Tag Archives: Health

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Now that I’ve shaken off some of the soreness with aspirin and sleep, I’m able to write once again. Yesterday was eight hours of sweat and work, as I moved a trusted friend and his fiancée out from their apartment to a more affordable living space. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ve hauled friends and family to and fro more than I can successfully count. If I were to guess, I think the number of times would be in the upper 20s by now. Not many non-professionals can say they’ve done that. I consider it a matter of virtue, and something that should be done more often by others. However, my life is not the only string in the harp.

It has, though, shown me the limitations of my body. I had to stop and rest a few times. Even though I’ve been in places with more flights, the stairs were a killer. No less than 30 times did I climb them, and that was with a team. I’m not as young as I once was. Maybe from my experiences, I could say a few things to people who are keen on moving in the future:

– If you have any considerable amount of books (e.g. more than one tall book case), take time in advance to pack them in lidded boxes. I consider “in advance” about two to three weeks. You can’t read the whole bookcase before then, and life most likely would dictate that you won’t read more than a couple. These are very heavy, but can be quickly transported on an appliance dolly if packed correctly.

– Closely related to the point above, if you’re having volunteered work come and help DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THAT DAY TO START PACKING. I cannot emphasize that enough. If you have a very busy life, start packing months in advance bit by bit. Nothing bogs down moving day like having little to move in the morning while people are fresh. By the time 5:00pm rolls around, people will be tired whether they started at 9:00am or noon. If you’re paying for the labor, then that’s a different story.

– Have plenty of garbage bags on hand. Why? Because you’ll inevitably be throwing something out, whether it be your leftovers in the refrigerator or the college essays you’ve tucked in the corner “for reference.”

– Add at least two trips to the number of hauls to what you think you might need. Over the course of my work, people often underestimate their hauling capacity versus the amount of possessions they have. Closely related to the first sentence, consider the possibility it might take you more than one day to move. If you can, which has happened for me on more than one occasion, start moving non-essential items in before the bulk of the possessions are to be moved. Cleaners, towels, and other housekeeping items will also come in very handy at the new location. Why not have them waiting when you get there?

The over-arching point to take away from this is don’t have your help walking in on an unprepared house the day you’re supposed to move. Nothing starts off a clusterjam like shooting from the hip. You will always run into obstacles moving possessions and will need all the energy you can muster to solve those problems when moving. It’s also a tip of the hat to your help that they’re working on the problems you simply cannot do alone. That’s why you need their help in the first place. The more you can focus their assistance on those problems, I guarantee you the smoother it will be.

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The Ugly Duckling or the Silly Goose

With all of my superior grace, I still managed to spill a glass of red wine on my home laptop. After I set it out to dry, it seems the wireless NIC has taken a powder. It’s now residing at the computer repair store with no ETA of being fixed. That puts a little bit of a crimp in my blogging. As one can plainly see, I do have alternatives but they’re not the most convenient.

Smeagol Finds His True Precious

MY PRECIOUS! (Photo credit: Cole Edmonson)

I thought I would use this time to put together all of the observations I couldn’t make in to a full post on their own. It’s a hodgepodge, which bites at my sense of continuity, but it keeps me writing. I like to write, as a painter loves to paint. Inspiration is a trixie hobbit though, and it often has my precious. Yessss.

The Tobacco Werewolf

As you may or may not be able to make out in my Gravatar, I am a smoker. A dirty, dirty smoker to some. I own it for the most part, but have been fighting to get away from lighting up. Have you ever felt weird, when someone says they love smoking? Well, prepare to be uncomfortable again! I am one of those people.

Talbot in wolf form, as portrayed by Lon Chane...

Give me a menthol! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a tactile pleasure, I think. The weight, the draw, the gesture are almost a part of my personality. That is what makes me a tobacco werewolf. After a few drinks, a bad day at the office, or a friend lighting I turn into a mad beast (internally, my mind is Lon Chaney, Jr.). I simply have to have one. Of the two general types of addictions, this is probably categorized as a mostly psychological. My mind is more powerful than my body and has the terrible ability to rationalize tobacco.

In recent months, I have attempted alternative measures to assuage this monster. Gum, vapor, cold turkey, and now the patch have been added to my seemingly futile attempts to curb smoking. Admittedly, last night I fell off the wagon and got back up this afternoon. I don’t ask for anyone’s sympathy or whatnot. I’m not the type to beg, plead, or otherwise excuse the activity. It just is, and I accept the consequences of those actions. How many people can say they do that?

Private Eyes Are Watching You

In another candid camera moment, local authorities are now storing your day-to-day travels just in case you might be doing something illegal. I file this one under the increasingly growing “guilty until proven innocent” section. However, there still are people convinced otherwise. Why worry, if one’s not doing anything illegal? Right? Here’s a question for you. Do you really understand the law? Have you taken the time to read all the Federal, state, and local regulations? If you have, you’d realize the massive amounts of text it provides. This voluminous subject covers a lot of ground, stated in simplicity. With such verbiage is also the idea of interpretation. You see, situations occur when two people take the same law and read it differently. In other words, you may think you’re the model citizen obeying every sort of law imaginable. Authorities may think otherwise. Guess who’s going to win without a lengthy battle in court? My money’s on the law enforcement.

For example, say you were to take a marvelous vacation to the great state of Maine. What’s one food for which Maine is exalted? Lobsters. I love lobster just as much as the next seafood enthusiast, but do you know the regulations on lobsters? If Maine is anything like the other East coast states, trawlers will vend their food as soon as they get off the boat. North Carolina shrimpers will set up shop with a cooler and a tent just to capture the allure of freshness.

Being these fisherman are in the business, and you’re not, they are aware of the v-notched lobsters they caught and sell one to you. You start driving away blissfully thinking of how you’ll prepare the little devil. Suddenly, you’re pulled over by Maine’s finest a few miles later. “There was a boat that just came in with an illegal lobster catch. Our cameras caught your car driving away from the docks, and we are asking to search your car.” This is a request you really, really don’t want to deny. Authorities don’t like noncompliance, and will make your life Hell if you don’t.

They find your dinner, and now you’re slapped with $600 in fines for having illegal lobster in your car. It’s the same with stolen property. Even if you’re not aware of the illegality of the stolen merchandise, you are still held culpable for the purchase. You are the one currently holding illegal goods. Possession is 9/10 of the law.

Should you really have to go through all of this, because you did something innocuous? You’re not trafficking lobster. You’re not some criminal kingpin. You just wanted dinner. You’re not going to do it again. It’s a stupid lobster! How many of these obscure rules are there?! In short, you are held to a very difficult standard as a layman in which compliance has become treacherous. That is why you should be concerned about surveillance like this while “you’re not doing anything wrong.”

To Post or Not to Post

I’ve been thinking about the lack of security of the Internet and my books. It started with a concern raised by frommtvtomommy, and snowballed into a Thursday night drinking session. I like writing, and love to share. That’s not to say I would mind receiving some income from what I create, or more importantly, prevent someone making money off of me. It’s not my focal point, but I’m not so sure now it should be ignored. While I will take my current story to a conclusion, there are three other stories I’ve started that haven’t been discussed in detail. One of them I haven’t mentioned anything about until now. I’m not sure how I could share them without helping someone else profit at my expense.

With that, it’s time to make the doughnuts. More importantly, it’s time to eat the doughnuts! Have a great rest of your weekend everyone!

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A Fool and His Money

I fell into a bit of a depressed state last night, and subsequently fell off the tobacco wagon. I know that’s the reason I smoke. The mishmash of thoughts in my head weigh heavily on my mind. We’re all told to appreciate what we have and this and that and the other thing, but that’s all focused on possessions and tangible items. When can we finally admit that possessions are not the key to happiness? When can we admit that tangible belongings aren’t the UNIVERSAL SOLUTION to all life’s problems? Why is it so common for us to spit out trite comments like “you don’t have it so bad,” or “you’re better off than others”? If something’s wrong, and it’s not tied to the physical world, who cares if I have a ramen-noodle budget or sporting a gold-plated toilet? That’s not part of the solution! This is not even touching the notion of Americans convincing themselves royalty, when they’re actually serfs.

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. ~ John Steinbeck

All discussion on politics thrown out, the notion that people aren’t even assessing their “fortune” correctly is why the comments shouldn’t even enter into equation in the first place. After observing many people under many different situations, I’m quite certain that wealth isn’t supposed to be a race.

I have, for some time, felt cornered inside my head of which I can’t think straight. Outside observers never seem to understand the power of perception, and armchair quarterback on any given Sunday. It’s seriously unnecessary to do so. I’ve found counsel best worked out through the first person. The roles of others should be there to interact and support, not otherwise coach or opine on the situation. The key though is interacting.

It has become apparent that the connectivity of humans is a real and serious barrier to healthy living. Why would most people call striking up a conversation with a stranger “breaking the ice”? Why do I read articles about being social describing the recipient being “just as nervous” as the speaker? In our race for education and knowledge we have ignored the power of healthy social interaction between our peers. See what now forms? Ice. Walls and barriers that isolate and ignore people who need to be a part of the world around them.

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

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The Individual’s Journey in a Social Jungle

Humans have been labeled as social creatures. I’m not one to deny that. I know all too well of the desires to connect and share. There are some people willing to shut themselves off to everything and everyone. That has been a struggle for a long time. Turmoil. Frustration. Sadness. Loss of virtue, hope, and affability. All of which I’ve experienced over decades. The double-edge sword slices and dices to this day with Dr. Strangelove syndrome.

Over the last few days, I’ve had to take a real hard look at what I am, or rather, what I want to be. We’ve all heard the pop philosophy “be yourself.” We’ve also heard all sorts of motivational phases like “always improve.” Being yourself is the accepting of yourself, including your faults. There would be no need to improve, if you accepted your faults.

What occurred to me is that it’s not all supposed to be taken in by one person. One person should not have all of these philosophies taken into consideration. It isn’t a melting pot. It’s a blood type. There are several, but some people can only use a specific type.

With that in mind, I must ask myself: what’s my social philosophy? Until now, I thought it a subcategory of morality or operating philosophies. It isn’t. I’m of the opinion that it must be it’s own, separate philosophy in regards to how an individual connects with others. For such a green though, I haven’t committed myself to any resolution thus far. I would love to find a moment of clarity in the near future about it. Suffice it to say, the rough draft version is “do what you can.”

There are a lot of people out there who just aren’t the right kind of people for me. Yes, that doesn’t automatically make them bad people, but does put some serious roadblocks in my way.

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I met a man of which I knew from grade school at a bar tonight. It was the typical smiles, handshakes, and light conversation. Location, occupation, that sort of thing. As I finally found my chance to go to the bar, he ended up following me. He wanted to buy me a drink. I refused. He persisted, and I was persistent as well. Finally, he said a question which I was never expecting. He said, “do you loathe me?”

I really wasn’t sure what to say at such a question. He repeated himself, and followed up with “…because I was a piece of shit to you in grade school.” He was, of course, right on the money. The aggregate of the school body was something I was trying to put behind me. After having a not-so-great week, this was the last thing I wanted dredged up on my plate. I paid for my drink, and told him we were kids. I’ve tried to put that all behind me. After that, I excused myself to the best of my ability, and went into an empty room.

About five minutes later, he enters the room and asks if he may speak with me. I obliged, but didn’t like where it was going. He proceeded to apologize for his cruelty, and the reasons why. I told him in a very calm way that I understood his reasons, and that I wasn’t completely blameless.

After the apology, he told me he had sought everyone he had been cruel to and gave them an apology. He thought he was done, but until that night, he had forgotten about me. That’s  par for the course with my character. Out of sight and out of mind.

I would be prone to think that the typical response would be gratitude. So, I thanked him for his apology and said I hoped it helps him along his path in life. However, it deeply upset me. He knew it. I knew he knew it, and that upset me even further. I was angry that he had brought all of this back to the forefront after 25+ years. I was angry that he was seeking absolution right then and there. I was angry that I couldn’t do anything about it. I was most angry, though, for not being satisfied. It didn’t help in the slightest.

Over the past few years, I was beginning to think that some recognition of what I endured for over a decade would feel like release or relief in some way. There was none. I still felt as hollow as the days I entered that public institution. I felt no euphoria; I was pissed I was wrong.

He finally said he would leave me alone for the night, and that brought some comfort. That didn’t, however, re-roll all that was unraveled before me. The entire night, I could not stop thinking about it. People who usually see me as genial or polite must have thought something was wrong with me. They would be right. Paranoia crept in, as a gaggle of unidentified women trampled in to the room, looked at my book, heard the jazz, laughed, and walked out. My blood boiled. Most people don’t change.

The infuriating part is: I can’t think any better of the ones that do.

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