Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 8

They arrived in Flagstaff and were waiting at Buffalo Wild Wings for Dave to join them and lead them back to his house. Tom had ordered a giant batch of wings to share and a beer for himself. Joshua's pain medication negated his ability to imbibe in an alcoholic beverage and instead he was staring, slightly sullenly, at a cola. Tom was chattering away with the cute little waitress; a normal behavior. He loved flirting with any girl that crossed his path. Joshua just zoned out and stared at one of the big screens displaying Sportscenter. He was not sure what the show was going on about as the pain medication made zoning out a blissful art form. At least he was not drooling. Another benefit he received was not feeling insecure about his cast and his seriously bruised face.

As he slowly thought about the benefits of pain medication, his line of sight was blocked. He refocused his eyes with a little effort and saw it was Dave standing there. Dave had a smile on his face that was framed by a mess of dark curls. He looked like someone who had no use for a comb; anyone could tell those curls would not submit to being told how to lay. Dave's mouth began moving and Joshua applied all his attention to focusing on what he was saying. His fondness for the pain medication began to wane as he found it difficult to shit gears. He of course was able to focus for "You look like crap Josh!" He offered a grimace before offering a reply.

"My appearance will slowly get better. You are stuck with how you look." Dave laughed in response and took a seat. Then grabbed Tom's beer and drank down half of it before launching into the wings. Tom tried to protest but Dave simply smiled at Tom with a sauce covered grin before downing the rest of the beer. Tom gave him an evil glare then ordered a couple more beers.

"So what is the deal about the accident? You in trouble? Do we need to wait until that is cleared up?" Dave asked between shoveling wings in his mouth.

"Court is set for a month from now. As long as Joshua can remain in contact with me everything that needs to get done can be figured out. Keep me up to date and stay in contact and we can make it work." Tom replied.

"No problem. We will definitely keep you in the loop. You gonna stay the night at least?" Dave asked.

"Yeah but I will be out of here early tomorrow. I have to get back to the office and get ready for trial for a doozy of a case on Monday."

"Thanks again for getting me out of jail and on to Flagstaff. I hope I didn't cause too much trouble." Joshua said.

Tom just nodded and smiled at the waitress as she approached with the beers.

The Second Podcast

I am still working out how best to display the podcasts.

March 21st podcast.mp3

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21st Podcast

I did a few book reviews and a few movie reviews on this installment.

Check out this spot to get to the podcast:

You can also go to Last.FM and find me there. You won't even need to download anything! You can check out both podcasts there but the latest one is called March 21st Podcast. Here is my page at Last.FM:

This spot should lso have a link but so far is not showing it much to my irritation.

Looking for some feedback! I am thinking of switching blog providers and will let you know if I do so.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 7

Joshua had two cracked ribs, his left leg and ankle were broken, sore wrists, a concussion, an aching back, 2 black eyes, a broken nose, a lot of minor cuts, a pretty decent one above his eye, a slightly ticked farmer complaining about his irrigation ditch and a few feet of barb wire fence, and a cop who was telling him he might face a possible DUI charge. He kept hoping his smashed car would fall through the roof and smash the officer. Since that was not likely to happen, he utilized his right not to incriminate himself and sat there silently. A call had been made to a lawyer friend earlier. His friend lived in California, the state where Joshua was and the state he had almost made it out of before falling asleep behind the wheel and flipping his car into an irrigation ditch. His friend had told him to request a toxicology report be taken by the hospital staff and not to say anything at all to anyone about what happend or didn't happen. He was to refer all questions to his friend, who was now his lawyer.

The police man sighed with frustration as he realized Joshua wasn't talking. It was an overly dramatic sigh as far as Joshua was concerned. Close as he could tell, other then the cop's irritation over people exercising their rights, the man had nothing to be exasperated about. It wasn't as if the officer was in a hospital bed, in pain, stranded far away from home and his intended destination, and feeling delayed grief over his missing wife. Nope, that described Joshua, not the cop. Yet this guy sighed like Joshua was unreasonable for keeping his mouth shut instead of helping him make his case. Joshua wasn't going to open his mouth and get himself hooked with a stickable charge, especially a false one. Why couldn't this man just go away?

Then, like magic, the officer did. He promised, as he left, to be available when Joshua "felt like telling the truth." Instead, Joshua called for the nurse. He was starting to feel the injuries again and just wanted to sleep.

-------------- A day later ------------------------

"Josh! You look like someone dragged you through Hades, face first." Tom said in greeting. Tom had come down from San Diego to pick Josh up and get him the rest of the way to Flagstaff. He had apparently stopped at a few places first, one of which had been the police station to get a copy of the incident report. Tom was taking his job as lawyer seriously. He had managed to keep Josh out of jail when he got released from the hospital and was preparing a case to fight the DUI charge. He told Josh not to worry about it too much as he would be kept in the loop as the case progressed. He had also advised Joshua to not head out of reasonable range for the next month as he might be needed back here.

"Tom. It looks like you slimed your way to the top! Check out that tailored business suit!" He said in a mocking response. This was the first smile Joshua had given in days. It was good to see Tom. It was even better to be leaving the hospital, and soon the town.

"C'mon! You know me I'm too manly for suits off the rack! Let's get you out of here!" Tom grabbed the wheel chair reigns from the orderly and wheeled Joshua towards the exit. "Will get something to eat before we hit the road. This town has a great little burger place. I stop here every time I pass within an hour's drive of here...." Joshua just nodded his assent as they headed out of the hospital.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interacting While Sick

I have a cold and I have had a cold since Wednesday of last week (although it really hit full force Thursday evening). I have made 7 days with this stupid thing and by all reports this particular cold is a lingerer. The first few days were terrible. I was achy and exhausted but I went and did stuff I needed to do. I had no real option. It was in these first few days of my cold that I had an encounter that made me wonder about people's lack of tact and compassion. Let me explain. I was waiting in an area where a group would congregate and a meeting of some sort would take place (I am being vague on purpose). I set myself as far away from people as possible and told the people I usually sit by "Hey I have a cold so keep a protective bubble around yourself." Anyway this was before most of these people showed. I was the third person there. I had a few sneezes that I had tissues all prepared for, if I coughed I did so in a tissue. Luckily it was not the coughing part of the cold yet, that is happening now. I was just sneezy which is always heaviest in the beginning of the cold for me. Anyway I sneezed while I was getting a tissue out of one of those small packs (I had 4 small packs in my pocket). The sneeze was real loud and powerful but combined with the plastic of the tissue pack it was also high pitched. You see I had been trying to get the tissue out in preparation when, without sufficient warning, a sneeze hit me. I covered my face in the attempt to keep my germs away from those around me. The 2 people made fun of the high pitched sneeze as I went to make sure I had nothing on me and wash my hands. I came back to the room and sat down. From then on I had tissues out of the package way before I even needed them, in fact I think I sneezed like once more. That had sucked, I had learned a lesson. Anyway, like ten minutes later, while I was staring at a text message on my phone (I was really early) one of the 2 people asked "Wait.... are you sick?"

To which I said "Yeah." As honesty is always an option for any question. Plus I was way too sick to offer a clever remark.

What do you think her response was? Here is a multiple choice selection.

A. Oh, that sucks. Hope you get better soon.
B. Maybe you could see about skipping the meeting and going home early.
C. Stay away from me!
D. Well, you better cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze!
E. I love the Mets!

Maybe this will help you guess the right answer. My response was a stunned smile.... the kind where you have no response because what the person said was not only self centered but also amazingly insulting. The response was D.... and good try to those that missed it. It wasn't C because although it is self centered it is not really terribly insulting. It wasn't A or B because there was no chance of compassion causing me to silently stew over this for days. It wasn't E because I have yet to meet a Mets fan, and as a result, I have concluded that they don't in fact exist. It's like saying you know Bigfoot...

Back to the response. Here is why it is insulting. First of all I am not a 5 year old. Second of all part of the reason she asked was because I have a tissue in my hand and had just used it to cover my mouth for a half cough (meaning the kind where you cough like once but it isn't the full fledged forceful cough nor is it a coughing fit). Third, she saw me sneeze in to my hand and on a package of pocket tissues (and mocked me afterward). I am doing everything I can to keep the germs near me. I am not sitting close to her. I am also covering my mouth and nose because I am, in fact, an adult. So I smiled because I was hoping she was teasing me and also because I was stunned by her comment (knowing instinctively that she was not kidding).

Of course the smile got me a lecture as to why it was paramount that she avoid getting a cold. She mistook my stunned smile as a sarcastic reply. I was on cough medicine! I am not all that good at sarcasm when most of my brain is in the clouds! I was just going through the steps I usually take on a Friday night, perhaps I should have plead to skip the meeting or something but I did not even think of it until nearly three days later. That is what I mean, cough syrup puts me in cruise control. I almost need someone saying "Hey you look terrible. Go home and go to bed and come back for Monday's meeting." To which I would say "OK" and my cruise control would take me to the car and get me home. Later I would think "Why didn't I think of that?" Anyway this girl had very good reasons to want to avoid getting sick. Of course, who doesn't? Being sick sucks and is very inconvenient. What other reason do you need? It wasn't like I had went over and licked her or that I had even sat near her. I avoid people when I am sick as much as possible. Just ask the people I felt I could cancel with... the volunteer gigs. I have only went to the places I had to go since Thursday afternoon; the paying job and school. I emailed and contacted the various volunteer gigs and canceled my scheduled time for the day. I don't want to get people sick. I do admit this particular girl has a lot going on in the next month or two that requires her to not be sick. More so then the average person but why be rude about it? Why assume I am an idiot or a cretin? Or a maroon!? (thank you Bugs Bunny)

Maybe I am totally blowing this out of proportion, I am a little whiny because of this stupid cold. However, my whininess doesn't mean that I am not right. The whole thing could have been handled better. The best part is this particular person is a bit of a hypocrite. She dragged her dumb butt there when she was sick a month before. What is with the attitude when I do the same thing? Did I give you attitude? No all I said was "That sucks. Get better soon." You know the saying about kicking someone while there down? I just don't get it. Were is Miss Manners when I need her? Where the heck have all the "polishing schools" gone??? We could all really use them!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 6

He was not real sure what woke him but he wished it hadn't. Pain erupted through out his body all at once and he let out a strangled gasp. Only one eye opened the other eye felt like it was taped down, he felt like that should worry him but the pain kept that worry from actually reaching him. He used his one eye to look around and he deduced the world was skewed. He was in his car and it wasn't very comfortable the roof was too close, the front window was smashed and the dash seemed to be lower then it normally sat. Of course he was not so sure about that as he soon realized both of his arms were hanging up near his head. He moved his arm a little and let out a moan again as still more pain awakened in his body. He was upside down, this was bad. He started to feel panic. He called out for his wife "SARAH!"

"Hey! This guy's alive! Get those Jaws of Life over here now!" A gravelly authoritative voice barked out from somewhere above him. Every single word had brought a new shot of pain through his head but the meaning of the words drifted through. He tried to move but his body seemed pinned. A head appeared in the triangle of the bottom of his window, or would that be the top when the car is upside down? "Don't try to move. You've been here, unconscious and upside down for quite a while. I doubt your body will work correctly even if you aren't broken. Give us a few more minutes and we will get ya out of there."

The man who was talking to Joshua had a grey mustache and tired eyes. He had a brown uniform with a sparkly badge and his words had a soft drawl to them. The officer was able to portray a sense of compassion and strength. Joshua felt himself relax, as much as anyone hanging upside down in a car for hours could. He knew he could trust the man to get him out of here and to a hospital. The hydraulic tools were there suddenly and the men in uniform made quick work of the door, they placed a neck brace on him and got him out as gently and as quickly as they could. Within moments he was in the ambulance being secured. The EMT made quick work of getting him all plugged in and scanned as he asked questions. Name, Address and simple things like that. Joshua answered the questions but he did so slowly as if he was having to recall things from far away. Apparently Joshua had a decent cut above his left eye because the EMT spent a lot of time examining his forehead and carefully cleaning the area up. Joshua realized why the eye wouldn't open. The blood from the cut had stuck it shut, he hoped that was the only reason. The EMT was calm and efficient even amidst the jarring motion of the vehicle as it left the dirt road headed to the hospital.

Joshua was having a hard time connecting why he had been in his car upside down and where he was to how his life was usually running. He could not quite grasp what was missing and it bothered him. Overall he felt like something was supposed to be happening and felt overwhelmed with frustration that he was strapped to a gurney and heading to a hospital. The why he was frustrated and what was so urgent was where he kept stumbling. He had no idea. The lack of any short term memory was also frustrating for him. He then wondered where Sarah was and hoped she was OK. A thrill of panic went through him and he once again tried to move. The restraints held him in place and the EMT told him to relax. He wanted to tell the guy that he couldn't relax. He wanted to tell the guy that he needed to call his wife but something held his tongue. Some little voice told him not to mention Sarah again and he listened but he was not sure why. The ride continued but the EMT was not as frantic in his movements. Joshua assumed that he must be in stable enough condition and the Hospital must be a ways off. His guess was right, the ride took forever.

My First Podcast

Hey this is the first podcast and I hope it works. Give it a try.

If you see nothing to click it is due to technical difficulties on my part.

Try this link....

It is an mp3 and should play on itunes and other music players on your computer. So download it and it should play on any audio player you use.

Let me know what you think and if it works....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Rambling Review of Synecdoche, New York

Do you ever go see a movie people recommend to you that you just.... Ya know? It's not that you didn't like it.... well it's kinda that you didn't like it. You also kinda liked parts of it but overall it left you feeling odd, disconnected and unsure of what you just paid for? This movie was kind of like the "free drink" in Vegas for gamblers.... those drinks always cost me like 40 bucks! Those "free drinks" are rarely ever worth it.

Without further ado..... here is my review of Synecdoche, New York.

I am not sure what to make of what I just saw. There are a lot of factors we need to consider here. I had an extremely long (but good) day, after a hard night of nearly restless sleep. Then why did I go? Well I joined a Meetup group ( based around seeing films. I had not been to an event yet mainly due to schedule conflicts or lack of interest; for example they had a showing of some movie staring Renee Zellwegger and I would almost rather have 12 root canals on the same day then see her in another freaking movie. (I loathe her!) Anyway this one was a Meetup I could make and carried the bonus of several movie selections (albeit all possible selections were not really my speed). When I got home from teaching today, I melted in to my recliner and almost never made it back up. By the time I got to the theater the movie was about to start. I watched the movie and actually ordered food and a couple pints (Living Room Theaters). I am not sure who the Meetup people were nor was I sure if we met up after the movie or not. I felt a little insecure asking people that I thought might be part of the group. Either way I had decided I was seeing a movie this day and had, as a result, not went to any other movie prior to this one. So I watched a movie mainly because I really wanted to see a movie.

I guess I should review the movie now.... it's just that the movie left me not feeling like doing anything. How weird is it to laugh while slowly falling into a depressive state. This movie seems to carry the moniker of "Tragicomedy" in the other reviews I have read. For some odd reason I kept expecting the movie to start making sense or have a good ending but it just kept on trucking along being a hugely surreal downer. The surrealness is really where the humor comes in, most of the humor stemmed from the odd flow. I think people enjoyed the oddness of the movie but why make such a downer? Really?

I am done attempting to review this movie..... I just don't get it. It was not my favorite. I could definitely have lived without ever watching it. As far as the actors.... they seemed good and I bought the surrealness of their characters. The story was often confusing (due to the main character's loose hold on time) and it all started to seem long about 30 minutes before it ended. I think really it was the last 45 minutes that killed the movie for me. Until then I was kind of thinking the movie might still do something. It never does by the way.... My recommendation? See it if you like odd and off the wall flicks. Especially if you are not as bothered by downers. Don't see the movie if you want to laugh and have a good time....

Monday, March 02, 2009

Business Week Thinks I Am Unhappy.... :(

Today was going splendidly. I woke up and read a little, for pleasure and not for school related reasons. I sat there reading this marginally decent book (by choice) and sipped coffee. I was relaxed and in a pretty decent mood. Soon it was time for me to get my rear in gear. I packed the car with equipment for today's science lesson and headed out to Gresham. Once out there I treated myself to something I hadn't had in years, El Pollo Loco. There are only two up this way and neither of them are close enough to be a real dining possibility. However, it is close to where I work on Mondays and so I decided to eat there instead of at home today. I enjoyed my tasty lunch while mentally preparing for my science lesson. I still had plenty of time so I put a larger dent in the book I was reading. 15 minutes before it was time to be at the school, I left for the school, set up the lesson and taught the lesson. It went well. There were some squirrelly kids but overall they enjoyed their time and learned a few things. Then I got in my car and I heard distressing news. I was shocked, I was scared, and I was confused.

On the radio I heard a distressing story. Business Week in all their awesomeness has decided that of all the locales in the US that Portlanders are the most emotionally damaged. Apparently my general good feeling was merely a false positive.... I was unhappy. The news was hard to take. I sat in my car and drove home under a cloud of despair.... on a sunny day. It was tragic.... I am currently learning how hard typing from a fetal position is. It is freaking tough!

The worst thing about this was thinking of all the fake smiles and false happiness I encountered the last few months. I was so glad Business Week set me straight.... the hotline I am calling has me on hold. I figured, since the all knowing people at Business Week not only told me that I live in the land of unhappiness but also included a national suicide hotline number in the story, that the least I could do was call! I was not sure what to do when I reached a person unfortunately, having just become aware of my eternal loss of happy. I am not sure how to act as Business Week did not really clearly tell me how I was feeling so I am not sure how to confess my depression. I am going to write out the conversation for you guys and hope it helps fellow sad Portlandians!

Hello Sad People Hotline!
Yeah... uh hi.
Hello, can I have your name?
It's Mike. What's yours?
Joan of Arc
You were on the Ark? Like Noah's?
No sir. Can you tell me the nature of your problem?
I was kind of hoping you could help me out with that.
Sir, this is not a place to call for jokes...
No! Wait let me explain! I live in Portland!
Portland! Holy HEYSEUSS! Why didn't you say so!? You are very valuable to society, things will get better! The sun will come out soon! You should take a happy vacation! Call your friends and Family! Stay on the phone and talk! Keep your head out of the oven! Don't do it! Unload the weapon! Put the pills down! Call 911! OH my! WHY AREN'T YOU SAYING ANYTHING TO ME MARK??!!?!?!
Uh... it's actually Mike. Not Mark.
Mark! Thank goodness you're still there! I want you to listen to me! Just because Portland is rainy is not a reason for you to die! Please don't do it!
OK. Do what exactly? You see I am confused...
Of course! It is very confusing but you have a lot to give to society! DON'T DO IT! YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR!!!!
Hey Ms. Of Arc? Can I tell you my thinking here? Or do you think constantly interrupting a Portlander on such a day as this is good practice?
I would love to listen. Go ahead and start talking Mark.
My name isn't Mark but OK. So I was feeling pretty good today...
Sure! Lot's of people feel a roller coaster of emotions during hard times! Hang in there Mark!
Uh... yeah. About that. I still feel pretty good but I heard that Portland is the Unhappiest City and I was worried that I didn't fit in here. I feel like I am "trapped in a glass case of emotion" right now but they are pretty happy emotions. I like Portland and would hate to be kicked out, because I insist on having a positive demeanor, to a place like Delaware that had no cities on this list. Which I don't see as being possible considering how lame Delaware sounds... I mean has anyone actually ever admitted to being from Delaware? Of course it could be worse and I could be in New Mexico.... I hate New Mexico. I was looking at this list and I definitely agree with some of the names on the list.... try as they might people who live in Tucson, AZ know Tucson sucks. Jacksonville, FL? Boo! Sacramento? Yeah... NEXT! Las Vegas? Being stuck there for more then a weekend is a depressing thought. But Portland I just don't get, and where the heck are the Delaware and New Mexico cities?
I completely agree that Portland seems out of place on that list Mark.... but it was a Business Week survey! I mean we are talking Business Week!
I know. I know. So that is where you come in. Obviously I am in denial here so what should I do?
Take it one day at a time Mark. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there ya have... the facts of life. In fact, why don't you call back in every day through this tough period in your life. Everyday at this time, OK?
Gee Joan! You are so freaking helpful! Thank goodness for Business Week's awesome reporting! With out them I would never have met someone who knew Noah! Bye! -click-

PSA - Depression and suicide are not funny things.... If you are having a rough time make a call to a hotline or a caring friend. We really do want you to hang in there :) THE MORE YOU KNOW!

PS on the PSA - I am making fun of Business Week in this post... I have yet to meet anyone who actually subscribes to this rag. Those who do must be pretty boring people. What kind of a business article focuses on the 20 Unhappiest Cities??? Stupid. Blow it out your a... elbow Business Week!