Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Two Weeks

Two weeks in a bed. A hospital, then rehab, now my own. It still, after nearly six months doesn't feel like mine. It's not mine, nor is the dresser, the large flat screen that doesn't work. Not even the sheets are mine.

Two weeks without Swag. Struck from my mind, to save it. His return excites me, but scares me. He's different. More cynical. I'm hampered. My affection limited to the 90 degree bend of my body.

Two weeks until three years. Me, two friends. Beers, shots and food. I don't even eat that type of food anymore, not do I drink beer or have ingested the whiskey I did that night. Friends still, but via social media only.

Two weeks since walking was a chore because of deterioration. Now I walk gingerly. A pronounced limp from a disparity in leg length. Doctor's appointments await, this week and next. Injections into my abdomen will end in four hours. 

Two weeks since I've seen a friendly face. A face I chose to see, not put in front of me, due to need or their plans. Swallowing pride, asking for favors. It's not in my genetic makeup, yet it's become a way of life. 

I miss, Ed. The 87-year old man, fighting life and fighting death. He was my roommate for one week. We exchanged pleasantries. Two differing lives, lifetimes and belief systems. I made sure to shake his hand. I feel I could have learned more, had he not been suffering. I call it suffering, but his real pain wasn't physical. He no longer wanted to be a part of a world without his wife. I know the feeling. 

I've been selfish the last two weeks. I have no regrets. I now understand what life is like for those who not only need others, but use them. Of course mine was simply to get juice or an extra piece of fruit. Shut off from reality, while others care for your needs, tell you you're better than you are and paint a rosy picture of the future. Ignorance is bliss. Two weeks of ignorance. I wish I could go back.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Random Thoughts at 5:20AM

I used to do this quite often. Then there was the hundred days of Hopper and Free Writing experiments. I've not written just to write and I've written even less for therapy lately. This morning is Father's Day and again, I won't be celebrating. My father doesn't deserve the recognition, the false praise or to have his already inflated ego, boosted by any sort of contact from me. Hell, not even a phone call to ask how I was doing after surgery. I guess he was "busy."

Come to think of it, in our world of technology, I received zero phone calls. A handful of texts that could quite literally be counted on one hand and maybe a dozen comments on social media. I did not publicize it, because despite my type A rants on Facebook, they're rarely aimed at self recognition. The only time I crave that is when surrounded by a room full of kids. It's how I know they're having fun and that is important to me.

I miss my Swag. Today, at 1PM, it will be two full weeks without him. His laying at my feet, meowing for food at this current hour and his over desire to either nap with me or drive me crazy, is what I miss most. I realize rehabbing this hip will impede on my care for him. I sense he'll understand. I just wish I was more confident in bringing him home. The little things like bending down to show him affection, feed him and scooping his litter, are all hindered by my temporary disability. I love him so and hope the two weeks hasn't changed him or even worse, made him forget our bond.

I got back some of my patience in the hospital. I realized the night before, I'd lost some of it. I also realized, how hard it is to explain to an entire staff at a hospital that you have no friends of family that can assist in the recovery process, not even a ride home. Make you realize that those social media 'friend counts" are all a mirage. I listened more than I talked the past two weeks, which is a difficult thing for me. I also realized, despite being put on layaway, I've not lost my social skills. Twenty years ago, who knows, my hospital stay may have ended up with some true friendships.

I've also learned that the little things in life, like a picture drawn by a child, as a welcome home sign is wonderfully touching. It also hurt to know, I'll never experience that from one of my one. I also came to the realization, and yes this sounds maniacally egotistical, that I care too much about other people. Whether it be the 87-year-old man sharing a room with me, his upset daughter, the nurse caring for us both, who I overheard say had $5.26 in her bank account. The therapist whose child is working all summer for a dirt bike, but who is secretly putting her own money into a gas card for him, essentially stripping her of 10% of her take home pay. The mother of two who works 12 hour days at night, so she can spend her days with her kids, never once showing an ounce of  fatigue. Then of course, all the problems in the world, big and small. So many affecting me directly.

Finally, the last two weeks has given me an odd break. It allowed me to think about myself and ignore, that, if not for a potential (repeated) favor, I'll be homeless in two three weeks. It's the little things in life we value, because we don't even think of the big things. I've thought about them every day for three years almost and they're exhausting. Doing it alone, is at time terrifying. That being said, right now, in this very moment, I'm better off than most in this chaotic world and despite some guilt, I'll take it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Eleven Days Later

A week and a half ago, I was on my way to the hospital. Without much fanfare or social media attention-whoring, I arrived, got prepped, woke up and began the process of healing. A lack of help at home, the suggestion was to entered a rehab facility. Little did I know, it was basically a short term nursing home and aside from one other, I'd be the youngest person here. That I took with my normal comical view and I embraced my "retirement" years.

The advances in the hospital surprised even me. The lack of pain, shocking. Sleeping on my side was a bit issue, but even that was accomplished. A week later, I'm walking with a cane, I use more as a security blanket than for stability. I still have one or two physical limitation I need to muscle through but the biggest hurdle is remembering my limitations.

So in four or five hours I will leave and by noon, I should be home. Oddly I'm torn. I'll miss my roommate and his daughter. A tough old bastard, 87, named Art. A Korean War vet, who is quick to point out he never saw action. A die hard conservative. A hunter. A carnivore. We share nothing in common, other than these confines. We connect, glances, nods, winks, smiles. His daughter visits and treats me as if she's always known me. The teacher in her is as caring and loving as any mother I've known. She's done it for 34 years. We talked about kids changing and she's quick to point out, it's not the kids that have changed, but their parents. They are simply a product. We closed our friendship with a hug and chances are, we'll never meet again. Hospitals aren't a place you want to look back on with connections.

I'll miss the nurses, who made me laugh more than I have in many years. The therapists, who sincerely care, taking time to explain tasks that are important to me. Offering insight and actually thanking me for making suggestions, they had never thought of. The medical staff, who reminds me I'm well ahead of schedule, but to remember, this will be two weeks of self imposed therapy, both physical and mental and to remember to rest. I'll miss their care, but most of all, their compassion.

Home. I don't feel as if that's where I'm going. I'm going to where I live. I'll return to obscurity, seeing less people in a week than most can imagine. Despite the lack of silence, which I covet so, I'll miss the smiles and more so, smiling back. I return to rest, but now I know my excuses are dissipating, and while I maneuver to get into bed, wash with a washcloth and anchor myself to something stable, while doing menial chores, my entire future needs to come into focus and fast.

As I sit here for my final morning, just being handed my daily wardrobe, I think back to all the strangers I've passed in the hall. Men, women and children, visiting their loved ones. Laughter, smiles, pain and tears. Eleven days of cards, candy, flowers and personal keepsakes and of course a never-ending chorus of "I love you," and "I miss you." It must be nice. It is.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Writer's Block or Random Snark

I don't consider myself a writer, but I do tend to get writer's block when it comes to this blog. It's mostly due in part to my strong desire to stay upbeat right now. I've been in the hospital and a rehab center for a week and a half, healing nicely, but getting increasingly more frustrated by social media. specifically Facebook. Day in and day out I've read about traffic, running late, bad food, bad coffee, bad service, angry coworkers, pleasant coworkers, annoying customers, weather, weather, weather and mean people. Let me point out that not one of these posts was written by a person who took 10 seconds to write "How do you feel?"

People I often speak to seem to have vanished. "True" friends have ignored my surgery. I'm sure once I hit publish, this may change a bit, an excuse attached and my favorite word will ring in my ears or burn my eyes; busy! I go home very soon and I really hope I don't have any woes to share about the trip home. No traffic! No weather! Oh please, no rude people! Let me please just enjoy this new hip, the months of rehab and be thankful the lord above has saved me from the burden of normal everyday life.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Simple Question For My Liberal Friends

Back in 2016, there was a fever, almost a euphoria over the intangible and utterly impossible promises of Bernie Sanders. They were in stark contrast to the promises on the right, but in many ways, just as insanely irresponsible. Both sides; both axis let's say, were looking for ways to spend all our money on a few programs. On one side, we had the GOP, pushing the age old trickle down economics debacle and on the left, a distorted form of socialism, where we pretend 240 years of capitalism doesn't exist. So what happened? We destroyed Hillary Clinton, with a little help from Russia and much more help from our media, which we ironically mislabel as "liberal."

We know the GOP, especially Donald Trump wants to make the rich richer at the expense of the middle class, essentially creating a two class system of the haves and the have nots. The democrats want all these programs we're running out of money for and to add a few more. Liberals want this utopia, where it literally does take a village. Neither works, because of one little problem and no, it's not immigration, religion, class, health care or any other political talking point. It's population.

When my grandmother, who lived to be 100 years old, was born, there were roughly 80 million Americans. An enormous number were immigrants and many more would enter in the next few years. So many, that by the time she reached her teens, the total population had grown 25%. By her 50th birthday, two world wars had been completed and the US population had doubled to 160 million. I was born in 1970 and there were 205 million people. That is over 250% more than when my grandmother was born. There are now four times as many Americans than when my grandmother was born. Let's put this in perspective. The current population is roughly 325 million Americans and if that were the case in 1903, we would have accounted for 20% of the world. We currently account for about 4%. Think about that. We're less than 5% of the world's population and we hold 42% of the world's personal wealth and we're in a class war? The rich aren't about to give it away and the poor have absolutely no way of getting it. Conservatives are brainwashed to believe hard work will attain it, but we all know that's a fallacy being sold to people since times long before The Bible was written. As Gordon Gekko said, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." Every society throughout time has believed this. So socialism will never work. Yet, we now know capitalism can not work with a fluctuating and always increasing population.

Let's pretend we all have health care, causing us all to live happier and healthier lives, increasing the population more than it is now. Technology will advance and leave the under-educated in the dust and make the over-educated tons of money. Communication will allow for global markets to prosper, meaning less people making more money and more people spending the little they have. It will cause bigger carbon imprints and despite all the "nice" stories of sustainable energy, it looks as if our simple habits of eating, driving and manufacturing will end the Earth sooner than later. So let's be honest about what the GOP is really selling us. "Time is limited, so let's create a vacuum where, if there is a chance to save a few, the opportunity can be bartered for." So here's my question for liberals.

The Earth has anywhere from 100-300 years left at this rate. That's most likely less than doubling America's lifespan. So, knowing the population of the world alone will be our demise, what, other than mass genocide and "starting over," can we do for everyone, that will really make a difference/ I know slowing down climate change is essential, but there is some truth to the thought that it's irreversible. Eating meat alone, is the greatest emission problem we have. Livestock will end up killing us and the deforestation to provide our food will end us faster than any amount of cars, but that's all science and it's confusing.

So here's my questions for liberals. Trump is out. Pence is out. Ryan is out. It's 2020 and the president is democrat, the house and senate are democrat and 56% of the country is happier than they were in 2017.

What do we do to our current system, knowing we've been indoctrinated by this capitalistic dream? One which ignores equality, health, education and society as a whole, in exchange for enough to get buy, for a shorter amount of time, with the basic education to function in one's own little community, within a state of larger communities, which make up our country. What do we do differently than has been done for the last 241 years, so that we may have a chance for 241 more?

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

April & May Movies 2017

I kicked it up slightly, but still only around 80 movies, whereas the last two years, I was around 100-120 by now. An upcoming stint in the hospital may or may not increase my movie watching. The rehab at home to follow will certainly beef up the number. I should gofundme some flick websites...or not!

  1. Eat - Psychological horror that is pretty gross, but is just witty enough to work.
  2. Shorts: In This House - Demonic possession with a twist. Baby Monitor - Silly Scenarios
  3. Ghost In The Shell (1995) - The most complex "cartoon" ever made? Amazing in every way.
  4. The Eyes Of My Mother - Artsy but, can't hide the torture porn simplicity. Dull and uninspired.
  5. Destiny - Fritz Lang's classic, may not be his best, but the impact on the craft is evident.
  6. The Third Man (RW) - More style than substance, with humor pushing it. That ending though!
  7. The Windmill - Run-of-the-mill (pun intended) horror with some nice little twists.
  8. Kubo and The Two Strings - One of the greatest animated films ever made! 
  9. Hero (re-watched) - One of the most beautiful movies ever made and a top 10 ending.
  10. The Greasy Strangler - Easily one of the strangest, and worst, movies ever made.
  11. Short: Escape - Very short anime is beautiful, but rather pointless in its short form.
  12. The Childhood Of A Leader - Superb acting and brilliant score overshadows odd, weak ending.
  13. Gozu - Takashi Miike channels his inner David Lynch for this one. Weird. Weird. Weird.
  14. Midnight In Paris - Woody Allen's most beautiful and charming film. Art lover's homage.
  15. Despicable Me - Boring, run of the mill kiddie flick, with nice ending. Minions are annoying.
  16. The Jungle Book - Not as much fun or as uplifting as some remakes, but gritty tale.
  17. Mifune: The Last Samurai - Average documentary, lifted by subject matter and wonderful clips
  18. Over The Garden Wall - Not the best, but fun animated tale with obvious messages. 
  19. Cloverfield - One of the worst horror movies ever made and it's found footage. UGH!
  20. Home - Animated film about girl love, family and friendship. Jim Parsons' voice is grinding.
  21. Delhi Safari - Overly drawn out and unnecessary violence, but a good message,
  22. Zombie Dawn - Awful micro budget horror, with hilariously serious narration.
  23. Manchester by the Sea - Don't believe the hype. Williams is only bright spot. Awful script.
  24. Frozen (again) - Great music, but awful movie with worse message for little girls.
  25. Imprint - Seriously low budget. Native American crime thriller is an absolute bore. 
  26. Bruges La Morte - Attempt to be artsy is more annoying than anything else. Horrible.
  27. Hector - Everything Manchester by the Sea tried to be. Mullan pulls it through it's weaknesses.
  28. Tokyo Tribe - Japanese, Hip-Hop, Gangster film. Somehow it not only works, but well!
  29. Norm McDonald: Hitler's Dog, Gossip and Trickery - Rather steady, but at times, pure gold! 
  30. The Birth of Sake - Documentary tries to romanticize, but there's no history. Odd approach.
  31. Denial - Poor writing, directing and editing, but acting is stellar. Could have been great.
  32. Kill Ugly TV - I may have completely misread this film, but found it extremely deep.
  33. Tag - Insane Japanese film combining over-the-top horror with a strong feminist message.
  34. The Similars - Mexican homage to The Twilight Zone. Too drawn out and never really clicks.
  35. Hunt For The Wilderpeople - Amazing funny, touching story, with some serious cast chemistry.
  36. Jim Gaffigan: Cinco - Not his best, but quite a few laugh out loud moments.
  37. The Kid (Re-watched) - Charlie Chaplin's classic comedy still packs an emotional punch
  38. Monsters - Gareth Edwards low budget monster film attempts to say a lot. Fails miserably.
  39. Sherlock: Season 4 - Possibly the best season in one of the greatest TV series' ever
  40. The Girl With All The Gifts - New take on zombies. Lags often, but ends spectacularly. 
  41. Citizen X (Re-watched) - One one of the most underrated films ever made. Cast shines!
  42. The Blackcoat's Daughter - Atmospheric garbage by Oz Perkins. Oddly, the acting is top notch.

Top Three: Kubo and the Two Strings, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Ghost in the Shell
Bottom Three: The Blackcoat's Daughter, Cloverfield, The Greasy Strangler
Biggest Surprise:Tokyo Tribe
Biggest Disappointment: Manchester by the Sea

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Absolutely Random Pet Peeves

Things bother all of us, but some more than others and some more than they should. I've probably mentioned this and if you know me, have ever been away with me, or possibly just me being a jerk in your own house, you know my dish fetish. OK, maybe it's not a fetish, but dirty dishes left in the sink is enough to make me commit murder. Here are some new ones I've just realized.

People who cross out the days that have passed on their personal calendars - You're not in prison. Let that shit go. Also, you're most likely not so important that you've accomplished so much, you can cross it off your to do or bucket list as if you've just discovered gravity.

Couples who don't eat dinner at the dining room table....ever! - Why do you waste the room inside your home, if you're not going to use it? I get the kitchen table is fine, but sometimes people do this and don't have kitchen tables. As if sitting in the living room or the bedroom is normal. I've lived alone for a long time and still try to sit at a table to eat. Nowadays, I'm in such an odd situation, I almost feel as if sitting at the dining room table is a sin.

Phones outside - I get it, you like to stay connected, but you were just on your phone inside. You walked out, I assume, because the weather is nice, the sun is shining and you wanted to experience it. I guess I was wrong. This leads me to my next pet peeve.

People with phones who can't react quickly - You know the ones. They are texting or watching a video of a cat chasing a dog and you see something wonderful and yell "Look at that," and they, as if physically unable to lift their heads, slowly start to move, eyes firmly affixed on their phones, but painfully being summoned to look away and when they finally look, the moment is gone. They then complain about missing something someone was saying, as if the words aren't still written right in front of them.

Finally, Tailgating - No, not the party. The driving maneuver which not only makes no sense, because it's dangerous, but serves absolutely no purpose. None whatsoever.