going like gangbusters. Go figure. I'm not complaining mind you, just a wee bit surprised is all. When I was younger there was a time I could bench almost 300 pounds and leg press nearly 600. That was also a long time ago. In PhysEd I decided to push the bench thing and found that my upper body is way weaker than I thought.

As a matter of habit now, after I complete my daily required rotation I go back and do some more stuff on the upper body. Usually about 3 machines, two sets on each. I try to push it just to see. I think there has been some payoff but it is hard to tell sometimes. May be the MS is being a butt-head and making things harder one day and not the next. meh. The instructor is being very supportive. I like that.

As for the leg presses. I really pushed myself on that one. Wednesday I did three sets of 10 at 370 pounds. My legs were complaining a wee bit after class. I can tell you for sure that when I woke up Thursday morning they were in outright rebellion. It took me about 30 minutes to convince them to be more cooperative. It's all good now.

Coach, the instructor, told us Wednesday that come next Friday (the 16th) we are going to have to run a mile. Prepare for cardiac explosion. She did say that we will have 12 minutes to do it, since she knows there are some that will not be able to run the whole mile. Yea, I'm still gonna fall out... maybe fake a coronary or something. That should be fun.

So what else. Nothing else really to cover. So I guess that's it.

Heck. Does anyone have any questions? Thoughts? Concerns?

So I am off for now. I hope to have something more definitive by the end of this month, in regards to my blog move. I will update you folks on that as soon as I know something.

Later taters!

PS: Almost forgot. As of about an hour ago I am down to 304. so close to getting into the 200's again. 275 is my goal right now so I am only 29 pounds away.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And so another day goes by.....

Not a catchy title by any measure. It was the best I could come up with. Deal with it. I did.

So I'm sitting at home playing Aion Online for a bit, then switch over to Battlefield 2..... *yawn*

I'm just not finding myself terribly excited about being on the computer. I checked out some of the blogs I follow and find some interesting reading. Thanks to all of you whom I follow. At some point or another I find some pearl of wisdom that helps me to put things in perspective. It really is nice to have such a great resource.

I have, over the last 6 months or so, learned things about a few of the people I follow. Some of it good, some of it not so good, and more importantly, much of it relateable (I don't think that is a real word but I don't care).

I have mentioned, on more than one occasion, that it is nice to know I am not alone going through this thing called Multiple Sclerosis. To the extent we have been diagnosed with MS, that is about all we have in common.

There are men and women, husbands and wives, daughters or sons, niece or nephew, black, white, young, old.... We come from every group imaginable; ethnic, religious, political, socio-economic, and so on. We find ourelves bound by one never ending desire, and that is to be rid of the one thing that binds us so tightly together.

Ironic?

Perhaps.

Each blogger, I have met, has given me something special, something that I will always cherish and carry with me. A possession so treasured that I will never let it out of my reach. The kind of gift I tell my non-blogging friends about, with the excitement of a kid who still believes in Santa, on Christmas morning. When I am feeling down, I pull out these gifts and they remind me I am not alone. They make me smile, or cry, or laugh. Often at the same time.

These gifts fill me with the hope of better days, the promise of unconditional love, the desire to be appreciated, and the ability to forgive. What is it that you gave me? You gave a part of your heart and soul with each word you wrote, every comment you posted to others, and every link you listed. Every part you gave patched a hole in my own soul and gives me the strength to put one foot in front of the other. It allows me the luxury of tears without pity, laughter without malevolence, and love without obligation.

To each of you, thank you. I can only hope that I have given back as much as I have received.

Mike

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An unhappy anniversary

The last few days found me in an introspective mood. A great many things ran through my mind and, to be quite honest, many of them are still lingering on the periphery. Kind of like that stray itch you get on the back of your leg while drifting off too sleep. Not enough of a bother to warrant the expenditure of energy to scratch but, just enough to let you know it's there and could develop into a full blown itching fit if you ignore it for too long.

Now let me scratch that itch.

I have been thinking about my mom a lot lately. She died three years ago this month (27th) after a lengthy fight with breast cancer. She was confined to a bed for the last eight months she was with us. My father and I took care of her at home with the help of Hospice. I am not sure what we would have done without them. They took care of the details for us (like getting a hospital bed at the house, medicine, nurses, counselors, and so on), many of which we would have never thought about ourselves. They provided nurses on a daily basis to help with her personal care and to give my father and I a break. While I am not a religious man, by any stretch, all I can say is god bless them.

Mom could not talk at all the last few months she was with us. She could barely move her fingers in the end. She always manged a smile. It often failed to cover up the pain she was in but it helped us cope. She did not want pain medication. She was strong like that.

In the end, she went quietly in her sleep. I still remember that day.

I had gotten off work at 6:30 in the morning, gone home and taken a shower. Mom was having a bad morning already and dad had called Hospice for help. They sent several people, one of which was a wonderful nurse/administrator. I really do wish I could remember her name. She came out and first off got Mom calmed down. She spoke to my father and I. She told us that it was close to that time, just that mom would not let go. She also asked if any of us had told her it was ok to let go.

We had not.

She explained that in these situations, sometimes, the patients try to stay for their loved ones and will continue to fight. The nurse also explained that it is not at all unusual, once they are told it's ok, for patients to relax and allow nature to takes it's course very soon after. I suppose my father and I both must have looked dumbfounded because she went on to explain the situation a little better for us.

Mom was in the last stage, her body was trying to let go. She could be gone as soon at 24 hours, based on her prior experience in these situations. The cancer was all through her body (brain, lymph system, bones, lungs, breasts, and so on) and it was trying to shut her down. The only thing stopping it was her sheer force of will. She was in pain, a lot of it. I seem to recall she used the word agony. Judging by how worked up mom was, this made perfect sense. She suggested some morphine to ease her suffering.

This was something mom did not want. We also wanted to respect her wishes but at the same time we did not want her in pain. That is no way for anyone to live. Dad agreed and I deferred to him. When we went in to give her the shot you could see the pain she was going through in her face. The nurse explained what we were doing to mom. She gave her the shot, lightly brushed a tear off moms cheek and told her it was ok to let go. Mom just looked up at her. The nurse stayed with her and held her hand until she fell asleep.

In the adjacent room, she explained to dad how to give her the shots and that she should get one about every six hours, or as needed for pain. She promised to be back the next day to check in and gave dad her card and private number. After the hospice people left dad and I went and sat on the back porch to talk. Well, that is a bit misleading. We more or less sat smoking our cigarettes and staring out into the back yard. By now it was about 10 in the morning.

Dad told me to go get some sleep. I told him there was no way I could go to sleep right now, despite the fact I had been awake since the previous day at about 1pm. I told him I was going in to town to get a drink and to call me if he needed anything.

I did go get a drink.... several of them in fact. Tequila. That was my drink of choice at the time. I didn't get totaled. I still had to drive. I sat and talked with some friends. By the time I got back home it was nearing 5pm. I was so tired my vision was going all wonky.

I checked in with dad. Mom was sleeping peacefully. To be honest it was probably the first time she had done that since before she was confined to the bed. I told dad I was going to get some sleep and to wake me if he needed anything.

Dad woke me up at about 7. I was still out of it. He told me mom was gone. Still half asleep, I asked him where she went. He just looked at me blankly and said she was gone again. This time I picked up the tone of his voice and I sat straight up on bed. The weight of those words smacked me square in the chest like a hammer and took my breath away. Dad was already out of the room heading back to the front of the house.

I jumped up and went to the living room and checked. She wasn't breathing. Dad was sitting at the dinging room table looking in at me. I asked him when. He said he wasn't sure. The last time he had checked in on her was about 4pm to see if she needed another shot. He said she was sleeping quietly and opted to let her sleep instead of giving her another shot. He went back to check on her just before he woke me. He was crying at this point and I did not want to press it. He had been through enough. We all had.

So mom passed. Quiet, comfortable, and asleep in her own home. That was all she wanted in the end. To be at home with her family. She will always be.

I miss you mom.

Monday, September 14, 2009

That there is a 'WTF?!' moment if ever there was on

Ahhh, the creative juices started flowing and I have Kanye West to thank.

That's great, but at the same time it just reeks!

For those of you living under a rock (in which case you really would not be reading this right now would you?) or if you did not watch the MTV (gag) VMA Awards (hurck) then you missed the mother of all WTF?! moments.

For those of you not at all familiar with the acronym, I will define it for you. Please cover the eyes of any small children, fuzzy animals, or in-laws that might be reading over your shoulder.

WTF?! means WHAT THE FUCK?!

Now, as a rule, I do not watch MTV. I must, however, confess that I do occasionally stop in to view the occasional bit of a train wreck in progress (i.e. reality tv). Yes, I know I railed against it in a previous post but even I, Mr. Attitude, have the rare weak moment. I remember when MTV stood for Music TeleVision. Now I think it has a more lackluster meaning: Moron TeleVision.

With all that being said, the news was all atwitter (not to be confused with the social networking site) about Kanye hijacking Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. I caught bits and pieces on the radio this morning, on my way to school, and saw a blurb on the front page of the local paper. I just had to know more.

I started on Youtube and quickly found the clip of the aforementioned hijacking. If you don't know already, here is the Reader's digest condensed version.

Taylor won the award for Best Female video. In the middle of her acceptance speech, Kanye *cough* asshole *cough* comes onstage and takes the mic away from Taylor. He babbles something about Beyonce having the best video ever and exits stage right. After a few awkward moments, a dumbfounded Taylor hands the mic off and exits stage left. It bears noting that Kanye was booed and Taylor was applauded.

Ok, so now I am not just mad, upset or anything trivial like that. In fact, livid does not go far enough. I try not to be a violent person. Violence doesn't solve anything. Violence is reserved for those lacking the mental stamina for rational and insightful discussion. Now is not the time for that namby-pamby bullshit. Kanye should be taken out and beat to a pulp. No, that's too good. He should be staked down over an ant bead, Georgia fire ants if you please, and covered in honey. Then after about a week, left to soak in a epsom salt bath for a few days, then beaten to a pulp and left to rot in the middle of the Florida everglades.

But that would be wrong on so many levels?

The fact that this dick (and no disrespect to the dicks of the world intended) is allowed a public forum at all says so much about Hollywood, the music industry, and our society as a whole. After the 'George Bush hates black people' tirade I just wrote him off as another idiot destined to slide into obscurity. Boy was I wrong on that count. He is like a cockroach, always there, lurking in the shadows only to appear at the most inopportune of moments. Usually in close proximity to that sandwich you just made with your last two slices of bread.

Now I had heard that Beyonce had won an award and instead of giving an acceptance speech she asked Taylor to come back out. Well this i had to see. Youtube was filled with video responses saying this happened but I could not locate a clip from the VMA's. So I went over to mtv.com and sure enough, there it is.

What she said, and this is not verbatim, was:

I remember being up for my first award, at 17, with Destiny's Child. It was one of the most exciting times in my life, so I would like for Taylor to come out and have her moment.

And Taylor did. She came out and hugged Beyonce, then proceeded to thank people. I could easily say this was a small moment of redemption, but only slight. I will tell you that I do have a lot more respect for Beyonce than I ever had before. I am not a fan, nor will I ever be, but I will be far more apt to listen now.

Kudos to you Beyonce. You have shown a level of class that I, in all honesty, did not think performers were capable of in this day and age. You have earned my respect. That is something that is very hard to do.

My hats off to Taylor. Congratulations on your win (I admit it, I like your music) and for showing such poise and grace. I can't say I would have done the same but then again, as a general rule I hate people.

Well, that ends my post for today. I could not let this event go by without at least commenting on it. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a nice day.

And remember this:

'Well, it just seemed wrong to cheat on an ethics test.'
Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes

Later taters!

Edited for spelling and the simple fact I still have problems capitalizing the noun 'I'. So very sorry!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What did I forget....

For the record, I was forced to edit this post simply because I forgot a title. It has been fixed.

My mind is blank.

Well, not really but, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Besides the information, from my Cisco class, that I am cramming into it I just don't have the desire to write. Sorry. I have sat down a multitude of times in an effort to bang out a post but nothing. Most of the time i just sat and stared at the screen, brain in neutral, and the accelerator on the floor.

Sure, there was lots of noise but just no momentum. It's kind of funny when I think about it. I want to write something, anything, but some part of my brain made other plans. Unfortunately those plans did not include the entry of text into the digital world. It may have included, amongst others things, my paying too much attention to Facebook. More to the point? Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Mobsters 2, and Farmville. /facepalm

It's not just Facebook mind you. I installed some games on my laptop. First person shooters. My brother and I have been spending a little time "killing pixelated bad guys" (that is what he calls it). In case you're curious, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 and Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2. They are certainly not kid friendly but a heck of a lot of fun. Trust me, lobbing a frag grenade into a room is satisfying. And no one gets hurt.

Still, I am not sure why when it comes to posting here I just can't seem to get past a good intention. I suppose I could blame it on my MS but that would be doing a huge disservice to the disease. Ok, I know that sounds silly, stupid, crazy, or whatever you choose to call it. The cold hard truth is I guess I am just being lazy about the whole thing. It's easier to fire up a game or cruise over the Facebook than to actually burden myself with having to actually process a thought that does not include the correct port for a DNS request or the class of a 155.12.45.1 IP address (Port 53 and Class A by the by).

Quick! What layer will you find the TCP protocol?

Well? What are you waiting for? Google it and get back to me.

Anyway, not the most insightful of posts. Nothing pithy or earth shattering today. Sorry i could not have been more amusing. Maybe next time.

So, have a good day, chin up, fight the good fight, and so on. I feel the need to quote one of my heroes. Buckaroo Banzai.

"Hey, hey, hey, hey-now. Don't be mean; we don't have to be mean, cuz, remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

It doesn't really apply to anything here, I just like that movie. I may have to watch it when I get home tonight.

Later taters!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rant and rave

Ok, I had this nice long rant going about the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras. If you have not seen it, or any clips from it, suffice it to say it should be taken off the air. What these parents are doing to these kids is, in my humble opinion, borderline child abuse. The fact that TLC put this show on the air makes them complicit.

What they are doing is teaching these kids that in order to be somebody you have to be perfect. They are dressing little girls up, like prostitutes, and parading them up on a stage. It's no wonder girls/women have such poor self esteem. The parents should have their children removed from the home and be prosecuted. Simple enough.

I am through talking about that show. Simply thinking about it makes me want to hurt someone.

{rant on}

The problem is that we, as a society, have become too voyeuristic. We are so caught up in the collective need to spy on what everyone else is doing that we simply do not care about the possible consequences. As a nation we no longer give regard to our neighbors but insist on knowing every detail, about every facet, of their lives.

The paparazzi intrude on the private lives of celebrities because we demand it. We shout with glee when a new picture of Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton, doing something naughty, shows up in the tabloids or on television. If those photographers were to do those things to us we would be up in arms, asking for their heads set on pikes at the court house for invading, and violating, our privacy. Stop buying the rags and watching the gossip shows people. It is just one more contributing factor in the fall of our society.

This leads me to another problem. We have become just too thin skinned. We are stunting ourselves with the need to be politically correct. Listen, I am fat. I'm not thick, or big boned, or husky, or what the hell ever. For the rest of you that are fat, then suck it up and deal with it. If you don't like the word then do something about it. Don't tell me you have a glandular problem or it runs in your family. Get your fat ass off the couch, put down the cheeseburger and go for a walk.

Don't get me wrong, there are people out there with medical problems that make it hard (Steroids and MS for one). The vast majority of the fat people out there have no excuse other than lack of control, no will power, laziness, and just plain old fashioned stupidity. Yes, this country is rife with stupid people. Deal with it.

Also, on the topic of being overly P.C., stop with the freaking labels. Yes, you are of Asian or African descent. The thing is, and listen closely, if you were not born there then stop prefixing what you are with it. I am so tired of hearing about African-Americans, or Italian-Americans, or Polish-Americans. Just stop it.

If you were born here then you are an American. Plain and simple. Stop labeling yourself, as well as those around you, and step up. I am all for being proud, but not to the point of self-segregating. It perpetuates the problems and totally ignores the fact that we are a country of people first.

{rant off}

I'm done. Just something I had to get off my chest. I can't turn on the TV or browse the internet with encountering some of the biggest idiots in the world. It's time we started acting like citizens.

Be respectful.

You and I may not agree on politics, or religion, or even porn.

Be respectful.

You and I may not like the same kind of music.

Be respectful.

You and I my not like the same kinds of food.

Be respectful.

The bottom line is that until we get back to respecting each other, despite our differences, then nothing will ever get better. This country, and the whole world for all that matter, will continue it's rapid descent into the crapper unless we see people for who they are instead of what they are.

Hi everyone. I'm Mike. Nice to meet you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mindless drivel

I have not been able to get my mind to focus on anything worth posting. I have been doing a lot of studying for my Cisco class at school. Fun. I have sat down with the intention of posting but my mind would start to wander over a plethora of subjects. Some important, many just idle static in my mind. I thought I would put a few of them down and see how they look on the screen.

Pardon the sheer randomness.



Ideas to fix the country:

Fire all the politicians and start over. Maybe we could find some people who are interested in do the right thing instead of the politically correct thing. I would not mind putting myself out there but to be honest, I have too many skeletons in my closet and would prefer they stay there. A great many of them I am certainly not proud of. Be that as it may, the leadership we have is simply failing us. It's not just health care, but everything. I saw a story about projected deficits hitting record levels and how bad they will be over the next decade. I am honestly worried. Scratch that. I am scared. This is not a Democrat/Republican thing. We are being taken in a direction that I feel is completely counter to what our founding fathers wanted. There will be a reckoning and it's going to be ugly. Truth be told we are more like the Roman Empire in it's last 100 years of existence than the Republic we were 200 years ago.


Hollywood:

Well, what can I say. Most of the stars/elite/whatever are just getting on my nerves. I say most because there are a few that I respect because they just seem like normal people. Of course by normal I mean not being a stuck up, snobbish, whoring, waste of human cells. I get so tired of all the Hollywood trash and their drive to be famous, instead of being people. The poor girl that was killed by her husband, the reality star, is just another example of the excess that tinsel-town has created. Everything is about getting that 15 minutes of fame and there is no concern, at all, given to the possible consequences. What is truly sad about this case, and the hundreds or thousands like it, is that it did not have to happen. To hell with the fact this woman is dead. Forget the fact her family has lost a loved one. Lets turn it in to some kind of entertainment. Mark my words, there will be some kind of new reality show about the dangers of reality shows. I think my money will be channeled far less to the west coast of this country.


Multiple Sclerosis:

I could speak volumes on this topic. Most of you already know about it so I choose not to. I can tell you I have been dealing with some stiffness in my right side, headaches, and a familiar blurring of my vision (Still no word back from my insurance company yet. Not at all surprised!).


Exercise/Weight:

Yea. This is still a problem. I did about 45 minutes of tennis on Monday. Well, I can't really call it tennis. It was more like my classmate and I chasing down errant shots or watching the balls fly off in some random direction. I did a lot of moving. And sweating. And I felt better for it; at least until I woke up this morning. Can you say stiff, and sore, and tired. It also might have had something to do with me mowing the lawn after I got home yesterday but whatever. That chore is at least done. I am feeling really tired but I have to push through. Just like I did before I was diagnosed. Why? Because I have to. Tomorrow morning is my 2 mile walk. Lets see how that works out.


Money:

It's tight as hell. The $218 speeding ticket did not help (Yes, I was speeding. It was my fault. It does not mean I am happy about the cost.) my situation. I had to order more of my insulin the other day. That's another $70. My car insurance payment is due. $75 more. My health insurance is due in a week. There goes another $128. This is, by far, the biggest stressor in my life right now. There are no decent jobs available in the area. Makes it hard to consider options to be quite honest. Oh well, life goes on.


I guess that is all for now. I need to go run an errand for my dad. I might head in to school early today (My Tue/Thur class is at 6pm) and look into what classes I have left for my degree. Maybe I will double up next semester to try to graduate early. meh. Pipe dream.

I try to read through the blogs I follow every day (That doesn't hapen all the time either). I may not be commenting but I am still lurking. So on that happy note, I hope everyone is doing well and I will see you soonish.

Toodles!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I am just pissed today....

I have to be honest. I have not really been in the mood to write much. The Fall semester started so I have been kind of focusing on that. My PhyEd instructor is very nice and helpful. She is understanding of my situation and seems to truly want to help. That makes me feel good about that class.

Once again I have been disappointed by people. For the record, people suck. Strike that, I hate people. For every nice, honest, person I meet I seem to encounter 50 shit-for-brains. Why you might ask? I don't really feel like talking about it. Suffice it to say it got me to thinking.

What do you know about the ancient Roman Empire? Not the popular stuff but how the society was organized, the social and class structure, and all that stuff. Do some research. You might find yourself surprised to find out that our country, the USA in case there are non-American readers out there, is a lot like the old Roman state.

I do not want to go into a lot of detail, mainly because I just don't feel up to it, but take a close look at how the classes were broken down. The upper class consisted of the imperial family (ruler), the politicians, and the equestrians (the guys that ran the economy and had all the money). The lower class was everyone else. They used clothing as a definition of status, within all classes, and the ability to move from the lower to the upper class, while possible, was difficult at best and rarely happened.

I will leave it up to each of you to research the information for yourselves. The point I am trying to make is that this country is following the old Roman system so closely it is beyond scary. We know what happened to them. I guess we are going to allow this to happen to us.

All the bickering, name calling, heavy handedness, and what ever is fucking stupid and counter productive. When ever I turn on the news all I hear about is how the Democrats are pushing for Health Care Reform no matter what; the Republicans are against it because of a myriad of real and/or imagined reasons; the public that is speaking out are being called worthless and extremists, and so on. I am just sick and tired of it all.

I have gotten to the point that I hope the entire fucking thing melts down. I will pick up my shit and move to Ireland or Australia. Until this happens, I have a few words of wisdom to pass along.

To the politicians:
Sit down and shut up. Listen to what the people are saying. Address our concerns. The Republicans are spreading fear because they can. The Democrats are spreading lies because they can. All of you need to get a grip on reality, sit down with regular Americans, and figure out exactly what the problem really is. Obama says it's the Health Care system now so Pelosi, and her band of miscreants, tow the line and have said they will do whatever it takes to get his agenda passed. The Republicans are trying to stop it because it wasn't their idea and as such has no merit. Do we need Health Care/Insurance reform? You're god damned right we do, but not the way you want to do it. All you politicians are going to do is make a bad system worse.

To the people:
Sit down and shut up. Just because the person next to you doesn't hold the same opinion doesn't mean they are wrong, or a nazi, or a socialist, or whatever the fuck you want to call them tomorrow. On the other side of that coin, just because a person doesn't agree with the party in power at the moment doesn't mean they should be denied a voice. The backbone of this Republic is spelled out, primarily, in the Bill of Rights. In case you haven't read it, I would strongly suggest you do so. Until then you are merely a part of the problem and not the solution. Instead of yelling at someone about how bad the proposed system is then come up with an idea on how to improve it. As for the rest of you, just because a political party says it's the right thing, don't believe it. Do your own research before making a decision. Stop being a sheeple in the herd and stand on your own.

To the media:
Ok, just shut the fuck up. All of you are perpetuating lies, myth, and innuendo. Rarely do you present the entire story and thus no facts on which to base a reliable opinion. The liberal media shows Obama and the Democrats as near gods while the conservative media paints them as demons. You can see the same story on two different stations and you get two different themes. People like Maddow, Olbermann, Beck, Riley, and pretty much the rest of you are not doing anything to help. You continue to fan the flames of stupidity to help yourselves. Here is a novel concept for you all. Present HR3200 in a forum for discussion. Put together a panel consisting of politicians that are for and against it, industry experts from both viewpoints, and average Americans. Lets have an honest discussion about this bill. Lets get all the information out there for everyone to see.

The problem is, none of this will happen. No one uses common sense any more. We have crippled ourselves and we don't really give a shit. It's all circling the drain folks, and everyone of us pulled the handle.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Forgotten topic :(

Poop. I just can't seem to think of anything worth writing about. I have a lot of ideas but most of them will end up being lengthy posts that no one will really want to spend the time on. I don't blame them.

Well, school started back last Friday. I had gotten used to small numbers of people on campus. I had also not bothered to equate Summer semester with this. Friday morning came and the campus was packed! There were people every frickin where. I am glad my classes are at 8am and 6pm. This means that I get to avoid the majority of these people.

This morning was even worse. I guess a lot of classes didn't start until today. I won't say it was bedlam but it reminded me a lot of walking through downtown Indianapolis before a Colts game. Cars, people walking, people on bikes..... yeesh. I still feel fortunate to be able to return to school and get the education I should have gotten 20 years ago. The only thing is I hate crowds.

So my 8am (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) is PhyEd. Fitness I to be specific. I am looking forward to when we get in the gym. I spoke to my instructor this morning after class about my issues. We are going to meet Wednesday, after class, to talk it over and perhaps set up some ideas. We are scheduled to do nothing but classroom stuff until the first week in September. I told her I wanted to get a jump on that considering everything. She was supportive of that. I will fill you folks in later in the week on that.

I had homework over the weekend on my computer class (Networking for Home and Small Businesses - Cisco). We don't meet until tomorrow night, for the first time. The instructor sent an email about what he expected. Good thing I thought to check it. Easy stuff, but I got it done and don't have to worry about it. I also downloaded, and installed, the lab software. In addition i grabbed all the labs and did the first one. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it but it worked ok. I am going to set up my home network on it and play around. It should prove educational (irony?).

On the MS front. I have had a headache for a few days now. My hand/eye coordination is a little off on the right side and I am fumbling though my sentences a bit. I recognize this. It is exactly how my major episode started that ended with me in the hospital and my diagnosis in January. I hope that it is just stress about the new semester starting. I have not gotten any of the other symptoms yet. If i do I will need to call my neuro but I have my fingers crossed. The last few Copaxone injections have been uneventful. Nearly pleasant as a matter of fact. Well, as pleasant as an injection can be.

I do know I need to make an appointment to get my eyes checked out. I just need to find the money for that. I may have to call my insurance company to get some details on what my plan covers and pays for. I know I don't want contacts. The thought I touching my eyes just kind of freaks me out. Squeamish much? I didn't used to be.

So that's all I have for today. I wanted to comment on something controversial but I am just so tired of all the crap. Maybe next time.

Later taters!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Edumacation is fun (and dangerous)

Today we are going to perform a real world analysis of Newton's First Law. Bear with me, it is worth it.

Quite a lot of the stuff we did, in my youth, had great potential for massive bodily harm and/or death. It usually involved alcohol and/or medicinal herbage but not always. It kind of provides the reasoning behind the Jeff Foxworthy joke that starts off with; "Hey ya'll! Watch this!"

No good has ever come out of those words. I have a great many scars on my body. I can account for about 80% of them. Most of the rest can only be narrowed down to a time frame. There are a few I have absolutely no clue about. Assumptions have been made, fuzzy thoughts dwelled on, and in the end I just learned to accept that there are great chunks of my teen years that I will never recall. Probably for the best actually.

We, my compatriots and I, were always up for some sort of neighborhood infamy. We built a ramp at the end of the driveway one hot summer day. Not just an average ramp mind you. It was frickin' huge. We were trying to clear my mom's bushes she had planted at the end of the driveway. They stood about 6' tall. The ramp, at it's highest point, stood about 4' tall. That's big. There were about 8 or 10 of us trying to decide who should be the first victim, err, person to make the jump. We were busy nominating each other when my older brother, Richard, took it upon himself. None of us tried to stop him.

Climbing on my 3-speed bike he headed up to the end of the driveway and down the road. He was bound and determined to reach light speed. He did, but not like you would think.

We all stood out of the way. Many of us knew that something bad was likely going to happen and we certainly did not want to get mixed up in it if at all possible. Well, any more than we already were at this point. Pat stood at the corner of the house and warned us when Richard was incoming. We all took a deep breath as he came screaming into view. The bike was in third gear, Richards legs were pumping like steam hammers, and he was hunkered down over the handlebars to reduce drag. It took what seemed like only a second from him to travel the roughly 40' from the house to the base of the ramp. He was nearing the speed of sound when he hit the ramp.

And by hit, I mean the crunchy kind, not the Evel Knievel kind. Well actually now that I think about it....

KEEEEEEEEERUUUUUNCH!!!!!!

The front tire of the bike ran right between two of the boards and started digging into the underlying dirt. At the same instant the bike began to decelerate to subsonic speed. In another half second the front tire began collapsing under the strain and the front forks, yielding to the tremendous forces of gravity, speed, and the obligatory immovable object, quickly bent backwards pulling the bike further into the death wall. The bike stopped.

This is where our lesson for today comes in.

Newton's First Law states simply an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Now all things being equal if you toss a baseball, it will continue to fly through the air until the effects of gravity and the atmosphere act upon it to pull it to the ground. The harder you throw it, the further it will travel. This information comes into direct play at this point.

Now, the event in question started with two objects in motion. The bike being object number one and my brother, Richard, as object number two. We have established, using Newton's First Law, that object number one was affected by an unbalanced force, the ramp. But what of object number two?

Well again I refer you to Newton's First Law. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. So, given the fact that Richard was traveling at near the speed of sound, in a stance on the bike to promote air flow, there are several, very safe, assumptions one can make. The first is that despite the act of an unbalanced force (the ramp) on object number one, it had, for all intents and purposes, no effect whatsoever on object number two. Since the unbalanced force had no effect on object number two, the object will, in keeping with Newton's First Law, continue it's motion at it's same speed and direction (forward with respect to the initial direction of travel).

A body moving at that rate of speed is simply begging for hurt. And he got his fair share.

Object two, screaming quite loudly, cleared the ramp. With no apparent reduction in speed, object number two then impacted the bushes at the end of the driveway at about 4.5' from ground level. The rather poor simulation of superman resulted in a rather spectacular explosion of leaves and limbs, and more screaming. Now that object two had slowed down considerably gravity took over and pulled him to the ground, very quickly. The initial impact was loud. The unmistakable thud of the human body on hard ground is something I, for one, will never forget. The haphazard way he rolled to a stop showed a potential for a large number of injuries.

The quiet that descended over the scene was quite noticeable. We stood frozen wondering if he was dead. I would like to say it was abject fear but I would be lying. Then the silence was broken. Not by cries of agony, or worry, or concern. Rather by the sound of unbridled laughter. Many of us fell to the ground while the guffaws took us over from head to toe. In mere moments our dust covered faces were streaked with tears of hilarity while my brother lay, unmoving, in the hot Georgia sun.

Finally, Richard began to move. He slowly sat up, face contorted in pain, and manged to summon the strength to glare at us all. Some of our group of blue meanies finally went to check on him. As he caught his breath, he slowly got to his feet and checked himself for serious injuries. Finding only scrapes, scratches, and some bruises he managed to offer us, collectively, a scowl of contempt as he went to check on the bike.

The impact of the bike did manage to move a large portion of the ramp about a half inch. Other than the crater made by said impact, it held up pretty good. The same can not be said for the bike. The front wheel was totally crushed, the front forks bent back past the frame that runs between the handle bars and pedals, the handle bars bent in several places, one pedal snapped off, and lastly the frame cracked in several places. We simply salvaged what parts we could from the wreckage and discarded the rest.

Richard fared far better. As I mentioned before just some serious scratches, scrapes and bruises. He was sore for about a week after that and, to the best of my knowledge, he did not volunteer for anything else like that again.

There are many events from my youth like this one. Some of them actually involve me as the guinea pig. Most of them not nearly as educational as this one. Not that lessons in morality or moronity (I made that word up) aren't educational. In fact, many people on the internet could use some real lessons in these two things.

If you doubt the voracity of this statement then I will only point you towards our friend, and resident lab rat, Bert. We have proven that you can not jump off a roof, with a plastic garbage bag as a parachute, and not expect large quantities of pain.

So there you have it folks. Another example of bored teenagers creating havoc on their own terms. Many of you might very well be wondering about parental involvement. We had it and there was, more often than not, some form of fatherly/motherly retribution for many of the things we did. Well, what we go busted for.

I think we need to cover the finer points of a dirt clod war and the unconscious ass wipe. Pat's finest work ever in my humble opinion.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Can I be arrested for this?

So sorry for the continuing delay in postings. A number of things have conspired to keep me from writing. I could push it off on the MS but I won't. I could also say that I was not feeling too well. Actually, there is some truth in that but I had the strength to check my emails as well as log into World of Warcraft in order to unleash wanton destruction upon small furry, defenseless, critters.

Why?

If you know anything about the game you know why. If you don't... Well lets just say I could fill pages with how much fun it is to roam aimlessly through the game world obliterating things at random. To leave a trail of hurt and pain on a field of unsuspecting cows, the total annihilation of a Murloc encampment, or the random slaughter of squirrels and bunnies.

Pardon me for a moment. I am going to log in my Hunter and open a can of whoop ass on the Murlocs outside of Menethil Harbor. Talk amongst yourselves for a bit.

Ok, back. I feel better. Did i miss anything while I was gone?

Ok, so I have been exchanging blog time for game time. meh. I am back to blog. About what? Well, how about fireworks. Everyone is familiar with fireworks. It should come as no surprise that in my youth we played with fireworks.... a lot... and not in any matter that could even be remotely considered safe. In fact, we could have made a dozen or so safety videos on what not to do with fireworks.

(Editors note: The writer in no way condones the way in which items talked about in this post were used. In fact, he highly recommends that people do not attempt to repeat anything described below. If you do, you do so at your own peril and the writer can not be held responsible in any way.)

We played with a little bit of everything. Firecrackers, M80's, smoke bombs, bottle rockets, roman candles, and you get the idea. We are going to focus on bottle rockets. They were cheap and offered us more bang for our buck (Pun intended). Now we enjoyed making fruit and vegetable bombs using firecrackers and m80's (there were a few manure bombs but we can discuss that much later) but the costs were just more than we were willing to bear.

Most of the time. :)

So bottle rockets became the explosive of choice. We could pick up several thousand for next to nothing. And we often did.

Wars were fought. The battlefield always shifting around the neighborhood we grew up in. Many times it was fought in my backyard. Mortars were manufactured from coffee cans, pop bottles, and mason jars. Bazookas appeared in the form of short pieces of metal and pvc pipe (We preferred the pvc because it was much lighter). Hand held launches were not uncommon but we tried to avoid those because a fast fuse could, and sometimes did, result in a painful explosion.

(Note: On more than one occasion someone would injure themselves in an attempt to launch a bottle rocket from their hand. No hospitals were ever visited. Mainly due to the fact the fear of parental retribution was just too high.)

Areas were designated, artillery storage acquired, and teams chosen. The battle would start with each team staring at one another across 150 feet, or so, of open ground. No one wanted to be the first to fire but someone always did. The opening volley was impressive.

Bottle rockets would begin streaking back and forth, long streamers of fire and smoke. People dodging incoming missiles, all the while trying to return fire in an effective manner. Warnings were shouted, punctuated by small explosions and bits of debris raining down. People would be crouched over a launcher, trying to launch a counter attack, only to find themselves diving out of the way of an incoming projectile. Cursing and laughter flowed like wine at a Roman orgy. Attempts to aim were made, but usually providing no more benefit than just a random launch. Then it happened. The mother of all shots.

Our artillery storage was a garbage can, with a lid. Our opponents, that day, chose an open box. My partner, David, and I had given up trying to hit the enemy and opted for a denial strategy. If we could take out their cache of bottle rockets then we would win by default. Our feeble attempts at aiming did not produce any definitive results so we opted for alterations to our ammunition. We proceeded to reduce the length of the guidance stick on the fireworks prior to launch. There was a fine line between accuracy and total chaos on launch.

It took us about 20 shots to dial in the optimum break point. All the while the enemy was launching a most spectacular assault. Many times one of us would run by a launcher, loading it as we went, while the other followed behind with a lighter or lit cigarette. There were several close calls. A few times I could hear the whoosh of a rocket passing close by, quickly followed by the BANG of the detonation. David threw himself out of the way of more than one shot from his brother. They were trying to suppress us with sheer numbers. It was beginning to work. But we had had enough.

Setting up a 3 foot length of pvc pipe I managed to get off a few clean shots. They landed close to their, lidless, storage box. The plan was set. We loaded a couple of our mortars with about two dozen rockets. Using our lighters we lit as many of the fuses as we could, assuming the liftoff off the lit rockets would ignite the fuses of the rest, before retreating to our pvc emplacement. After a moment, the bombardment began. In less than 30 seconds a large barrage of bottle rockets were streaking downrange providing us the precious few moments we needed to strike.

As predicted, they scrambled for cover, leaving their ammo unattended. I lined up the shot and David lit the fuse. By now, David's brother had returned to his firing spot..... about two feet to our right of their box of bottle rockets. The fuse hissed angrily as it ignited the powder and sent our telegram of hate swiftly towards the enemy position. We could not have asked for a better shot. The rocket screamed in anticipation of it's impact. Randy only stood there as the world went into slow motion.

With only a smoke trail for us to track we watched as Randy simply turned his head to follow the incoming missile. Direct hit! The bottle rocket landed in their open box, of somewhere around 1000, bottle rockets. Randy looked up at his partner, my brother Pat. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, there was a small pop, then they dove away from the box of explosives like they had been yanked by a giant invisible hand. About a millisecond later the box erupted in smoke and fire.

David and I dove for cover behind a nearby tree as their bottle rockets began launching themselves in every direction imaginable. Smoke trails spewed forth like deadly tendrils of pain, seeking flesh to mingle with. Explosions began almost immediately. Pat and Randy both were moving away from the conflagration like their asses were on fire. Truth be known that was not far from being true. The din of the whistling rockets and explosions happening seemingly everywhere on the field was overwhelming.

Smoke began to settle over the battle field, the explosions becoming fewer. It was during this period that time seemed to return to its normal speed. The haze was thick and burned our eyes at it washed past us. After about 5 minutes it became quiet. Smoke laying over everything like a blanket. A voice was heard from somewhere nearby. "Son of a bitch!"

That battle was over. For now.

The next installment of this war was fought at night. While this was fun for us people in the neighborhood seemed a skosh put off by our battle. The fact that it took place at about 2am was not a deciding factor. Ok, maybe it was. But I will post about the battle for control of the not-as-abandoned-as-we-thought trailer next time.

I hope you found this story enjoyable. I so much like writing about things like this than how pissy I tend to get because of my diagnosis.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New forums

I have created a forum for people to talk about MS and other chronic diseases. I hope to build a community where people can share, learn, support, and help sufferers, caretakers, and people who just want to know more.

It is small right now. I am hoping that with enough support we can make it a place that will be a go to place on the issues we live with every day. I will also gladly add new forums based on what the users want to see.

The forums are located here. Stop by, take a look and lets make it a community together.

I will be back by the end of the weekend with a new post.

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gourds: Fact or fiction

*** WARNING: This post is insanely long. It rambles on in a few points and then grinds to a complete halt. Sorry. ***

Ok, here we go. Today's topic, if it can even be considered that, is on gourds. Perhaps a little history on the gourd. Please be aware that I am looking at Wikipedia and one other website for my information. Or in layman terms; If it ain't right, it ain't my fault!

So what is a gourd? I think we all know what a gourd is but I mean really, what the hell is it? We can take two different tacks on this. If we refer to Mr. Webster (He is such the know-it-all) then the primary definition is as follows:

Any of a family (Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family) of chiefly herbaceous tendril-bearing vines including the cucumber, melon, squash, and pumpkin

So a gourd is any one of a wide variety of edible plants. Many, if not all, of us have taken part in the mutilation of a pumpkin (Come on now, you know you loved it), the dissection of a melon, the drowning of a cucumber (Pickles Rock!), or the ummm... - dammit I am out of good verbs - consumption of a tasty squash casserole. No matter how many times I rewrite that last sentence I always fail when I get to the squash. Probably because it is not one of my favorite foods. Ah well, we can't win them all.

{Editors Note: The writer of this blog has an affinity (obsession really) with all things Halloween. It tends to spill over into other areas of his life (making court appointments tricky under the best of circumstances). The writer is not a violent person (unless you consider the way he attacked that bucket of KFC the other day) and does not condone or endorse violence in any way (except for the aforementioned bucket of fried chicken and the occasional Mississippi Mud Pie)}

But is that the only type of gourd out there? Of course not or this post would be done already. So moving on....

But Mike? - you might be saying - I thought a gourd was that dried out thing most commonly used as a bird house but also, historically speaking, used as a container, cup, ladle or any one of a thousand household items before the advent of pottery?

To which I could only reply; You are quite correct on that point, but it is not quite so simple. You see way back in the day (and by way back I mean a long time ago... and by a long time ago I mean some time before the internet, but after the time when T-Rex had a hard time brushing his teeth) the gourd was more of a tool and utility item.

Before we go on too much further I should ask Mr. Webster for the second part of his definition. Luckily he is quite compliant in this regard. He said:

Any of various hard-rinded inedible fruits of plants of two genera (Lagenaria and Cucurbita) often used for ornament or for vessels and utensils

Wow Mike! You seem to know a lot of stuff. What else can you tell me about gourds? - you would say -

You see mankind has always had stuff. Not stuff like we have today. I mean come on, if cavemen had ipods, would we have ever made it to the bronze age? I think not. Most likely because he would have been jamming out to Led Zeppelin or Judas Priest and never saw the saber-tooth tiger coming.

Unless he was listening to Britney Spears in which case, he deserves to be eaten.

So mankind had stuff. Food, water, and usually a healthy collection of bones, teeth, and assorted rocks. Now given the fact that pockets didn't really make an appearance until a wee bit later he had to have a way to carry all this stuff around. Enter, the Gourd. Now I have no clue how this came about but if i were a betting man I would think that early man stumbled into a patch and accidentally stepped on one that was dried out already. In fact he probably thought it was good for protecting his feet, at least until he tried to walk and the gourd fell to pieces (Early man was not noted for his overall intelligence. And before you ladies laugh neither were the women. How bright can you be to let a man move you into a cave full of dirt, bugs, rodents, and no air conditioning?)

Caveman 1: Ugh, Gortil mirguchuk.
Caveman 2: Huh?
Caveman 1: Sorry, was kinda surprised for a sec. So anyway, look what I stepped in.
Caveman 2: Wow. It covers your foot really well. Perhaps it will provide adequate protection while you move around.
Caveman 1: That sounds like a fine idea. Let me try it out.

After a few steps;

Caveman 1. Hmmm, it didn't work so well.
Cavemen 2: Well look at this over here. There are some seeds in this one. Perhaps we can use it for carrying stuff around?
Caveman 1: That is a damned fine idea. Carrying all these bones in my shorts is quite painful.


Ok, we know it did not happen quite like that. Cavemen didn't speak proper English. So it started way back when. In fact there is archeological evidence showing that early man used the inedible gourd for a variety of things including prostheses for wounds/surgery on the head. Of course that last comment begs the question, what did they use before settling on the gourd? I'll let you mull that one over in private. My ideas might be considered disgusting, crude, or downright icky (Dried bat wings!).

So gourds became a useful tool that would not soon go away. Even the discovery of pottery did not diminish the need for the gourd. Pottery was expensive and reserved for the well-to-do. As a result, the less-than-well-to-do continued to use gourds. I really can't begin to guess when they (gourds) moved from utilitarian to decorative. Given that pottery evolved during different time periods in different regions of the world (The oldest is from China dating back about 18,000 years) it is hard to say. Also, since I have done so little research on the matter I would not feel at all comfortable in throwing out something I totally made up (Editors Note: See the Caveman conversation a little earlier in this post).

I know as a kid growing up in the south it was not at all uncommon to see gourd trees. This was a large pole, stuck in the ground, with anywhere from two to as many as six cross poles at the top. On each of the cross poles were a number of gourds used as bird houses. You would always see a lot of birds in and around these 'trees'. It was interesting to watch the cats parked at the bottom staring intently skyward. Which then became interesting to some of the dogs in the area. The food chain in action. National Geographic could have run an entire season of shows on it.

Gourds also filled another need. You see, the south is awash with one particular animal... especially in the summertime. That would be the bored teenager. Now I am not at all familiar with how things work in the "big city" but here in the country we had to create things to do. Shooting fireworks at one another (Good sir. Bottle rockets at 10 paces!), building ramps to jump our bikes (not motorcycles) over the ditch (Note: The ditch should be defined. This ditch was around 8'-10' deep, 15' across and generally filled with large rocks, broken glass, and usually a healthy population of snakes), fishing, and shooting things.

(Looky, another editors note: They did not shoot any living animals, not for lack of trying but moving targets (Deer, Quail and the like people. Not non-food critters) were just to much trouble so they settled on things that could not get out of the way.)

We will cover the shooting of things. It did not matter to us. Fruits and vegetables worked best because there was an immediate, visceral representation of a hit (It might be noted a friend came into possession of a large quantity of Smurf dolls. They 'sploded real good). Gourds could be found all over the place so they were of high value. When the season was right watermelons worked well to. We also used fruits and vegetables as bombing targets. If you carved out the right size hole and inserted an M80 you were in for a real treat. Unless you were too close. then you were rather disappointed in the result. Carrots (Black Cat Firecrackers due to size constraints) hurt by the way. Little bits of orange shrapnel. MEDIC!

Ok, I seem to have gotten off topic. I hope no one minded too much because once I got into this I realized that gourds just aren't that funny. A little on the lame side to be honest. I mean they look funny but it would be like writing about how funny a brick is. Yea, loads of laughter there. And since I said I would write about gourds I felt like I had to do something.

GOURD!

The name looks funny.

GOURD!

The name even sounds funny.

I guess I was wrong on this. Such a long post for so very little payoff. I hope you are not too terribly disappointed. Well then I will ask you, what do you think I should write about next? It could be something from this post, from a previous post, or just something you want to see me struggle my way through. It can be completely serious or totally crazy. Leave a comment, send an email, or hire a skywriter (I would suggest strongly that you avoid that last option simply because of the expense involved AND because you don't know where I live). Or just ignore this post, leave no comment and leave me to fend for myself for a new topic.

I have tons of stories from my childhood and teenage years (Sadly the statute of limitations may not be up on many of them so I will have to be picky there) that I think would make great reading. I will have to change the names to protect the guilty but you would not know anyway. So let me know. I will post a response to the next topic by Friday evening in a new space to the side of this titled Upcoming Topics.

Ok, my 3rd latte just ran out, the coffee shop personnel are giving me strange looks, and the sky is turning black like a huge storm is about to break loose. Yay, lightning.

So I am off for now. Thanks for stopping by and reading this far (or skipping to the bottom here) and have a good day!

Later taters!

(Last editors note, we swear: This blog post was supposed to go somewhere else entirely. Due to the wandering nature of the writers brain the topic didn't flow as well as he would have liked. We will be taking him for some Electro-Shock Therapy in order to prevent this type of mishap again. We apologize profusely.)

(Writers note: The editor was mistaken with his last entry. He can not force me to submit to Electro-Shock Therapy. I will, however, send the editor out for a fatal beating. this should keep him in line for future posts.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thanks!

I just wanted to say thank you to two very wonderful people.

Have Myelin? for the Golden Heart award. I am glad that I can make you smile, laugh, and feel the warmth of friendship.

for the Outstanding Bloggery Award. She has been most kind to me and never fails to keep me thinking.

Both ladies have been, and continue to be, a source of support for myself and many others. If you have never been to their blogs you are missing out. No really, I mean it.

A big thanks to both of you!

I have been having a bad couple of days. Between reading blogs I have been spending a lot of time sleeping. I have also been dealing with one hell of a headache and the ibuprofen just isn't cutting it. I finally broke down and took two of the 800mg pills I have. So now instead of my head feeling like a tournament ping pong ball it is down to a Michael Jordan basketball. That's good actually.

I have been mulling over a few ideas for a new blog post. My nephew has provided me with a few good ideas and I might well run with a few of them. If it matters we both agreed that gourds would make a good topic. That should be a good read. A few other things? Television and movies, MMO's, and possibly something on scaring easy (cause he does).

Ok, I need to try to get some sleep. I have a big day tomorrow. I should be back with a new post in a few days.

Later taters!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Friday. Do you know where your mind is at?

Just a few things today. I am not feeling particularly well. In fact, my right eyeball is throbbing right now and it is making my brain squeamish.

I still have no clue what my final English grade is. This is sort of pissing me off. We, the students, are expected to be in class on time, turn in our work on time, report problems on time, ask questions in a timely fashion, and generally be slaves to someone's timetable. If we fail to act like a responsible adult we are held accountable for it. As a student it is usually in the form of a lower grade. Fair enough I say.

Now what recourse do I have when my instructor fails at all the above items. Should she not also be held accountable for not acting like a responsible adult? Is there any punishment for her not doing her job in a timely fashion? Nope. I say as a college instructor she should be setting the example for us, the students in her class, on how we should be acting. I guess, though, that since she is in charge of the class it's more of a 'Do as I say, not as I do' mentality. In the real world at a real job that just will not fly. Unless you are a bleeding heart, racist, liberal, douche bag. But I could be wrong. Oh my, almost left out narcissistic, egotistical, blowhard.

Bitter? Why, what ever gave it away? Moving on.

I picked up my books for next semester already. I am taking a PhysEd class and need new shoes. Since I wear a 15 wide (No, don't even go there) I had to have a pair ordered in. They should be here next week. About $65 with tax and everything for a pair of New Balance cross trainers, not too bad. I need to get 3-4 pairs of workout shorts, tshirts and maybe some sweats. Don't have the money for that right at the moment. Maybe an armored truck will wreck in front of the house? Hmmmm. A Ben & Jerry's truck would be far more appreciated.

I have been following a few blogs closely and kind of ignoring others. It is nothing personal but I wanted to take a break from reading about MS for a bit. I think I am feeling a wee bit depressed about everything and needed to cheer up a bit. Thanks to GypsyFox and her Twilight fetish I had a couple of great laughs. The "pit"falls encountered over at Jenni's blog had me laughing so hard my sides hurt. And poor, poor Ann dealing with a heatwave. It made me feel better. I had a great talk with some friends yesterday (One of them is preggers, lol... she is still emotionally sifting through that bit of news) and just spent some time doing nothing. Thinking about whatever buzzed through my warped mind. Most of it I can not, will not, talk about here.

I will get back to reading all the great blogs and catching up with everyone in a few days. I didn't realize how worked up I had gotten myself heading into final exams at the beginning of the week. It feels good to act normal. Please be aware that normal for me would be considered white jacket worthy for the average person. Add in my MS and my diabetes and we go someplace totally off the grid.

Listed above are a couple of links. One is to the movie Julie and Julia. It opens next weekend and I am so looking forward to it. I have great memories of watching Julia Child on tv with my mom. We would soak up her words like they were mana from the sky. We always felt so much better after her show. Fun times.

The other is for a link to a site that has some live music by Kelly Clarkson. They also have a lot of other stuff but the link is to watch a video of Kelly covering the Patsy Cline song Walkin' after midnight. Even if you don't like Kelly (and how could you live with yourself if that is the case) take a listen.

Ok, my nephew is finally ready for us to go do something. 2:30 in the afternoon and he just now gets is arse in gear. I might have to leave him somewhere. Oh yea, we went and ate at a great place in Moultrie yesterday. If you happen to find yourself in Moultrie, Georgia go have a bite over at Cedar River Seafood. Ask for Savannah (The short one with dark hair) to wait on you. Great food and Savannah rocks. Anyway, he spotted a sign there and didn't know what it meant. I had to explain that it just meant that things were fantastic. It kind of summed up how I felt yesterday. What did the sign say?

Gooder 'n grits!

Yea, life this week has been. How about you?

Adios Amoebas!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Done with finals and teaching?

For those that are playing the home game I took the last of my finals today. I aced the history exam and did well enough on the math exam. The tally is as follows:

American Government: A
American History after 1877: A
Algebra: C
English: Not a frickin clue

My English grade is the only hold out. She still has not posted anything and as of about 10 minutes ago no response to my email requesting my final grade. Personally I feel like I should have an 'A' in that class but who knows. That class was some kind of freaky. When you get a test with the URL from where it was printed still at the bottom that's not too bad. When the URL reads, www.teacherneedshelp.com then you begin to worry about the grading system. My research paper was very good and the presentation I did was well received by the class. If you don't know or can't recall it was on MS and the effects chronic fatigue and cognitive fog on college students (me). Several of my classmates requested copies of the paper and everyone else who read it thought it was very good. We shall see but I am itching to know what my grade was.

Once again I was told I should be a teacher. My History instructor is the new one here. Everyone, even some of my classmates I helped, feels I would be very good at it. I just don't want to go through all that crap for the BA minimum you need for primary education. Not that I could not do it, I just don't want to. I want to get in to a cushy job working on computers and computer networks (maybe security but I don't know for sure yet) and not work too hard.

Selfish?

Perhaps. I would be a good teacher. I have been for years in most of the jobs I held. Maybe I will revisit this after I graduate in 2011. Maybe.

So what else, OH! I am tormenting my nephew. In fact, when I get done and post this I think I will go get him with a squirt bottle of cold water. He went to bed 30 minutes ago. muwahahahahahahahaha <gasp> hahahahahahahahahaha!

Ok, I need to go shoot up now. And further torment my young relative. Then go to bed cause dammit I'm tired.

Later taters!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whatcha dooooin?, Part deux!

Ok, when last you left your intrepid blogger he was lamenting over the fact that he had to start thinking about things before he did them. Well, that might be a bit of a stretch but whatever.

I had mentioned that we, the collective we; the we with MS, need to take a look at the things we are currently doing and those things we want to do. When we look we need to be honest and look at what the impact will be at the start, during, and at the end of the activity. Since each person is unique the answers for a given task set (i.e. getting up, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and getting dressed) might be vastly different. We all have some basic idea of how difficult that task is for ourselves and how much effort we must expend to accomplish it.

For myself it is not terribly difficult. Assuming I am not too cramped/stiff/lazy to get up in the morning the process is fairly smooth and doesn't take too much time. It does not come back to haunt me later in the day. If you apply the same task set to someone confined to a wheelchair then the effort goes up considerably. If you take this person and apply only the most basic of restrictions you still have a huge amount of effort to accomplish a task I barely think about. This person will likely be troubled by the expenditure of effort later in the day, possibly even as soon as a few hours.

If you break your day into these task sets you can then break down these sets into areas based on effort put in versus possible issues later. The example I used is one that all people go through daily (well, I hope daily). There are a lot and I will certainly not try to list them here but some of the more obvious ones are:

- Preparing breakfast

- Checking the mail

- Attending a doctor appointment

- Mowing the lawn


As you can see these are ordinary task sets and each one will be different to one degree or another for each person with MS. The extent to which the disease has taken hold, house vs. apartment, single (with or without caregiver) or significant other, summer or winter, and the list goes on and on. No one person could make a comprehensive list of these sets for anyone other than themselves and certainly could not begin to guess at how easy or difficult a given task, much less the entire set, might be.

I started making a list of the things I do on a daily basis and then began separating them into task sets. Now to be honest the set I used as an example is not complete for myself (I have making coffee, taking out the garbage, and a few others listed) but I thought it was general enough to apply to the population as a whole. I will not bore you with the list I have thus far but I would strongly suggest you do this for yourself. While you are at it, list the things you do on occasion (Do you weed the garden or mow the grass every day?) and create a category for them. Pretty much all of us knows how we are likely to feel after doing something particularly rough (Fixing the cement driveway over the weekend tore me up for Sunday). With this list we can better plan for things or possibly better track if continuing to perform these activities gets any easier with time. Or if they get worse.

Will this work for everyone? Nope. It doesn't mean that you should not still be asking yourself the question. You might find some surprising answers that help you to have a less stressful, painful, or tiring day. As a side note you could pass this along to your normal friends. Let them do this for themselves and then compare it to yours. It might help them to better understand just what you go through to simply live each day.

I find it quite interesting that since my hospitalization and subsequent diagnosis I pay more attention to what it is I am doing. The one bad point is that with many things I am having to just do them and then see what the effect is. Sometimes it is ok and other times the sucktitude meter is off the scale. But that's the way it is going to be. Trial and error. Mix and Match. The list, while never ever really complete, will help me be more careful of those things I know have a price.... or if I am willing to pay the price.

Much thanks to Isabella for asking, "Whatcha doooin?"

and remember;

The quickest way to a man's heart is through his chest.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.