Day 16

So, end of the week, and I’m over the hump on this. Yay….

1. What do you feel is your purpose in life?

1. Be a good husband.
2. Earn money.
3. Obey the law.
4. Enjoy what I still can.

I think I do those. Well, not enough of number two. And rumors on the Internets say I’m a horrible husband (and a worse panda). But I think my priorities are in line.

If number four seems a little ponderous, so be it. I’ve had to find a lot of new things to occupy myself since I got sick. The nights of driving around aimlessly, listening to the radio, are over. Besides, spending time with my wife is so much better…..

As for the earning money, I don’t know. I do feel like my opinion and input isn’t often valued; some people view me as a Negative Nancy. But, in the end, I’m trying to do the right thing. If I feel strongly that I’m being told to do the wrong thing, or that the approach is completely askew, I’m open to convincing. I will listen to arguments contrary to my analysis. But I will criticize them if they’re thin. Too often these days, there isn’t really an agrument at al — just do it. No, it’s fucking wrong. It’s unnecessarily expensive, and you haven’t done your homework.

2. Write an entry from the point of view of your pet(s).

Since all my pets have gone on to their rewards…….there’s not much to write on this. I miss the dogs a lot. *sigh* Eventually, we’ll move to a place where we can have one.

Day 15

Doctor visit this afternoon. Pfffft. Leeched. Some insight into what more is going to happen with the specialist. Not amused. But what can I do? I’m broken. After that, and Rebif, I’m not feeling terribly much up to writing tonight. But here goes, anyway. On to the prompts….

1. Do you feel you are an open-minded person? If so, do you think it comes naturally to you or do you think it is due to your upbringing/life circumstances?

I don’t know if I’m terriblyl open-minded, but I try to be. I was a lot more judgmental when I was younger. My sense of right and wrong is still very strong, but I’m more willing to “live and let live.” Someone else’s stupidity, if it’s not affecting me (or some other innocent person), isn’t something I spend a lot of spoons worrying about.

I still do have an immediate repulsion to people whose initial answer for anything is coercive action. Whether that’s just being personally offensive, or using physical force, it doesn’t matter much.

2. Do you think steps should be taken by government (local, state or federal) to help curb the obesity epidemic currently happening in the United States? If so, what steps should the government take? If not, how do you feel the problem of obesity can be addressed?

Kind of related; I often have immediate negative reactions to use of force to get people to behave the right way. Being overweight isn’t always a personal choice. Furthermore, the government has a responsibility to protect children’s well-being. Is there a happy balance with that? Sure. Do well-intentioned people overstep the boundaries? Absolutely.

If a parent is being overly negligent, there’s ways to deal with that. Restricting portion sizes is a step beyond, Mrs. Obama, Mayor Bloomberg.

Day 14

Missing Shady Grove’s Fall Beer Tasting. *sigh* Just too asskicked tonight. But I will probably go buy something next few days; I hope I get a chance to say hello to Luke and Emily.

1. Are you comfortable being (physically) naked alone? With others?

Alone? Not as much as I used to be. A variety of reasons for that, but….. With others? More. Losing weight helps, but I’m really not trying to impress anyone anymore. I’m ugly; now I’m nakey. BFD.

Perhaps it’s easier now that I’m older, because getting naked means less than it did when I was nineteen, but….

2. Write about a time you felt emotionally naked.

You know, I’ve always been a very reserved person; somebody who hides his true feelings. Part of that was training. Part of it was just trying to be mentally-tough. I don’t need to do that anymore. I am who I am. That said, I am in control of my emotions. Most of the time.

I am quicker to visible (and audible!) anger than I used to be. But I can wrap it up when I need to. So, what’s different? I need to restrain myself less than I did. I think I’m incredibly reasonable when dealing with others; I expect the same in return. Maybe that makes me a fool.

But my eyes are weird. I’m going to stop now.

Day 13

A few hours late, since took an unexpected vacation.

I came to some rather disturbing conclusions yesterday. I’m sticking by them; I wish I didn’t need to. Last week’s election results only reinforce what I’ve been thinking —
1. People are unwilling to admit when they’ve made mistakes, and;
2. People view extra effort on something hopelessly broken as noble.

While the politics drove it home, I see it at work all the time, too. What you have really isn’t working anymore. Accept that. Move on. What about it does it do well? Recreate that when you start from scratch again. What doesn’t work well? Don’t recreate those things, even if people have come to expect them.

*now to find something where I’m not relating it to cars or food*

Yeah, I’m drawing a blank. Bear with me, and my scarred brain for a moment…..

I brush my teeth every morning. Should it really matter all that much that I don’t remove the cap from a metal tube? Or what if I’ve got to hold the brush slightly differently because the handle has a different shape? Does the new stuff do a better job than that old metal tube and rectangular-headed brush? Probably. A dentist could probably show empirical evidence of how well each accomplishes the main goal — getting the damn plaque off my teeth.

Many people in my profession don’t approach the problem like that. You need an Oral-B toothbrush, and Crest toothpaste, because that’s what you’ve always used, and are used to. Uhhhhmmmm. No. The Sensyodyne allows me to drink cold things without pain.

I’ve had a hell of a time lately convincing people to think this way about different problems. Whether that’s at work, or with my mother when it comes to buying a damn house, forming babby; I have other considerations that don’t make those choices right for me.

My job, really, as I see it, is to convince people to think about problems in the way I am so they don’t waste money. Easier said than done, certainly. Now on to the prompts…..

1. Are you a motivated person by nature? If you need motivation where do you find it?

No. I am an utterly lazy sack of crap. See: how little I actually accomplish many weekends. But I do respond well to reasonable deadlines. Actually, I prefer having a deadline, even if means I do something early. Now, that gets taken advantage of, because people who expect one thing often get something else entirely. But I’m not one who thinks his first cut at something is perfect. I screw up. Lots. Give me a chance to fix it. But give me feedback.

2. If you were forced to live the rest of your life in a library, a museum or a zoo which would you choose and why?

Museum. I’m guessing they might have the better snack bar.

Day 12

I’ve been absolutely horrible about straying from the prompts. But anything I might have to say lately comes off as bitchy. Do I have a lot to bitch about? Certainly. Do I need to share it? No.

1. What can make you laugh, even when you are having a frustrating day?

And the TSG Mugshot Roundups linked on Fark.

2. Write about all the different roles you play in your life, i.e. wife, mother, sister, brother, father, son or daughter, etc.

Tom Smykowski
Former radio guy

3. And an extra challenge today, since our word of the day is laughter: in the notes below, leave your favorite joke.
Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?
A: A stick.

Day 11

I’m feeling less-than-creative, so both prompts. Yes, it’s a few hours early. BFD….

1. Write about the your most memorable kiss.

I’ve been mulling this, and while I have a few memorable ones, I really don’t think about them a lot.

Naturally, I remember my first with all its awkwardness. Come to think of it, every first kiss is awkward. Including the one I’m thinking about (with my wife).

Maybe this is a prompt for the ladies? I remember romantic moments, sure. But the kiss part of those? Ummmm……

2. If you could be any creature, real or fictitious, what would you be and why?

It’d be really unoriginal for me to say, “God,” now wouldn’t it? (And it’d probably be offensive to a lot of people….both believers and non-believers).

Fractured “I don’t know,” on this one.

If I had to choose an animal, I’d be a dog.

Day 10

1. Are you a jealous person? If so, is it in all areas or just in relationships? How do you handle your jealousy?

Short answer: No.
Longer answer: Priorities are different for each person. There isn’t anyone else alive who has priorities exactly the same as I do, or who has made the same decisions I have.

Are there certain accomplishments I might be jealous of simply because I know I’ll never be able to do them? Yes. If it comes out that those accomplishments have come through force or fraud? No.

Not tweeting this. Based on the general paucity of comments, pretty much nobody is reading these, anyway.

Day Nine

Both. Again.

1. What is the most ironic thing that has ever happened to you?

Well, I’ve gotten a free ride on the streetcar when I had a pass that was good for that day. But it didn’t rain on my wedding day. (No, we didn’t have a “wedding day,” but that’s completely beside the point, now isn’t it? It didn’t rain that day!)

2. Who is or has been the most influential person in your life and why?

You know, I honestly don’t have an answer to that question at this point. My parents, my dad especially, shaped lots of things in my life. But I appreciate that I’ve been allowed to find my own way on many things….

Maybe I can write about certain individuals who helped me gather a few important things?

My high school football coaches, and my Army JROTC instructors helped me with punctuality. Being late as a broadcaster is a Bad Thing (TM). In all my years in radio, I think I was unexpectedly late for work maybe three times. Since then, I’m worse. I’ve been late for work a few times since I left radio.

Only once did I really feel like it was something for which there was no good excuse. I forgot to set my alarm, and just overslept.

Of course, there’s other things where I was influenced by things I’ve read. Not many of those are were case studies in how not to be “That Guy.” I am not “That Guy.”

At work, I don’t suffer fools with much grace these days. There is a problem with that, however: much of what I consider foolishness is also considered “tradition.” So, you’ve done this task this one way for fifteen years.

Give me a minute. I might find the fuck I’m not giving. Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean it’s eternally the right way

At the same time, I’m open to hearing a compelling argument. Even if I’m initially skeptical about something, you might be able to convince me.

Now I’m doing a really lousy job answering the prompts. Somehow, this feels familiar. Doing things strictly by the prompts normally doesn’t work out completely right for me.

If you’re not okay with me trying to find the best way to do something, don’t ask for my help….

But that’s about all I have for today. I’m spent. More tomorrow.

Day Eight

Or, to quote Mr. Mackey, “you’re pretty messed up, mmmkay?”

I’ll tackle both prompts again, today, because one I only have a couple of things to say.

1. What steps do you take for your health? Do you exercise? Eat healthy? Or do you figure you only live once and the heck with worrying about it?

A few years ago, when I was planning to ask my fiancee to marry me, I decided I needed to get more serious about taking care of myself. So, what’d that entail?

1. Harmful recreational chemicals,
2. Bad diet
3. Doing things to, “feel better.”

I was doing pretty well with all of it until the Nor’easter three years ago. Fall 2008, I’d gotten a new glasses prescription. The optometrist couldn’t correct me to 20/20 in my left eye. That wasn’t totally surprising after I’d had a problem with it about a year and a half before.

In November 2009, my apartment was destroyed in the storm. I’d spent much of that year working time-and-a-half helping with a big project, and trying to finish another.

After management finally got around to repairing my place, I just couldn’t get the strength and motivation to get things rearranged properly. And my eyes were crazy. Optometrists and psephologists had no idea what was causing my “optic nerve pallor.”

Fast forward six months, I’m dealing with the medical nonsense related to the MS diagnosis. Some of the progress I’d made on general health stuff I set aside just to deal with feeling lousy all the time.

I started seeing a resident at the local medical school who worked with me on a few things, some more successfully than others. I lost a lot of weight. (I went from bumping close to 250 down to around 185.) The medication I’m on now doesn’t kill my appetite as much as the first one did.

Even after switching my injections to the mornings, I still didn’t want to eat much of anything for several hours after taking the medicine.

My dad died in December 2010. I probably drank too much in the year or so after. Not so much because I was sad, but because I like alcohol.

The resident had said a couple of beers probably wasn’t a bad thing, with the weight loss continuing. She also put me on diet shakes to try and keep weight on. Before we actually got married, I was going downtown for sushi and beer probably every five days or so (expensive!).

After we got married, I was eating at home. And drinking more. Moreso after I stopped driving at night. Not to the point of being drunk, but beyond the point where I felt like I could drive if I absolutely needed to, but….

Fast-forward to this year. I started this new medication in February. Increased liver enzymes are an uncommon, but not rare, side-effect. After twelve weeks on the drug, blood test. My enzymes were high. Could have been the alcohol or the drug. Maybe both; I don’t know that there’s a way to know for sure. Week sans booze, and my liver was “normal” again.

Since the forced-sobriety period, I’ve started drinking again. A lot less than I was, and ever on nights I give myself a shot. On nights when I do drink, I try and watch my intake better. Pfft.

The weight loss stopped, too. I’ve been within about a ten pound range for almost two years now. I’m okay with what I weigh right now. Would I like to be fitter? Absolutely.

But I can’t run anymore. At all. Not even ten yards. Walking more than a couple of blocks nearly lays me out.

The last time I went to the med school to see a doc, the woman I’d been seeing had moved on to greener pastures. I saw someone different. She gave me three vaccines, and put me on blood pressure medication. My blood pressure has always been slightly elevated. Too many stimulants probably didn’t help. The Air Force made me do five remedials on it. When I saw the new doc, my BP was almost exactly what it’d been when I was seventeen years old (and that hte Air Force was finally okay with after taking it whatever it was…fifteen times?)

She also wanted blood. Still being bad about getting leeched, I delayed that until the neurologist visit. Neuro faxed the results over. My cholesterol wasn’t great. “Borderline high.” My HDL was low, and my LDL was a bit high. Combined was fine.

I’m going to go see someone else next week. I guess we’ll see what this new one has to say. Not doctor-shopping. Same practice. But the one who put me on the BP med seems to be overloaded. Whatever. I’m fine being a guinea pig. If there’s a resident who can learn from me, great.

2. Have you ever been hypnotized or seen someone hypnotized? What happened? If you haven’t, would you allow yourself to be if the chance presented itself?

Um. I’m not allowed to be hypnotized. Yes, I’ve seen what it looks like. (college, maybe?)

At a station where I used to work, there was a hypnosis group who’d come do a radio show periodically. They were, ummm, interesting. Brother and sister who, I think, had taken over their dad’s practice. Brother would bring his wife in. Sister was freakishly high-energy. I think she’d been a Marine, if that says anything…….

The brother had a very intense stare. And worked virtually expressionlessly. His was wife was pretty, more human, but also seemed a bit off……

I’ve S’dTFW a couple of times to see what happened to them, since I hadn’t heard them in awhile. Looks like the company failed under shomewhat mysterious circumstances or something. Regardless, they moved out west, etc.

And I’m going to shut up there.

Day Seven

Are you listed as an organ or bone marrow donor? Why or why not?

Yes. Because I really don’t need them after I’m dead; what do I care?

Whether there’d be much to salvage from my diseased body is a different story, altogether.

Apologies on the curtness of this one, but there’s really not a lot to say.