Lots of work for nothing.

Last night I spent a lot of time destroying my dad’s old diaries. These weren’t really interesting diaries, but mostly the daily weather. Included with the weather were reports of his ailing health, mainly headaches and backaches, and it was really pretty depressing. All I could think is that some hipster would find them and use them in an awful art exhibit and I just couldn’t have that. So I spent three or four hours tearing apart these little calendar books so I could feed them into my shredder.

Tonight I replaced my standing desk with a nearly identical standing desk that’s slightly more sturdy. That was a four hour process of taking all the monitors and monitor arms off the desk, clearing off all the stuff, disassembling the desk, carrying the heavy-ass old desk downstairs, carrying the almost as heavy new desk upstairs, assembling the new desk, and putting everything back onto my desk including monitor arms, etc. I’ve been trying to get to sleep by 10:30 and it’s already 11:30. I’m not done yet.

The old desk had a heavy top with lighter legs. This new desk top isn’t as heavy, but the legs are much heavier. I think I like the new one better already. It still wobbles a bit but not nearly as much. This is a very expensive experiment I’m conducting but at least I can use the desk somewhere else. I always need more bench space in the basement.

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R.I.P. “Ed” Wynne

I’ve been doing a lot of drinking this weekend and a lot of the reason is to forget my troubles and to avoid thinking about the memorial service this weekend for a friend and co-worker, Ed Wynne. He’s a guy who convinced me to take up golf for a while. But even though the memorial service is over, I’m still sad about the death of a guy who could always make me laugh with his stories about his years on the road as a sound engineer for rock bands.

I’m not sure why some people’s deaths hit me harder than others. I hadn’t talked to Ed much in the last few years. I guess I feel like Ed just should’ve had more time. He was about to retire and I heard he bought himself a motor home. Sounds like a pretty crummy time for your health to give out on you.

I can’t tell Ed’s stories because they’re Ed’s stories, but I do remember riding with him to lunch. Any suspect driving would get him to yell, “Death stalks the highway!” Anytime we’d get lost he’d call for his wife, “JoAnn! I’m lost! Come find me!” But really, his stories were the best.

So here’s to Ed Wynne and JoAnn Pullen. I’m really sorry to see you go Ed and I hope JoAnn is doing well.

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Just to be clear, I’m allergic to soy.

I went to the allergist and they poked me with a bunch of pins. The pins all made me itchy as hell and they said I was quite allergic to grass, trees, something-I-can’t-remember, and soy. Oh, and even better, I was sick for a week with the kind of ailment where you can’t leave the house because you can’t get that far from the bathroom without getting nervous. Fortunately, I’m feeling better at the moment but I probably just jinxed myself by saying that.

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It just keeps getting better.

Guess who was in the ER again today? I know you’re not supposed to go to the ER if you have hives, but I felt like I was having a little trouble breathing. I’m guessing I wasn’t supposed to try to wait for it to go away then walk across the street to Safeway to buy generic Benadryl to dry swallow. But I did, and then drove home and walked to the hospital, hoping things would get better. I still felt a little wheezy when I got then and the Benadryl kicked in while I was sitting in the lobby for an hour. And the doc looked at me and said, “You’ve really got hives.”

I got an EpiPen prescription for my trouble but all the pharmacies were closed at 6:30PM and so I just have to hope whatever it was isn’t in my regular diet, just something special in Peet’s Coffee’s Soy Lattes. I sure hope it’s not soy in general. What kind of Asian would I be if I had to avoid soy?

So here we go, another sign I’m getting old: weird allergies.

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Now what?

Today, FINALLY, my legs only ache a little and I was able to sit and stand without feeling too bad. I haven’t taken any Tylenol for two days and that means the drinking can soon commence.

But feeling better also means my common sense is waning and I’m watching Judo videos again. I gave away most of my books already and I think I have to give away the rest of the apparel and accoutrement so I’m not tempted to try something that could impair my already waning mental faculties.

I’ve really painted myself into a corner. This started almost a year ago: an OKCupid date that led to getting “dumped” (or whatever you call it when someone no longer returns any attempts at contacting them) that then led to a strong desire to shake things up. That meant quitting the gym I’d been going to for years (5-7? I never remember) and starting Judo, which led to a head injury (and back injury or whatever I’ve been suffering for three weeks), which put me in my current position where I’m supposed to limit myself to WALKING for exercise for six months.

I remember the day this all started too, since it was Zwickelmania where the breweries open up their backrooms. (I could have been good and loaded on that first date.) This year Zwickelmania is scheduled for St. Valentine’s day which means no one wants to go with me. I thought that meant more beer for me, but it turns out that I’m going to a funeral that day instead. Zwickelmania for NOBODY.

I’d cry myself to sleep if I cared at all but I think I’ll just keep researching sit/stand desks for my home office. Good office furniture is impossible to get on a onesie-twosie basis.

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Nowhere to go but down.

I just spent two days lying around. Not by choice, but because my hamstrings were cramping up from spending 13 hours in an ER gurney and 14 hours in a hospital bed. Somehow that weird semi-sitting-up position isn’t great for hip flexors and, for me, cramped up my upper hamstrings. I got a massage yesterday and the LMT told me that she had a similar problem because of her bent-over position. That weird hip hinge, whether standing or lying down, seems to be hard on the psoas and hip flexors.

I was in the ER overnight for observation due to a headache that usually resolves on its own but they found something they wanted to keep an eye on. That meant checking on me every few hours but little else. Of course every few hours also happened in the middle of the night. I’m now restricted to nothing more strenuous than walking or swimming for six months.

As you can expect, that means I have to find another hobby, as I spent a lot of time in the second half of the previous year either doing or thinking about Judo. Honestly, though, an old man with old man reflexes is probably going to have a hard time taking up something like Judo if he didn’t do it in his youth. At least the falling part. Boy howdy did I enjoy it while I could. And I’m probably not in top physical condition for recovery. Who knows what my medications are doing to me?

So if you see somebody walking around looking lost, it might be me. I’m good at it.

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What’s Grand Central Baking doing?

There’s a bakery in Portland that makes artisan breads (or, in other words, more expensive than normal bread) and they also have a chain of cafes that serve coffee, sandwiches, pastries, and bread. As you’d figure. I was annoyed when I found out that they were closing the cafe closest to me because, well, it’s the one closest to me. My mom likes going, too.

They’re closing to expand the actual baking operation, but I complained on twitter (since I know they’re on there) and they told me to go to the next closest store. Unfortunately, that also requires getting on the freeway and making three lane changes on a busy bridge. That’s three lane changes each way.

Then I read their notice and they said they really want to be in a “walkable neighborhood”. That’s just great but most of the people I see on Sunday morning (when I usually go) are elderly like my mom and are most likely driving to a bakery.

And today when I went I heard rumors that the cafe staff isn’t getting relocated, but are all being laid off.

I know the owners of Grand Central are supposed to be nice (my sister went to school with a couple of them and they’re friends of her friends) but this just sounds like a series of dick moves.

And, honestly, I am glad that I have the time to have something so minor annoy me but seriously, can’t someone NOT be a douchebag?

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Be careful what you wish for.

Earlier this year I actually went on a date. Several to be honest, but my after four dates she just disappeared. Fortunately she didn’t feel the need to tell me about my failings like other women did after three or four dates and I was spared some of my usual humiliation.

Even after just four dates I was more despondent than normal and this made me think that I needed to change things around in my life. Nothing drastic as I’m too old for too much drama and also require a stable job with health insurance to stay on the right side of the turf, but something had to change. So I quit the gym that I’d been going to five times a week for years and deleted everyone from my Facebook account though this hurt nobody but myself.

I joined 24-hour Fitness and found that to be a crowded mess. I also applied for entry to an expensive athletic club in my neighborhood, one that I swore I’d never join (just being on the wait list cost me several thousand dollars). I also ended up working some late hours because I had nowhere else to go. I also joined a local Judo club, where I got hurt and had to decide whether the risk was worth it.

Oddly enough, things worked out pretty well. I’m taking Judo slowly because I’m an injury-prone old man, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I even earned a promotion that I’m working at living up to and I’m also trying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, something I was avoiding for years. Working longer hours paid off and things are going smoothly at work (as smoothly as can be expected). And I made it onto the wait-list and in a couple of years I may be able to pay a lot of money to see what the inside of the expensive athletic club looks like.

At least things are a little different, kind of interesting, and looking up. I hope your year was just as good (those four people who might read this.)

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Apple is torturing me.

Both of you who read my nonsense know that I buy a new iPhone every time it comes out. I’ve got a stack of old iPhones starting with the iPhone 2. And being extra-stupid I’ve been buying the extra-expensive unlocked phones so I can use them when I go to Japan. Unfortunately, the last phone that I own that has the Japanese Technical Regulations Conformity Certification is the iPhone 4s. So my iPhone 5 and 5s aren’t really legal to use in Japan and I have no idea if a 6+ will be any different. In any case I’ll end up carrying a stack of phones again; one with my regular US phone SIM card, one with a rented Japanese SIM card from Softbank so I can call Japanese numbers without dialing internationally, and one with a data-only SIM card so I can get wireless data for cheaper.

I am waiting for my new, ridiculously large iPhone 6+ to put into that rotation and Apple is messing with me again. First they sent an email saying it would arrive Monday October 6th. Then they said Thursday the 2nd. Then there’s an email switching it back to Monday the 6th. Tonight I’ve not only gotten a cryptic email saying my package didn’t make the flight is delayed until Tuesday the 7th but I just got another one that said it’s coming tomorrow afternoon.

Did I mention that I’m back at judo? Even bought a 10’ x 5’ roll-out mat to use to practice something or another at home. Probably practicing how to sit seiza for more than a minute at a time. I did try some ukemi on it and it’s actually kind of nice. It would’ve been even nicer if I actually measured the living room and realized that a 10’ x 5’ mat barely fits in there.

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I’m supposed to quit judo.

I never did mention about how much my head hurt one night after judo practice, how it got to the point where I was lying on the mat, and that I thought I was going to throw up driving home from judo practice. But I did mention it to my doctor. He, as a specialist, thought the worst due to pre-existing conditions and sent me in for an MRI. What I got from the MRI was good news and bad news.

The good news: IT’S NOT A TUMOR. (This should be a familiar quote to those old enough to have seen Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

The bad news: my doctor told me that I may have had a subdural hematoma at some point and that I should avoid judo until they knew more.

I was sent to a neurosurgeon, who told me everything was fine, nothing abnormal in my brain, and I was getting better so there was nothing I should do about any of it EXCEPT I was supposed to QUIT JUDO. Think of all the football players having problems, he said.

This wasn’t exactly the best news, as I’m having a lot of fun practicing judo. I’m not especially good, but it’s still fun and I’m hooked. Besides, I don’t think I got this from any actual “hard judo” but when I knocked my head into another guy’s head while we were learning how to do a certain ground maneuver where we pulled a guy onto his back. During “normal judo” I would’ve taken a fall and my head wouldn’t have the chance to strike anything hard. I also had headaches before that, but those went away when I got a massage. I’m pretty sure it’s due to a stiff neck and besides, my dad had a history of headaches too. And, it’s not like I’m an NFL football player who has to go hard every time, every game, every practice, for years and years.

I called my sister who said people get told to quit running, too and nobody seems to listen to that nonsense. (She’s a big runner for the one or two people who might possibly read this who don’t know her.) Since I also had a disagreement at work the same day, her suggestion was that I should shut the hell up and be nicer at work because after I get all drooly and feeble at the end of my life doing judo, she was going to put me in a home and she wasn’t going to pay for that shit so I better have some money saved up.

MY DECISION IS TO QUIT JUDO.

For one month. Plus, I decided to start counting the month at the day I think I got my possible head injury so that means I’m starting back up next Monday. Or maybe Sunday, since we have kata class on Sunday.

I hope all of you (the half-dozen readers of this blog) support me in my decision.

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That certainly wasn’t pleasant.

Most of my recent disasters are too predictable to mention. Headaches from being thrown too hard. Achy knees hurt from falling on them. Mat burns on my elbows and knees. Abrasions on my feet. I could’ve taken up something easier than Judo, but my earlier idea, ballroom dancing, probably is just as bad. Or the banjo. I’m sure someone would’ve hurt me if I kept playing the banjo.

More unpleasant was my main server going down with a hard drive failure. I was able to pull off a bunch of data before it really, truly decided it was dead today but two days of trying to set things back up and getting them working again was a large pain in the ass. At first I thought it was some nefarious hackers, but I’m pretty sure it was mostly just bad luck with the hard drive. I should probably have a better backup plan, but it’s all a matter of putting up with risks, and the risk of losing a bunch of data wasn’t all that scary. It’s all about clown computing, right?

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I did NOTHING today.

Once again, it’s a long holiday weekend and I did almost NOTHING today. I suppose relaxing is a good thing to do. Yesterday was the 4th of July and I went to my buddy Il’s house where I saw his kid and our friend Andrew’s kid. It used to be Il and I were the single weirdos at these events and now he’s a dad. Being that the kids are both under 12 months old, the barbecue wound down about 5PM. Fortunately my neighbors had their own festivities going later than that and somehow I ended up eating peanut butter ice cream cake.

But onto today. My mom left with my sister to go off to “the beach” which really isn’t very close to the ocean but was on the Columbia river. I did NOTHING. I was really tired, like the kind of tired I get when I take Benadryl, because people (probably kids) were setting off fireworks at odd intervals ALL NIGHT LONG. I did fool around with my radio a bit, and read some stuff on the intarwebs, but mostly I lay around feeling sleepy.

And since this is so boring, here is a picture from the past. That’s me and my first car, a Honda Civic I had in Japan. WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE A KID-N-PLAY HAIRCUT? (That’s my sister’s friend in case you were wondering.)

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