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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Death of a Dream

As you know, my love of Wipeout is matched only by my love of my wife and Cool Ranch Doritos.

Sorry Country, Mom, and apple pie...

So you can imagine my happiness when Tru TV started showing old episodes of Wipeout on Friday nights. As I sat, happily watching the chaos with my Tylenol margarita, I felt a twinge. My broken elbow was sore and I had to readjust the pillow it was resting on. Then, after watching a geeky dude faceplant on a platform off a rope swing and a professional stunt lady bounce off the big red balls, I felt another twinge. 

In your spine, right? You felt the twinge in your spine! NOPE!

This time in my heart. :( Sigh....

You see, I have always dreamed of being on a game show. In high school, I was on Reach for the Top on local TV. This is a Canadian general knowledge quiz show for students, which probably should have been called Virgin Nerd Alert. I've taken the online test for Jeopardy a few times, even getting to an interview, but I haven't made it to the show. I tried out for ESPN's Stump the Schwab,as well as a science game show, and no luck on those.

But Wipeout... You have to be enthusiastic, say "Wooo!" and fall down in a dynamic way. I can do this! 

But, cruel irony, my ability to fall spectacularly has now cost me a chance to be on the show. Even after my elbow heals all the way, I can't imagine slamming it off of the platforms and obstacles of the Wipeout Zone. I can't even roll over on it in bed to hit the snooze button. How am I going to get past the sweeper arms? The time has now come to put away childish things, etc.

This is exactly what Martin Luther King was talking about when he wrote about a dream deferred! (Because I am just like MLK. Aside from being white. And never discriminated against . And never getting arrested for my beliefs. And never being spied on by the government and assassinated. Aside from all that, not getting to be on Wipeout is EXACTLY like the March on Washington. Exactly.)

Like the former little league star, sitting on his porch and sipping a beer while thinking about what might have been had the scouts only seen his game winning double in high school, I will watch each face plant and think...what if?

What if? Wipeout. What if?  SIGH..... :(   Oh , Wipeout, what we could have done.
I would bounce off those balls and laugh my ass off at home watching myself later. But it's not meant to be.

That could have been me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eating Healthy

It was my birthday last week. I LIVED through this year! Yay me! (And you know from reading about my accident it made things a lot  harder than I would have liked.)

To celebrate my birthday, ( it's not far from my Doctor's appointment- because remember I broke my arm in Massachussetts) my lovely wife and I made the trip out to West Springfield, MA and made a pilgrimage to The Big E. The Eastern States Exposition is like a state fair, but it's for six states. Each state has an exhibition hall to show off native products, exhibits , native drinks and foods.  All of New England converges on Central Massachusetts to show off their giant pumpkins, apples, horses, and new ways to fry things.

And there's a Parade, with Clydesdales- the BUDWISER Clydesdales.

Corn dogs! Bacon CANDY! bacon bits. 

Now, I have not been to the Texas State Fair to see the legendary Fried Food Capital of Texas, if not the world, but I would have to say that The Big E compares favorably. And by "favorably," I mean "will favorably increase your cholesterol count by 50 points."

At a state fair, or similar gustatory extravaganza, you need to pace yourself. A bite here, a bite there. Tell yourself that you're walking a lot so the calories don't count, or all the fried food will just slide right on through. You know, lie. Don't even pretend like you're going to be healthy about it. Just sit back and enjoy.


Here is a list of everything we (shared -1/2 the calories) ate on that glorious day:

  • Fried Jelly Beans Awesome! Like zeppoli with little jelly pockets inside.
  • Pierogi Just like Mom used to make, only with kielbasa in them. 
  • Root Beer Float w/ Black Raspberry Ice Cream Delectable!
  • Clam Fritters From Rhode Island! Clams coated in a corn meal batter and fried. Kind of like corn dogs, but nautical!
  • Del's Frozen Lemonade  The Pride of Rhode Island!
  • Loaded Baked Potato  The Pride of Maine! Loaded here means butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and bacon bits. 
  • Cabot Cheddar & Horseradish Cheese The Pride of Vermont!( ok we sampled some of their cheese - but we bought some to take home)FREE
  • Cranberry Wine Tart and tasty!(also tiny sample cups for FREE)
  • Kettle Corn
  • MAPLE Kettle Corn (FREE Samples)
  • MAPLE Cream Candy( a great bargain at 1$ and we shared a tiny cone that's all you need to be satisfied with Mapley goodness for an hour or two.   
  • MAPLE Cotton Candy (Did you know that New England makes a lot of maple syrup? They do!) This smiley man who looked like Santa kept shoving big samples at us when we walked by- go to the New Hampshire building- he was super nice! the other houses were a big stingy with theirs. :( So reward NH's generous and good attitude :) Yay New Hampshire!
  • Watermelon Beer (From Opa Opa Brewery) Very refresshing and served with a wedge of watermelon floating in the beer.( we are lightweights when it comes to consuming beer- but they should just sell beer covered watermelon- we could have eaten lots of that!)
  • Frozen Apple Cider
  • Apple Cider Donut  (Did you know that New England grows a lot of apples? They do!)
These are the things we were tempted to eat, but were either too full, too nervous, or lacking in cash to try so we did not try:
Mmmm...Fried Cheese....
  • Fried Kool-Aid  The wife hates Cherry flavoring (artificial), which was the flavor they had. People at the fair said it tasted like a fruit punch donut. 
  • Fried Cheese Curds Having spent my college years in Canada, I have a soft (pudgy) spot for poutine. This is a concoction of french fries and cheese curds smothered in gravy. If you are very drunk, then this is very tasty and helps defeat the alcohol in your system by making you focus more on your indigestion. In New Jersey, they serve a variant called Disco Fries replacing the curds with shredded mozzeralla. The curds are denser and chewier and provide a more pleasing mouth feel, in my opinion. The fried curds were tempting, but I feared something like an acid flashback were I to eat them.
  • Wild Game Burgers  One stand offered gator burgers, deer, ostrich, and other kinds of game. We didn't see these till after we had gorged ourselves, or might have tried one. Remember, turkey burgers and bison burgers are fairly common these days, but once upon a time those who ate them were looked at with scorn and derision. Will gator snake burgers come to Mickey D's one day?
  • Deep Fried Vegetables  The loneliest stand at the fair. You'll never hear this exchange: "Mommy, can we have some fried broccoli?" "No dear. Now eat your fried dough."
  • Red Velvet Funnel Cake  Looked delicious, but it was a massive disc of dough and I was too strung out on sugar to consider it.
  • Fried Butter  Not just a joke Oprah invented. It's real. 
  • The Pork Sandwich at the Pork Palace- looked awesome but, just too full!
  • WICKED WHOOPIE pies- my wife said we should get one for my birthday cake but we will get one next time- they make hand sized and birthday cake size- they had every flavor you could think of and one confetti swirl psychedelic colored manhole cover sized one that looked a little frightening, but beautifully so. 
  • Fry bread of many kinds.
  • Apple pie with cheese- so many appley things to try- we shouldn't have missed this one. They also had a apple pie with a cheddar crust!
  • Lobster Rolls- too expensive but they looked outstanding!
  • 40 donuts for 5.00 -  fresh off the belt. Just too full.
Many hours and calories later,after walking 80 miles or so, we headed home. Because of the broken elbow, I can't drive our stick shift car. (I wear this fancy sling during the day, and at night I am in a hard cast.) The only time I have been glad of not being able to drive, was the ride home. My lovely wife drove while I settled into a lovely food coma. I dreamt of happy, healthy singing fruits dancing in the woods, and then being lowered into a deep fryer and covered with cheese and sugar. 

I like happy dreams. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giuliana Rancic



Quit Whining! YOU have MONEY- do something with it besides whining. These are not unsolvable problems! DO SOMETHING with your life besides complain!

Being home from the wilds of the the Berkshires (and while nursing my elbow) I get to watch a lot of TV. (It's funny how quiet the country gets at night without the hum of the TV in the background.)

Somehow I found myself watching Giuliana & Bill. My wife FORCED me. She taped my eyeballs open and FORCED ME!  It is the most boring " show" I have ever seen. I watched a chunk of Andy Warhol's Empire in college. For those unfamiliar, it is a 24 hour single shot of the Empire State Building. This is more interesting and shows more personality than the nattering of Giuliana and Bill.

To the blissfuly unaware : Giuliana Rancic is an ubiquitous E! channel personality. She is an E! news anchor. In practice, this means her job requires her to be stick thin like a coathanger and look like a cross between a pretty frog and an afghan hound and read teleprompter copy in a pleasant voice.
She wears silly outfits and complains a lot on her show. She pops up on other E! shows and collects a fat paycheck for being her oddly thin and frog/hound self.

Somehow that equates to giving her and her annoying husband who can't stop travelling or constructing things a reality TV show. We are sometimes actually watching paint dry on the show. Sometimes his extreme homemakeover tribute shows are so boring , even the other people working on the house can't wait for them to finish and they are getting paid for it.

See, Giuliana's really busy! She's trying to keep her career going by being on 12 TV shows! And her husband doesn't always understand! And they're trying to have a baby! But they can't stay in the same city at the same time . Andzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

I'm working on my anger. But damn! I have never seen anyone complain more about less. An actual episode was all about her and her husband bickering about his 40th birthday party. ("I don't want one!" "I'm going to throw you one!") Then they had a marriage crippling fight about whether they should open their new restaurant in Chicago (husband's choice after he just decided he wanted to move to LA and then changed his mind after he sold their house out from under then during their YEAR OF FUN- whatever the hell that is) or LA (Where they live).

When people talk about "White People Problems," this is what they mean.
These people are too rich to be this boring. Entitled people who are worried about trivial things that have easy solutions. You work too much? Do one less TV show!  You don't like living in LA, stay in Fucking Chicago!
You want a baby? Go adopt one! You have money! Just stop @^#*()&# whining!

I know there are hundreds of channels to fill with programming.
Why give these people or the Kardashians any more money. They aren't going to do anything worthwhile with it except annoy us some more! Can't we just put another Law & Order on in their place?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Elbow - Part III

After the fall and the surgery, I am back and ensconsed in my Manhattan lair. We now come to What We Have Learned. It's a very special blog today.

- If you want more drugs in the ER, be nice! Don't yell. I got lots of morphine and percosets by politely asking. The woman next to me had a panic attack and then got verbally abusive to the nurses, so you could see why they were less than enthusiastic about giving her more meds.
But you asked so nicely! 

- It is very hard to brush your teeth with your left hand. Not that it's just difficult, but it just feels wrong. Try it! Brush your teeth left handed and it feels like the dentist in Marathon Man is poking around in there. The same goes for just about every other bathroom task you can imagine. And buttoning your pants! Between the one hand and the pain killer constipation, you will feel very bloated. Can't... button... these... jeans!

- Hospital remotes don't go backwards. They are designed to be simple, so the weak and frail can handle them. There is one button, so if you want to change channels during commercials, you'd better be fast on the trigger. (Tip: In order to go back quickly, turn the tv off and then back on. You'll usually reset back to channel 2)

- Human flesh starts to turn zombie grey after not washing for a few days. I haven't had a full shower since the accident, and I've had to resort to sponge baths. When I suggested showering the nurse ( one of the boy ones) cringed like I had suggested pouring hot oil on myself. There are places on my arms that were hard to reach on my one handed sponge baths, and after a few days, my wife was worried that I was becoming undead .

I am independant and while it's nice to be sponged, it also feels WRONG to have my wife do it. I was raised in Canada, I don't like to be a bother. My wife is making me write that I didn't ASK to be bathed I just did it myself - like a big boy. Because I wasn't washing my hand (which is actually because I'm not using it and washing both hands is hard since the surgery), I was turning grey.

I washed my hands and I was back to the land of the living. No more zombie husband. (Sigh)

- On the bright side, I can get caught up on all that TV I've been missing. Seriously, do you know how hard I've worked to avoid Lost for the last seven years? Now I can get disappointed in one long weekend!

- There really is a limit to how much Law & Order/CSI/NCIS/Closer/Burn Notice the human body can tolerate before it starts to reject it like a bad kidney transplant. (And that makes Jerry Orbachs the equivalent of the AB blood type. He's the universal donor.)

- I can also see how easy it could be to allow yourself to slide all the way into sloth.  I've only been doing this a week - I am usually a very active person.
It's hard to get washed and dressed with one arm, so eventually you don't bother. Besides, you aren't going anywhere, so why worry? There are DVDs and reality TV shows to be watched. Food can be delivered. Before you know it, they have to knock out a wall of your apartment to airlift you out of a mound of peanut butter jars.( my wife is not going to let this happen so don't worry about me).

- On the plus side, people are more willing to help you move things. And I don't even own a van! But I wouldn't be able to do what Buffalo bill does- I REALLY only CAN use one arm.

(Unfortunately, the landlord wouldn't install the pit like I asked. We have plenty of room for one!)

- And, finally, it's wonderful to be married to someone who genuinely loves you, in spite of you basically just taking up space for the last week. We've spent the whole week in close quarters with no problems. So, if you get hurt and are housebound and you and your spouse share a small apartment, you will know that you love each other, really love each other.

(At least until the zombie apocalypse, then you are on your own if the other decides your brains are tasty.)

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Elbow - Part II

When last we parted, my wife and I had had our bedside reunion, late at night. Awww...


And the next day Bryan Cranston cut into my elbow.

Well, more Malcolm in the Middle Bryan Cranston.

In between, I was introduced to The Block.

That's what it felt like.

Let's continue!

My surgery was scheduled for about 11 AM. I didn't know this until I was wheeled away to surgery while my wife was getting breakfast. I was rolled into the pre-op room and was poked and ekg'd and otherwise prepped. The anesthesiologist came by and said he was going to give me a block. A block is where the nerves in a part of your body are deadened. I got an ultrasound on my shoulder and got to see the little nerve ganglions on the monitor as a needle dove towards them. 

In a few minutes, it felt like I had slept on my arm for about four days. I kept expecting the wake up tingle, but that never came. It was a dead weight from the shoulder down. 

My wife had finally been told how to get to me, and arrive just as my doctor did.  He looked an awful lot like Bryan Cranston, especially from season 4 of Malcolm in the Middle. For some reason, I found this very reassuring. 

Relax. I got this.

He explained the procedure. A metal band was going to be wrapped around the ulna to keep the pieces in place. All the loose shards would be taken out. If the radial head was too badly damaged, it would be replaced with an artificial one that resembled a spool. They had a whole kit - like a ratchet set - of the different sized joints. He went off to prep and said he would see me soon and my wife went off to the waiting room.

After about an hour, I was wheeled back to my bedroom.

Apparently, the ratchet set was missing a few sockets. Rather than open me up and discover the piece he needed was the one that was missing, he postponed operating until the missing pieces could be couriered in from Boston. (Yay planning ahead!) 

So, back to my room for an afternoon of percoset and Law & Order: SVU. (And an irritated wife, since no one had told her( two hours of worrying for nothing) the operation had been delayed .)

After a day of morphine and fentanyl, I was put on the less intense and less addictive percoset. Two pills every 4-6 hours was enough to take the edge off, but not enough to put me on a floating cloud of liquid gold. It was enough to make me stop pooping.

"Feed me!"
"No! I have nothing to give you!"

Apparently, constipation is a common side effect of pain killers. Despite a breakfast of raisin bran and coffee, five minutes of grunting and sweating  would produce only a small ploop.


While percoset did not knock me out, it would make me drowsy. Which made the 4 hour block of L&O:SVU perfect viewing. I could nod off during one scene, wake up during a different show, and dive right back into it.

I will dramatize:


"You're just gonna let that freak walk out?"
"We can't hold him on a hunch, Stabler!"
Zzzzzzz.....
"The suspect removed all of his pubic hair with electrolysis."
Zzzzzzz....
"We found three different semen types in his rectum."
Zzzzzzz....
"She was your daughter! She trusted you!"
"I love my daughter, detective. In my own way."
Zzzzzzz... Hun? Time for surgery?

Does it say something about me and the American Media Complex that I consume gritty crime dramas like comfort food. Maybe that CHUN-CHUN sound is relaxing. I could try and think of something, but I'm too busy watching the 48 hr 2 day SVU marathon on the USA & cloo networks. (UPDATE: It would appear that even I have reached my limit at around hour 16, and approximately 10,000 angry glowers from Chris Meloni.)

Back to surgery, where I was prepped. (Again.) This time, I was wheeled into surgery promptly. After joking with the anesthesiologist about using Jack Daniels or Screech (Newfies represent!) instead of drugs, I promptly fell asleep...

...and woke up in recovery. I tried to get up because I had to pee, but the mean nurse wouldn't let me and told me to lie down. She gave me a pee bottle, but it is HARD to pee uphill and not make a mess. I tried to release the bed guard so I could at least stand up, but the mean nurse was not having any of it. Finally, I peed and presented the trophy to the nurse. Enjoy it!

Bryan Cranston came by to tell me about the surgery. It had gone very well, and he had replaced my radial head since the original bones were too damaged. I am now a cyborg. Kill all humans...


My lovely wife was waiting for me in the room, giggling. When Bryan Cranston talked to her, he told her that I had tried to run away when I woke up.( I do not remember this but they say it's true) I explained that I was trying to pee. I had some more percoset and went to sleep. Where I dreamed of the cast of Malcolm in the middle being interrogated by Ice-T and Mariska Hargitay.

You think we're joking? This is no joking matter.

We conclude tomorrow, with the things we've learned.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ancestry.com



Hey Ancestry.com.

You seem to be doing pretty good, so I don't want to tell you how to run your business.

But... Maybe you don't want to run ads during an episode of Law & Order where the big reveal is "incest baby?"

Just sayin'.

Sadly this was the case on an episode of L&O: Criminal Intent yesterday. Vincent D'Onofrio had just realized that a child's birth date had meant the husband was out of town and that the stepmom had seduced the stepson, who was the real father.

Fade out:

"This episode is brought to you by Ancestry.com. Discover your family's story today!"

I can jut see that testimonial.

"I had always wondered why our family had receding hairlines and close set eyes. So I went on Ancestry.com and I found court records showing that Grammy and Grampy had been arrested for incest! Now I spend my days in the attic drinking and crying. Thanks, Ancestry.com!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Elbow

I'm writing this one handed.

No, that is not a euphemism for masturbation. My Mom reads this.

No, I mean this:



Yes, my elbow decided I was working too hard and took an unscheduled break by catching the brunt of the impact when a scaffold I was on tipped over and dropped me to the ground.

The best thing about working with teens? Being the calm voice of reason while others are freaking out. "I think my elbow is broken. Call 911 and get me some ice. From the office. First, call the ambulance. Calm down, I'm going to be OK."

The best thing about working in a rural area? Volunteer first responders! The first guy on the scene said I looked familiar. "Wait, I know! I changed your oil last year!"

The other best thing? The nearest ambulance is 8 miles away. When the paramedics arrived, they had to figure out a path for the stretcher to get to the stage. The floor was crowded with equipment during the load out. I said I could walk, but they didn't want me to since I could have had back or head injuries. After sliding me onto a back board and neck collar, they dragged me over to the stretcher by the edge of the stage. (While commenting about how I needed to lose weight. Thanks guys!) They got me on the gurney, when I said it felt like I was sliding off. Just then, the gurney dropped down about a foot, because it wasn't locked in place.


Another crack first response squad.

Once I was loaded on to the ambulance, things were a lot smoother. Especially once I got some Fentanyl! Wheee! The 30 mile drive went by quite fast.

The hospital ER was extremely busy for a Tuesday afternoon. I had bed 18H. H is for hallway, meaning I got parked in the hall outside of a bedspace. Which meant I got moved around everytime someone got moved in or out of a bedspace. 

You know those parking puzzles? Where you have to move twenty cars around in a parking lot to free a taxi from the back of the lot. Kind of like that. 

But with me.

Still, the staff here were great to me. I was brought in at 1 pm, given a once over by the ER head, got two sets of x-rays, a CT scan, and a splint, and I was admitted to a room by 6 pm. Lisa & Lee, my ER nurses, were great. They kept me good and doped up (Morphine! Whee!) and relatively comfortable.

The ER orthopedics took a look at my x-rays and congratulated me on how well I had shattered it. I have learned a lot more about my elbow than I had ever cared to know. Your elbow has three bones. The humerus is the bone that goes from your shoulder to you elbow. (Mine was fine.) The ulna in the cap bone in the elbow. (Shattered!) The radia goes from the wrist to the elbow, and my radia head was badly broken, to the point where I might need an artificial one. Time for an operation!

Once I found this out, it was time to call my lovely, saint of a wife.

Oops. Half a bar of cell service in the ER. I could text though. Told her a 140 character version of my condition. After several frantic texts and attempted phone calls, she got a hold of someone at the hospital who told her I broke a collarbone. (What?) After more frantic texts and attempted phone calls, she had got a hold of my parents and was then on her way to see me. 

Now, a sidebar about my wife's travels. She got my text in Staten Island, NY. Our car was in the Berkshires. I was in Springfield, MA. She got my news at 2:30 pm, and headed right for Amtrak at Penn Station. 

This was in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, so there were a lot of trees and power lines down throughout the area. Especially around the train tracks. Amtrak knew this, and knew that there was no train service to Springfield. Did they tell this to my wife? No. Instead, they sent her to Yonkers, where she was told to go back to Penn Station and wait till Wednesday.

Let's all pause to give a hearty "Fuck You" to Amtrak. You owe us at least $50 in cab fares and tickets.

Hey Amtrak! Ride this rail!

And let's give a big thanks to Greyhound Peter Pan for getting my wife out to Springfield without any problems. 

So, finally, at 1 am, after over 10 hours of travel in a state of panic about my arm, she got to the hospital. Where I gave her a one armed hug.

(UPDATE: My wife would like me to add that she was on a film set as an extra when I called her. She had to leave and the production company refused to pay her for the 6 hours she had already spent on set. So, again, a hearty fuck you to the "Untitled Drake Doremus Project.")

This post has gotten much longer than I thought it would, so I'll stop here for tonight. Tune in tomorrow for tales of hospital life, Law & Order, and an unexpected side effect of pain killers.