Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sundays in the Park with Marv

I love Sundays. Most of the time, as a homeowner, I'm forced into outdoor work and that's ok, as my body really won't let me do much more than one of these projects a week. Monday is my 'day of rest'.

So, speaking of projects, let's take a look at the projects I've done in the past. Most of these are indoors.

Honey-Do Construction is a showplace of all the projects I did in the past years. Almost the entire house. It's best if you read it from bottom up, as the first project is at the bottom. In the future, we plan to renovate the front bath(DONE!), and possibly paint the bedroom, and (if money exists at that time) take out the aging carpet in the master bedroom.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Idol Hands are the Devils Playground..or something like that...

Do you watch Idol? Or any of the Idol like shows? (Pop Star, Australian Idol, Bangladesh Idol...etc) I told myself I wasn't going to watch the first year, and I didn't. But something happened in the 2nd year, and I ended up catching the tryouts. I was hooked.

There is something about the absolutely horrible singer trying out for a competition of this stature which makes me want to watch. The Proverbial Train Wrech scenario could be used here. My wife and I both watch, we look at each other and utter those same words uttered world wide: What makes them think they should enter? (An oh my lord there have been some BAD BAD singers!)

Worse than that, I find myself blaming NOT the singers who are horrid and try out. But I blame those friends who hear their friend sing and say encouragingly "Oh yeah, you should try out for Idol!" With friends like those, who needs idol!

You'd think that after 7 and now in the middle of the 8th season, that these well meaning friends would be honest. "Oh, honey, you sing like an elephant in heat! No, dear, that's not a good thing. No, really, not a good thing. Stay home, watch the show, but don't try out. No, I don't care what outfit, your singing is not good enough." But no. What we continue to get are people whose voice could break wood and that wide eyed stare of shock when the judges laugh.

And speaking of "You'd think..." You'd think that after these years, people would KNOW how to audition! I swear (and have on many occasions) I could coach someone to stardom in what to do on Idol. ESPECIALLY for the auditions!
1.) Choose a good song, one in your range. Do NOT sing your own song. I don't care if you spent 3 years writing the epic thing, sing something the judges know.
2.) Dress appropriately. No bikinis, no wild outfits. Dress like you normally would to go to a concert. (Yeah, makes you think doesn't it?)
3.) Don't dance. You can move a bit to the music, but don't dance.
4.) Did I say that enough? Do NOT Dance. I don't care of you make MC Hammer look like a piker, do not attempt any sort of dance.
5.) When it's over, it's over. Stop singing. Do NOT sing another song. No, Tatiana, stop singing, I mean it, stop. Now.
6.) Don't yell, threaten or scream at the judges. They DO know what they're doing. Ok, so Paula may have a bit of trouble stringing words together, but these judges have what you don't have: experience. On the way out, don't say "You've not heard the last of me!" unless you are trying to get into the clip real.

See? Good voice, well chosen song and do it right.
But, even with all this, I know I'll see it all again this coming January when the thing starts again. (For the last time? who knows.....)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TV SUCKS - But it's more than that...

Currently, TV SUCKS. Now, before you start to see this as one of those "Television is a vast wasteland" sort of guys, there is a lot I like on TV but it's far and few between. I mean, come on, how many MORE police dramas do we need? How many more "oh so clever" comedies so obviously written by guys who are typing with one hand and applying pimple cream with the other do we need to sandwich in between the few shows with worthwhile ideas?? How stupid do they expect us to be?

Now, let's also take a look at the real problem. Back when I was a kid (yeah yeah yeah, I know, I'm old and TV was just invented back then....blah blah blah) So anyway, bcak when I was a kid, you could depend on a full year of a show. The fall was the BIG FALL PREVIEWS of new shows. New ideas all the time. The shows would go on Hiatus (read: vacation) during the month of December allowing the ever present "Christmas Special" to air. Once the show gave us it's 20-22 episode run for the season, we got the dreaded summer of reruns. But that was ok because you got a chance to catch those episodes you missed the first time around. The point however, is that the same show was on say every Friday at 9, without fail. It was a neat idea when they came up with the "Summer Replacement" show, but again, it was on every week, until the new shows (and returning favorites) came along in the Fall.

These days I find that I am forced to keep both the TIVO guide AND my laptop handy to track what's on and when. Some shows have new episodes at eight and then the same episode again at eleven. Some seasons start in February and there are other shows that don't start until June or even July. You don't really know. You have to spend your time cruising the channels or the internet looking for news on when the show will be back, IF it will be back and WHEN it will be back. Without the internet, I have no idea how I would do it.

AND, if that weren't enough, some of these shows only have 6 - 10 episode seasons. Just when you're getting used to the show at a particular time, they announce the "Season finale!" and you're wondering where the year went. Wait, what year? Its only been 6 weeks! Ok, what about the re-runs. I can see some of what I may have missed the first time around...No No Nannette! Along comes some other new show, loosely based on a premise voiced in another show on another channel about 50 years ago.

Now, let's suppose you actually find a show you like. Uh oh, seems that all the other shows you like are on at the EXACT SAME TIME. It's like they PLANNED it this way. They knew that you want to watch both shows, so they plan it this way to play into your TIVO and VCR (are any of them around any more?) in order to record all the shows you enjoy. Even the Video Recorder Companies are aware of this as most new models will record shows on two different channels (when they can make one that will record on 10 channels at once, call me).

Ok, so I'm about done with my rant on this. After all it's nearly time for...uh...what is on tonight, I can't seem to remember. Time to hit the TV-guide.com and plan for the night.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Conspiracy Theory - The Bums Rush


For one reason or another, when you reach a certain age, Doctors become enthralled with your bum. I'm using the English "Bum" because the real descriptive I want to put here would be sort of degrading and spoil the intent of this missive. It's that inner part of your bum that they are so interested in really, which we won't discuss too much, but suffice to say it's not the cute fleshy part that we've all come to know and love.

I discovered this quite by accident when I started this job I'm currently working. This job came with complete medical benefits and thus I was off for my first complete physical in over 10 years. (yeah, I know, but let's not dwell on that, shall we?) On the same day, this same doctor has scheduled me for a consultation with another doctor who's going to perform a wondrous procedure called a colonoscopy. Oh just the thought brings shivers, but let's get that physical out of the way. 

Now, besides the usual breathing for the stethoscope (aka: sphygmomanometer, for those of you who like to learn a new word each day) and the usual "Fill this up" and the painful and scary "drawing of the blood" (oh my that's another story in itself) - the doctor decided that he has to...well, "probe" the area aforementioned. Probe is a nice word for what they do.

The most unnerving sound in the world at this point is that particular sound that a rubber glove makes as it is snapped into place and the cold quiet sound of the clear slippery goo being applied to his skilled finger tips while you 'drop trou.'  (Notes for the future: When you're bent over the table it's hard to come up with snappy patter while he's delving into the inner reaches of the nether regions.) Thankfully it's over quite quick, I'm cleaned up and off to 'consult' with the other doctor. This is where my story takes a rather odd turn.

Never mind the fact that I just had myself probed by my main doctor, it seems THIS doctor wants to probe me also! What is it with these guys that want to do this to my backside? And they wonder why we all end up so repressed! I'm overtaken by a sense of the ridiculous, and my head is getting light. The giddiness I'm feeling is an overwhelming sense of the absurd as for the second time in one day, I find my pants at my ankles and, 'snaaap!' goes the rubber glove, and squish goes the clear lube and in just seconds, I'm being probed once again. The giddiness takes over and I actually say out loud, "Well, at least you could buy me a drink first." He is not amused.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this whole experience, besides noticing that every doctor I've met recently wants to "probe me" is the fact that once it was over, the doctor immediately left the room. One left so quickly that he forgot to leave me something with which to clean up! (Thank GOD those gowns are made of such thin and absorbent paper!) And where were they going in such a hurry anyway? Ostensibly, it's off to another 'probing', but in reality, I'm thinking it may be just that they meet in the back halls and compare notes and technique.

Regardless, it may at least explain why I'm so darned reluctant to go see the Dentist. I'm not really sure what he means when he says "Open wide."

After a week or so of waiting nervously, I'm now ready for the colonoscopy.

Now for those that are not 'in the know' a colonoscopy is basically where the Doctor along with an incredible number of assistants, anesthesiologists, nurses and technical people (maybe even a couple of homeless guys they pull off the street) run a camera up your butt and take pictures along the way. Sounds like a drive in the park, eh? Not on your life!

Oh, but it all starts the night before, in the privacy of your own home...and privy. As anyone who has had a colonoscopy will tell you , there is this noxious liquid you must drink in order to 'clense' your insides. There are several options in this realm and the option I got to take, was three little bottles of a lovely cherry colored (and supposedly cherry flavored) mixture which in actuality tasted like the soles of an incontinent leper. (Which now that I think on it, is an insult to incontinent lepers everywhere - for which I apologize.) I spent the better part of the evening on the toilet and went through a good 6 rolls of bathroom tissue. (One wonders why the Leper-Sole-Juice doesn't come with a few dozen rolls of tissue in the same package. It may give one an idea of the fun evening in store.) In addition, I am seriously considering suggesting to Charmin that they add that 'lotion' stuff to the bathroom tissue that they put in facial tissue. Seriously.

When I get to the Doctor's there is a light air, an informality which belies the interest of the earnest people working there. They keep things professional and there are very few jokes. (More the pity, this situation calls for more jokes.) The only hard part (for me) was the IV. (Me and needles, not a good combo…) After they give you that flattering gown (you know the one, where it's open in the back and every one can see the scenic route they're about to take) and make you lie down on the gurney, along comes a talented guy who runs a needle into your arm. Ouch. (Now, for those of you like me, who hate needles, this guy was pretty good. Minor pain, and quick taping made it very easy - try not to look at the drops of blood.)

At this point, I have to wait. (Apparently there is a overabundance of people wishing to get pictures of their colon this morning.) I also had fun playing with the staff. I've been exercising a lot lately and my pulse rate at rest is very low, like about 50. If I relax and meditate I can lower it even lower. So I would meditate and lower my pulse until the monitor alarm went off and they came in to check. At which point it would raise up. They'd leave. Repeat as necessary until they figured it out.(As I said before, they need more jokes.)

 So I'm laying there and in comes the crew. Doctor, nurses and the anesthesiologist (maybe a priest and a rabbi would have been nice, too). Yeah, that's right, I get to sleep through the photo session with a dose of some major drugs while an entire entourage gets to snap a few tour photos.

They hook up the plungers and in what seems like only moments they are waking me to tell me it's ok, everything went well. A quick and relatively easy procedure – if you forget about the needles. So, why am I telling you all this? Besides the fact of my conspiracy theory about Doctors wanting to probe my backside? (Which is true, by the way. I tell you this to warn you always walk into the Doctor’s office with your butt to the wall!) 

The real reason is of course: Drugs. It's a story of a guy who can get loopy on one beer being given a major amount of powerful prescription drugs WHICH they tell you afterward, will stay in your system for up to 24 hours. Most of the following I've gleaned from my own fuzzy memories and from my wife, who loves to tell these stories like they are from some old Abbott and Costello routine. I can’t tell whether she’s laughing at me, with me or asking me to apologize yet again. Either way she laughs all the way along.

The first thing that they did while I was laying there staring up at the ceiling, was to give me a drink. “What would you like?” they ask.
"uhhhhhh" (College graduate here.)
"We have diet coke or sprite..?"
"uhhhhhh" (Geez, what a great conversationalist!)
"How about diet?"
"uhhhhhh ohhhh kayyy, diet" - now for the next five minutes I repeat the word Diet like it's a foreign word for "bathroom" and I'm learning a new language. "DIE -ehhhht", "DIEEEEEEE UUUUUT" While I'm doing this, for some strange reason, my hand can't feel the can they put in it and, without realizing it, I keep squeezing harder and harder until it crushes completely, at which point they pry the can from my grip and make me set it down. I’m still saying “Dye ehhhhht” as perhaps my brain has undergone a pre-frontal lobotomy and only this one word is left.

The Doctor comes over to tell me that the procedure went well and shakes my hand. This is when I look at him and say loud and clear "It was nice being probed by you." Those that know me will tell you emphatically I do NOT whisper. 4 years of College Voice Lessons has given me a permanent Stage voice. Everyone in ear shot covers their grin and turns away. The doctor simply shakes his head and extracts his hand from my grip so it won't join the can in the crusher.

I have no idea how I got dressed, but they say I dressed myself. They also say they heard me fall down three times. (at which point I curse “Diet!”) If I did, no one came in to help. Amazingly, my clothes are all on properly, and they are ready to release me to my wife. Then they showed me a set of photos they took inside my colon (yeah, I have them at home) and are about to explain that I’m quite healthy when I exclaim (again, loud and clear for everyone in the office to hear, "Oh good! I can make Christmas Cards out of this one!" The woman behind the counter gives my wife a look - my wife smiles in return. One of those long suffering smiles that only wives can give or read. We continue.

Now comes the part which is interesting and which makes the story all worthwhile. They explain to both me and my wife that the drugs will stick around for 24 hours and they are so powerful that you can't drive a car, operate heavy machinery and not to make any life altering decisions. Not to make any life altering decisions? 24 Hours? Who's going to take me seriously when I'm in this condition anyway? After my screaming this out loud (honestly, I thought I was just speaking normally) they calmed me down and decided that I would be escorted out in a wheelchair. The first person ever to be forced to take a wheel chair out of a colonoscopy. (Such an honor, but no certificate for the wall…rats….) We're not done yet. Just a couple more drug induced episodes.

At the office, they told us to go get something to eat (I'd been fasting for nearly 36 hours, except for a delightfully short spate of leper-sole-juice) and we went to our favorite Mexican Restaurant. (The irony of going to a Mexican restaurant after a colonoscopy is not lost on me, but let's not go there.) On the way in, I couldn't get my foot higher than the curb. It was like I had forgotten how to lift it up, even though I had just gotten in and out of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. I kept hitting it as I stepped forward like Tim Conway doing his old man routine bumping my foot into the curb with each try. I kept exclaiming 'Dang this is hard -(bump)-...hard - (bump) - ....real hard..-(bump)..." My wife says that she almost had to lift me completely up on the curb and she nearly thought we should just go home. We made it into the restaurant with a minimum of problems and even got to a table without me accosting the other patrons.

When we were ordering, I wanted some of their cheese sauce and kept saying to the waitress "I want a BARD of cheese...you know a bard? BAAARRRRRDDD? a BARD of cheeeeese saaaaaauce?" Apparently I couldn't get my mouth to say "bowl". On the way out, I leaned over the counter and said to the owner, "I love you man, now can I have a beer?" and then laughed like I had just told the joke of the century. They didn't think that was too funny either. We're not sure they will let us in the next time we go.

When I got home, I fell asleep for 6 hours. I woke up to the sunset and I felt great. I had no recollections of the really silly things I had said and to this day my wife will look at me and say "It was nice being probed by you." after which she laughs loud and long.