Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Trying Not To Be Dead: I Had a Colonoscopy




If you remember the League of Melbotis blog that was the original blog before The Signal Watch, you've watched me age from a bright-eyed young man in his twenties (we are looking down the barrel of our 20th anniversary blogging in 2023, people), to the part where I'm now going in for the routine maintenance of a man in middle-age.

I don't talk about health too much, I think, but I believe in preventative maintenance as much as possible in the form of basic heart health and annual check-ups.  I also am extremely quick to call a doctor to get some pills as soon as I think I have whatever is going around.  I am not one to tough it out - I want to get back on the road to health as soon as possible.  

So - put all of that together, and I am 47, and it was time for me to make sure I was good when it came to colon cancer, a highly treatable form of cancer if you're able to catch it early enough.  

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Well, I have the COVID




Did some socializing on Monday and on Thursday received the alert that one of the people I'd been socializing with had become sick and subsequently tested positive for COVID.  

I'm not shocked.  I figured these latest mutations were so transmissible, I'd eventually get it unless I continued to live like a hermit as we did for 2020.  We're careful-ish.  No movies, no restaurants.  I wear a mask in and out at work and shut the door behind me when I have to go in.  But, you know, when people can't keep their hands off bats, I guess. 

But, yeah, I tested positive Friday morning - not feeling great then and the coughing starting - and tried to work but by 1:30 hung it up.  I had a telemedicine appointment at 2:20 and got prescribed Paxlovid.  Normally I'm all about FDA testing, but I'd very much like to knock this thing out and not incur long COVID.  

Last night I ran an un-fun fever, but that broke after I went to sleep.  This morning, I'm coughing, runny nose and very run down.  If I have a fever, it's so low it's not an issue.

I'd argue my sense of taste is diminished but not gone.   I could taste the HEB Fruit and Grain bar I ate.  But my coffee, tragically, isn't the flavor wonderland I normally enjoy.  

I expect between the meds, the mild impact I'm hearing reported and experiencing, and good care, I'll be okay.  Jamie has tested negative and seems fine.  She was mostly stressed yesterday watching me just stare at The Meg as it played on TNT (that's about where I was around 8:00).  But she's also had her 4th shot, and even if she technically has COVID right now (and she hasn't tested positive) then there's a strong argument for getting your booster.  Of the two people we saw Monday, one of them also has not tested positive.  So.

The real kick in the shins is that I had planned to go to get a booster next weekend, but my timing was off.  I had stuff to do this weekend and didn't want to be down for a day dealing with any post-shot side-effects.  (sad trombone)

Look, I'm aware of the death toll of this virus and I'm not taking it lightly.  The world wide impact of the virus is well known and I don't need to tell it to you here.  But I'm also pretty sure my Tuesday I'll be right as rain.  

Y'all be careful out there.  This thing is still floating around.  And we're all going to need to hard-ponder our new normal.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Western Noir Watch: Lust for Gold (1949)




Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  Criterion Channel
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  S. Sylvan Simon and George Marshall


Well, Criterion Channel is currently highlighting a collection of films starring Ida Lupino, and that's good news for me, anyway.  Always on the hunt for more Lupino, I wanted to check out something I hadn't seen, and we mostly randomly landed on Lust for Gold (1949), what appeared to be a Western, but which really turned out to be Western Noir, which is absolutely a thing.

This is a supremely weird movie, and they needed to make one movie or the other movie in their movie, but instead they give you two partial movies, and I cannot begin to conceive of the "why".  A full 2/3rds of the film is flashback to events from the 1880's, and the rest takes place, which a much-less-talented team of actors, in the present day of 1949.  And I'm not sure the whole section in 1949 needs to exist at all, and I'm not sure that the events of 1880 shouldn't have been mentioned in about three sentences in a very different version of how the 1949 stuff spins out.

The end result is that you don't get any Ida Lupino until something like 35 minutes into a 90 minute movie, and... come on.  What are we even doing here?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Happy Anniversary, Jamie



Today marks 22 years since Jamie and I tied the knot.  Not bad!  

I don't know what to tell you people.   She's the best.  She's my best pal, the person I can't wait to talk to, and who knows me better than I know myself.  

I am so remarkably, ridiculously lucky.  

Love you, Jamie

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

47

 "Needle"
Middle Kids



Dream wives pushing up their prices
Even though it's a dying trade
Cool hands sticking to their guns
Hoping it'll keep them safe

They're eyeing off each other
Hoping to discover the only needle in the hay
But the sun's gone down and they're feeling around
With palms stretched open skimming the ground
I was hoping that things were better since we're all so clever

Quick cash filling up the pockets
Of the most boring men in the room
Red lips, the promise of kisses
Whisper sweet nothingness

They're eyeing off each other
Hoping to discover the only needle in the hay
But the sun's gone down and they're feeling around
With palms stretched open skimming the ground
And you're sitting high above it
Modern comfort is always having something to say
And a million artists have come to this in the past years
Tired and hungry, laughing through tears
I was hoping that we'd feel better since we're all so clever

You look better in the spring
(The violins play the rite of it)
I see you ever considering
Packing up your things and driving into the sea

We're eyeing off each other
Hoping to discover the only needle in the hay
But the sun's gone down and we're feeling around
With arms stretched open skimming the ground
I was hoping that things were better
I was hoping that things were better
I was hoping that things were better since we're all so clever

Thursday, March 17, 2022

It's my Brother's Birthday!


Everyone wish my brother, the amazing Steanso, a terrific birthday.  

I started blogging way, way back in 2003, and back then, he was but a simple attorney who played a lot of GTA and the bass in a band.  Now, he's a respectable attorney, a family man, and drives a crossover SUV to keep the kiddies safe.  But he does still play the bass!


Monday, January 17, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Brain From Planet Arous (1957)




Watched:  01/14/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Firstish
Director:  Nathan Hertz

I'll tell this story again here, so...

The year is about 1978 or 79.  For reasons I cannot remember, my mom has to keep me busy while she deals with something else in the house.  I am about 3 or 4.  My mom does something she never does:  she puts me in my folks' room and turns on the TV and says "look at that til I get back".  I am left alone with a black and white movie on the TV.

The movie is well underway, I don't understand what's happening and then this shit appears on screen:


I lose it.  Giant floating menacing brains with glowing eyes are not something I yet take for granted.  

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 - A Year That Was

So.  2021.  It's been, once again, a hell of a year.

I just saw word that Betty White had passed, and we're all, rightfully, a bit put out.  As I said elsewhere, don't be sad Betty White is over, be happy that she happened at all.

Still, it's... a bit on the nose, 2021, to take Betty White from us just a few days shy of what would have been her 100th Birthday.  She was owed that cake and party.  We all needed her to have that cake and party.

I've personally had worse years in many ways, but 2021 was not a banner year.  Some of you know that I was layed-off in the summer and took a bit before I got back to work.  But when I do my annual "let's do the movies by the numbers" and you're like "holy god, that's a lot of movies" - friends, I had a lot of time on my hands that I did not want.  

Whenever I'm sad in this post, I'll post Hannah Waddingham to cheer me up.  


See, feeling cheerier already.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Post-Christmas Check-In and Andre




Hi all!  

I hope your Christmas went well.  

We had a good few days of festivities.  Thursday was Santa With Muscles Day, which... really, should never be repeated.  

After much COVID testing, we were able to host Christmas Eve for my parents and cousin, Jamie's Dad and brother (The Dug) and his wife, K.  Unfortunately we were in a gray area with my brother's family until Christmas Day, so we missed them on Christmas Eve.  

Cocktails, too much food, some jolly music and cheer was had by all.  It's also my cousin's birthday, so it's always a one-two punch of festivities on Christmas Eve.  As always, after parents left, we checked in with The Pope, watched some Hallmark, watched some Christmas specials, etc... it was lovely.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas.


Merry Christmas, y'all. 

May your day be a good one.  May you spend time today talking to those you love, in person or in any of the myriad ways we now can reach out.  

I'll be spending time with family.  After the past few years, that's the best gift I can ask for.  

I'm so, so lucky.  I hope you are, too.

If you need a Christmas hello, don't be shy about asking.  That's what this day is for.  


Monday, November 29, 2021

Signal Watch Christmas Music Playlist




Hey! 

Here's just over an hour of carefully selected Christmas tunes for you to rock to all month long. Play 'em in order and have an egg nog or cider and know The Signal Watch is giving you a confident nod and a lifting of the glass to share in your holiday merriment.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

New Music from Chromaplastique - "Why We Punish"

Long time pal and now PodCast contributor, JuanD, goes under the nom-de-plume Chromaplastique when it comes to penning tunes.  He's a longtime musician, and he's spent his COVID time making a bunch of new tracks.  

Juan was technically contributing for years now as the guy who wrote our PodCast intro and outro.

I'm partial to Juan's stuff, and I hope you will be, too.  His latest is a dreamy bit of electronic work with vocals supplied by another longtime pal, Nicole.  

Without further ado:


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween 2021

May the Queen of Halloween bid you an Excellent All Hallows Eve

Well, 2021 is in the books at our house.  And we had a good one.  

Halloween sort of starts for me now in July as I start working on podcasts and actual Halloween night is pretty chill.  But we did 5 episodes of Podcast, five Watch Parties and I watched a bucket ton of Halloween/ horror stuff this year.  


Elvira would want you to trick or treat

Monday, September 20, 2021

PODCAST: "Miller's Crossing" (1990) - A Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ JimD and Ryan




Watched:  09/09/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown (well over 30x)
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Coen Bros.



JimD looks in his heart and joins Ryan to discuss a shared canon film. It's the third from the Coen Bros. and one that is seemingly being forgotten by the current generation of film fans. Join us as we twist and turn, up is down, black is white. We're talkin' about friendship. We're talkin' about character. We're talkin' about - hell. listeners, I ain't embarrassed to use the word - we're talkin' about ethics.




Music:
Miller's Crossing Opening Titles -  by Carter Burwell
Miller's Crossing End Titles - by Carter Burwell






Signal Watch Canon:




Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Disney Store is No More - 3 Summers in the Sweater

this probably isn't my store, but it's incredibly similar


My first two jobs were working for cartoon mice.

The first job, when I was 16, was at Chuck E. Cheese.  You can read up on that life-altering event at an old post at the first blogsite.  

I don't think I ever got around to writing about the three summers I worked for Mickey at The Disney Store in Houston, Texas.  Well, it seems The Disney Store is no more.  But in the summers on 1993- 1995, and Christmas of 1993, I worked part-time at the satellite representation of the happiest place on Earth.  

It's been a very, very long time since this gig, and as I age, memories tend to grow fonder.  Mostly, these days, I think about how that goofy job where I wore a cardigan and long pants in Houston summer of 98 degree days with 95% humidity, and I wonder how I'm not dead.  But I also think of it as the place that taught me the most about how to put on a game face with co-workers and customers alike, and you get better/ best results out of both.  It's not just stuff I use to this day on the job, it's stuff people pay huge money for in real life Disney Customer Service academies.  No foolin'.  

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9-11 Twenty Years On




It's been a while since I posted even an image to mention 9/11 on this blog.  

I was 26 when the planes flew into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and a plane fell in Pennsylvania, headed for somewhere else.  I saw online today that they now believe that plane was supposed to target the US Capitol.  As devastating as it was to see the towers fall and the footage of a plane slamming into the Pentagon, I can't imagine where we'd be had that plane headed into DC airspace, let alone reached its target.

At the exact time of the crash, Jamie and I were in a hotel room in Las Vegas.  She'd been laid-off, and I was still just figuring out a new job, and we were married for a year and a half. 

You can't really explain to young people, without sounding naive, that in the years before 9/11, the people on the news weren't always insane, and that they used to do actual, fact-based reporting.  Or that we knew our political systems was divided and a little broken, but we could agree on some list of fundamentals someone had to carry with them when they went to Washington on our behalf.  

It's hard to say that didn't fall with the towers.  

A lot of other things happened, then, too.  It wasn't just the endless cycling of footage of burning buildings and plumes of debris and ash filling New York's avenues.  

Friday, September 10, 2021

A Favor to Ask - Can You Read a Thing?




Hi.

I kind of figure the folks who follow this blog know me a little.  I've been doing this since 2003.  I've published something like 7400 posts between Signal Watch and League of Melbotis.  In there, there's been no small amount of writing and revealing of self.  

Since before 2003, on and off, I've noodled on a prose novel.  I'm in the last 1/4 of this thing, and can see the end on sight.  Which is exciting.  I can think about a second draft, I guess.


The ask:  Can you read as much of it as you stand?  And then send me whatever thoughts you have?  

You don't need to filter them - you can tell me whatever you like, even if it's "I hate it.  I hate everything about it."  That's fine.  It's not like, should this thing hit the light of day, someone won't say that online within 24 hours.

But feedback on confusing plot elements (and I am sure there are many), characters, motivations, scene and setting.  Any of it.  It's all feedback I can use.  Don't worry about punctuation and type-o's too much.  I always think people think I'm looking for a free copy-editor.  No, you're safe there.  

I'm looking at what works and doesn't work as a story or book.  

Monday, April 26, 2021

PODCAST: "Blade Runner" (1982) - a Signal Watch Canon episode w/ Ryan and SimonUK


Watched:  04/19/2021
Format:  BluRay - version - The Final Cut
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Ridley Scott


More PodCast than PodCast, that's our motto! Ryan and SimonUK sit down and check our emotional response to this 1980's favorite of design and theme! There's nothing artificial about how we chase down one of the best of the sci-fi genre that defined an aesthetic, crossed genres, and asked the big questions.


Music:  
Blade Runner Main Theme - Vangelis, Blade Runner OST
Tears in Rain - Vangelis, Blade Runner OST


Signal Watch Canon:

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Goodbye to Scout

 


Today, very, very suddenly, we lost Scout, our dog of about 11 years.

I am definitely still processing what happened, and I expect the waves of ugly crying will keep hitting me, but in some ways, right now, anyway, I'm taking enormous comfort in that she suffered so little.

Just last night, she was doing exactly her usual routine.  She hung around while we were working in the kitchen and whenever we looked her way, she came in for a hug and then was looking for treats.  The night before she was playing with me in the yard while I grilled dinner, doing her favorite thing - which is picking up a leaf and throwing it in the air so we would cheer for her.  

This morning, she suddenly seemed not to be doing well after 9:45 or 10:00, and Jamie asked me to come down from my office and see.  I've learned not to rush dogs to the vet for every cough or twitch, but after watching her for a bit, I joined Jamie in her concern - but believed the issue was pain related to her legs or hips.  We had dropped her off at the vet by 10:50, and couldn't go in due to COVID restrictions.  Shortly, they told us that Scout had several tumors on her spleen, and one had burst - leading to the pain and discomfort.  At about 1:40, we spoke with the vet.  She would require major surgery, which might not go well.  And she was suffering kidney failure.  

We've done the "heroic efforts" route before, but I now believe the best thing - and hardest thing to do emotionally - is to not let your pet spend their final days, weeks, months or years in bewilderment and discomfort.  Had a few details been different today, we would have approved the surgery, we would be worrying about Scout recuperating at home.  But the cascade of what was coming meant a life in which I knew Scout would need surgeries and other treatments, and we'd likely lose her at any point over the next months, during which she would be unhappy. 

I knew she'd gone for a long walk yesterday, seen friends (socially distanced) over the weekend that she hadn't seen in a year, had seen our families in recent weeks... and we'd had so many adventures this year (I slept downstairs with her during the freeze), we wanted her final days to be her good days.  Her last mealtimes included grilled chicken, hamburger, and whatever else were eating.  She was living a good dog life.  It was the life we wanted for her every day, not just when she was ill or we were worried about her.

It's hard to explain - because all dogs are motivated by love and food, but Scout's entire personality was built around love.  She just wanted to be nearby, and available for hugs and not to cause a fuss.  She hardly ever barked, and mostly regarded people with cautious curiosity, and eventually deciding "okay, we're friends".  She flatly did not understand negative reinforcement - and I kicked myself every time I would get snippy at her for doing something that she shouldn't, because now there were bruised feelings and much apologizing that had to occur before she felt safe and secure again.  

The thing she absolutely understood and gave was love and kindness.

Scout and me among the firewheels


Maybe ten or more times a day as I puttered around the house, she'd slide up to me and walk between my legs so I'd lean down and give her pets for a while.  Sure, we went on lots and lots of walks, and she knew the neighborhood well, and would tell you which path she wanted to go on.  

But she never figured out "fetch".  In fact, some wire got crossed when Jamie tried to teach her how to play with Lucy, who was a retriever and never needed a lesson.  Scout wasn't interested in chasing a ball so much as picking one up and tossing it around, or pointing out "yes, here is the ball, I have found it".   Eventually, one of us saying "ball" became the only time she would bark.  Happily and enthusiastically, because we cheered her for it.  And she forgot the word was ever tied to her toy.*

We adopted Scout in the year after we lost Melbotis.  Lucy needed a pal, I generally believe in a two-dog house, and so we went to the ASPCA and walked around for maybe ten minutes when I saw her sitting at the end of her kennel.  I squatted down, and she popped up and came over to say hi.  Cautious optimism in all things with this dog.  In a room full of dogs banging off their cage doors, she was extremely gentle and sweet, and I figured: this dog will be good for Jamie. 

But, really, she was good for me.  Mel was brilliant by dog standards, and Lucy was full of personality and demanded attention.  Scout just needed love.  And treats.  And to play.  She learned our routines and insisted upon them - up to and including 10:00 PM walks in the summer, once the sun was down.  Which kept me moving.  But it's hard to say all the ways in which living with something that doesn't understand anger or raised voices makes you better, yourself. 

When we lost Lucy about three years ago, we figured Scout would be lost without her.  Lucy was the big sister and Scout followed her around.  But we quickly found out Scout was okay - she just turned up the attention she'd always given us, and seemed pleased not to have to compete, kind of coming into her own.  And, not knowing how long we had with her, that was okay.

I'll miss her gentle, polite spirit and earnest expressions.  I'm going to miss her delight at seeing me, and running right into my shins whenever I opened the door as she sought pets.  And how happy she would be when she'd slide between the coffee table and the love seat to get pets from Jamie while I rubbed her ears and face from the sofa.  I'll miss her prancing in the yard when we'd go out to spend time with her, or playing tag with her.  And, of course, the long neighborhood walks when she'd insist on one direction or another.  And in the last year when her hearing started to go, burying my face in the fur at her shoulders and telling her she's a good dog, making sure she could hear.  

It's not easy.  It never is.  I can't tell you how much I'll miss her.  

*our first dog, Melbotis, however, thought "toy" meant anything he particularly liked, including Jamie, as it turned out when one day I said "go get a toy" and he wandered over to Jamie.