Environmental references

When I was younger, I think that I had a very limited set of environmental references, so it was always easy for me to unconsciously tell where I was based on my surroundings. Like, when I was in a big city with old brick buildings and graffiti and air pollution, I was in Chicago; when I was in a subdivision, it was Elkhart; a lake meant I was somewhere in Michigan, and so on. This isn’t a very sustainable model, unless you commute between Dubai and Alaska, although there were a lot of unconscious and minor details that, for example, told me the difference between Toronto and Portland, although I probably couldn’t quantify that with a lot of thought. Anyway, this model is probably why I spent the first few years of my stay in New York saying “wow, this really reminds me of Chicago” to the most asinine small details.

Now that I’ve lived in more than a half-dozen cities and spent a week or more in at least a dozen more, this system is fucked. I spent a lot of time in Denver thinking about Seattle. And today, I was driving around and I completely forgot where I was. And I don’t mean that I thought I was on Lincoln and I was really on Sepulveda; I mean I was in Marina Del Rey and I was certain for a moment that I was in Bellevue, Washington, then I corrected myself and started thinking Aurora, Colorado. And I don’t mean that I’m in some serious mental disorder where I will start thinking I’m inside The Wizard of Oz in the near future. I mean that I *feel* like I am in these places, just like how sometimes I smell the exhaust of a diesel engine, and the particulate soot will make me feel like it’s 1992 and I’m in my VW Rabbit diesel again. And that’s weird.

My right foot is gimped up again, just in the big toe. It’s a joint closer to the tip than usual, so it’s not incredibly painful, and I’m walking and wearing real shoes. I went to a new podiatrist today, but he wouldn’t do anything for it, and referred me to a specialist. He did take me for a $350 set of orthotics, which I do probably need. So I got a set of imprints taken, and a Monday appointment with a rheumatologist. And I am further convinced I need a doctor that specializes in everything. See, some podiatrists would have tapped the toe and shot in some cortizone; some would have given me a script for some drugs; others would have said “not my job” and send me to the next stop on the scavenger hunt. There’s no guarantee that the rheumatologist won’t say “hell no” on Monday and refer me to a GP or internist or something. And this guy used the excuse of “well, I wouldn’t do dental work…” But my analogy is that I wouldn’t want to bring my car to one Toyota dealer to get work on the left tires, then drive to Burbank and get another appointment and get another Toyota dealer to work on the spare and the right front tire, and so on. I would love to have one doc that could get me on all the pills I need, do that dental cleaning, talk to me about my stress, get me some crazymeds, and check me out for a new set of glasses. I’d pay a premium, as long as I didn’t have to fill the same form out 87 times.

Sarah is gone until tomorrow afternoon, for her first trip (for work) back to New York since we left. She had a trip to SF right before we went to Milwaukee, then the Milwaukee trip, then a day trip to SF on Tuesday, then she left for NY on Wednesday. So I have been watching a lot of TV. (Also reading, but more on that some other time.) Last night I watched a show on the Unabomber, which is old hat to me, but a good waste of an hour. One of the things that struck me is that he was in this psychological experiment in which they told him he would debate an essay he wrote with another student in the experiment, but the other guy would be part of the gig, and would fuck with the first student, so the shrinks could measure his stress or see how his skin response changed or whatever else. And they postulated that this may have somehow fucked with Ted K. in such a way that he’d later grow a gnarly beard, buy a hooded sweatshirt and mirrorshades, and start mailing off surprises to college professors.

Way back in 1992, I took this psych 101 class, and had to sign up for I think three experiments. One was something idiotic, like sorting blocks. But the other two were really fucked up in a way similar to the Harvard one they mentioned in the show. Maybe they were not as bad, since I have not written a manifesto and started blowing up planes. (Well, not yet.) Anyway, here are explanations of both experiments, as well as I can remember.

First, I was supposed to read over three applications to the study and a bunch of letters written by three women my age. (I heard a rumor that if you signed up for the experments that specified they were for males only, cool stuff would happen. Because this was the home of the Kinsey Institute, I was swinging for the fences on this one. No such luck.) After I would read all of this stuff, an interviewer would ask me a bunch of questions, and then I would pick a lucky contestant, meet the woman, talk for a bit, and then another battery of questions, presumably to see how she matched up to my assumptions.

The application packets were pretty detailed, and included photos, essays, and questions answered, in handwriting. Some were of the “what is the worst thing you’ve ever done”, “if you had to lie to not hurt someone’s feelings…”, and that sort of thing. I pored over these applications and savored every last bit. This was like a first date, or a round of a TV dating game show, except for college credit. I talked to the test admin about the different women, and then made my choice. She left the room to go get Jane Doe #2, and I waited, in a bizarre excitement.

When she came back, she was alone, and said something like “oh, Jane Doe had to leave, so we can’t do the second half of the experiment, but we’ll sign your permission slip so you get credit for the session,” and I got a kick in the ass out the door. What? I don’t remember if I was single or not at the time, or how far in the desert of nothingness I was then, but I really wanted to meet this chick. I mean, maybe nothing would happen, but still, the thought of this predetermined first date was a slight bump of relationship coke to snort into my system, and now it was snatched away. But wait – was she really not there, or was the whole thing some kind of sick setup to see how hard-up perverts would choose between three “women” based on their cursive handwriting and answers to dumb questions? What really baked my noodle six beers later is, would I have chosen the same woman if I knew it was fake? And did the test administrator write out all three applications, implying that she wanted to fuck me? Don’t think about it too much, trust me.

Okay, next experiment. I was in a room with maybe a dozen or so other guys. A guy gives up some paper, and shows us a series of videos, in which a man and a woman somehow disagree about something in some situation. We then have to rate them from 1 being all her fault, 10 being all his fault, and 5 being a push. (Maybe it was 0-10, whatever.) The videos are these badly acted scenarios where the guy comes home and says “where’s my food bitch” and she’s watching General Hospital or whatever, but some are his fault, and they range from slight disagreement with profuse apology to “throw all his/her shit out a third story window.” We all watch the videos, mark our scores, and the tape ends.

Another guy walks in as the tape is being changed, and asks admin #1 if he can give us a quick worksheet of math problems for us to do. So he hands these out, and times us on doing the dozen or so problems. Some are fairly simple algebra, but they slowly get into absolute absurdity, like “next number in the series”, when the numbers are completely random. As we work on this, the dude turns into a complete dick about getting us to finish, saying “come on, these are easy”, and going up to people and individually harassing them, saying “just put down anything. are these too hard for you?” and so on.

So we go back to the videos, and by this point, everyone is totally ballistic. They’re pissed off at the guy #2, and pissed about the test, and all of a sudden, every damn scenario is absolutely, positively the woman’s fault. Only, I think it’s the same set of videos in a different order. I figured out the deal here before we even got to the next videos, but I’m not sure anyone else did, and I don’t think it was explained after the experiment.

The irony of the whole thing is that I think I slept through two tests in the class, and ended up flunking it, so the experiments didn’t matter. But it turns out the professor was in grad school and worked with the people who taught that ape sign language, so I heard a few good stories out of that one.

Rockies won against the Cubs today. I paid the $18 for a season pass to the MLB audio, and it turns out they just pipe 850 KOA AM through the internets to you, which is a cool deal. They send the whole thing, including commercials, local news, the entire deal, which is neat. And Saturday night, we’ve got tickets at Dodger Stadium for the Rockies. Let’s hope I can walk with no problem, or it’s going to be a really long nine innings.

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The Wedding Party

I’m back. We left Friday for Milwaukee, for our big wedding party, which went well. After we eloped six months ago, we agreed it would be best to have some kind of party for the relatives, so my extended family could meet Sarah’s and vice-versa, and so we could see some of the distant relatives we’d normally only see in the event of a funeral. So Sarah’s dad planned the big Saturday night event, and her mom planned a smaller immediate family dinner on Friday, and we managed the list of addresses and tried to find out where second cousins once removed lived after 20 years of being MIA, and then printed and sent all of the invites.

The Saturday event was at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, and we got a room there for the weekend, as did many other people. The place is almost a century old, and still looks very old-school, from the lobby to the wallpaper to the phone booths that resembled confessionals in the lobby, similar to the ones in the Indiana Student Union. They also allegedly have very good pools and saunas and exercise equipment, but out exercise for the weekend was just keeping up with everything, so I never got down there.

We strongly stressed that this would not be a wedding wedding; there was no ceremony, no white dress or tuxedo, no wedding party, no vows, no flower girl, none of that at all. We also said no gifts, but that was largely ignored. There was music and a dance floor, but not a lot of dancing. Despite all of this, and that we didn’t do the planning, I was still very stressed out about what to wear and how to look and act, and all that. But we got in on Thursday night with no problem (other than a 22-inning Rockies game that I was trying to follow on the web, and eventually had to give up.) And Friday during the day was lax; I went to Miller Park with Frank (father-in-law) and Matthew (brother-in-law) and we attempted to take the tour. There was a high school baseball tournament, though, so we got to sit in the section behind the plate with maybe a hundred other people total in the stadium. It’s very weird to be sitting in a big-league park and hear the “plink!” of an aluminum bat hit after hit.

Both Friday and Saturday dinners went the same, but on different scales. On Friday, there were about two dozen people, so I got a chance to talk to everyone, and I think I’d met everyone there before. There were three tables, and people were seated strategically, so some folks would get a chance to talk to other folks and so on. Food was good, cake was excellent, and we got home unscathed.

Saturday was a much bigger deal. I think we had about 100 people total, and I knew maybe 30-40% of them. So there was a mad rush of people being introduced, and I had no chance whatsoever to get their names. Add to this that I had a slight cold and was tripping on heavy amounts of dayquil, which is not conducive to having the same conversation 100 times in a row. I barely got to eat dinner, and the desserts were all gone before I knew they were available. But a lot of people got to meet other people. I met a bunch of Sarah’s paternal side of the family, which I previously hadn’t. Sarah’s grandparents had a good time talking to my folks, and her cousin the children’s librarian spent a long time hanging out with my 10-year-old nephew Phillip, talking books. There were a lot of people that didn’t get a chance to talk to other people, but with that many and only a few hours, you can’t run all of the permutations.

Sarah’s friend’s Guy and Scott came out from New York, although I barely got to talk to them in the shuffle. Her friend Ben Mack came out and we talked more. A flew in from San Francisco, and Simms and the Bill Perry family came up from Bloomington. John and Helen drove up from Chicagoland. That was the group at our table, which made for some strange conversation. After the evening wound down, most of this group rolled over to Real Chili for a bowl of the Milwaukee tradition. (Simms’ is better, though.) We also had a beautiful Sunday, and Simms and A and I went walking around and wandered the public market a bit. (They had a Big Kahuna burger, but it wasn’t too great.)

And that’s that. Sorry the description was not that incredible – it was too much of a whirlwind to really get any more details down. I will have pictures; a dozen or so people with digicams said they’d hook up with me later on photo sharing, and there’s my camera (with almost no pics.) I also dropped off a dozen disposables last night, which will go to CD and get uploaded.

I have a hundred errands today, plus work, plus I will need to get started on an armful of thank you notes. So in advance of those, which will probably go out in June, thank you to all of you who came out for the party!

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Back from Denver

I’m back. I have been since Friday night, after a minor scare in which my airline (Frontier) went bankrupt on the day I was supposed to fly out. Luckily they were still flying, because I probably would have hitchhiked home, or maybe bought a $8000 plane ticket, just to get out of there.

I think everything in my last post summed up what the return to Denver was like, although by the end of the week, it was greatly magnified. I realized there is no single place in Denver I really wanted to eat, except for McDonald’s or maybe Qdoba. And I was staying in a hotel by the office, which is in an area that basically has a Target and a gas station. (Also, five miles away is a Sonic.) So when I got out of work each night, all I wanted to do was sit in bed and flip channels, jumping back and forth between nine different CSI/Law and Order shows at the same time, while watching my hands turn into dust from the lack of humidity. And now I’m filling out an expense report that’s basically 17 receipts from Burger King.

The game on Tuesday was great, though. I got there super early, and parked in the lot that was right outside our apartment and my office, the one I used to watch from my desk. It was only $10, which gives you an idea of the relevance of a game early in the season against the Braves. Anyway, I went to Breckenridge, one of the sports bar places on Blake Street, to kill some time and watch Detroit lose again. I am not a big sports bar person, but this place had some okay food and nice people, so it was a good place to go for some nachos (unless it was during a Broncos game and you weren’t a Broncos fan.) Instead of going in gate B, where I usually went, I got there early enough for batting practice, so I went in the outfield bleacher entrance, and got to watch the home team belt out a few. It felt so good to see Coors Field again, to look out and remember all of the places I sat – this one for the NLCS, this one for the World Series, this one for the tarp game when it poured rain sideways, and so on.

Once they opened the concourse and I walked over to the Sand Lot bar, I smelled the hot dogs on the grill and that one scent immediately represented the whole baseball season last year. I got my bratwurst, watched the visiting team bat, and listened to that Rob Thomas song “Streetcar Symphony”, which they always play before the game, and is another thing that immediately makes me think of the summer months I spent up in section 331, watching the makings of that 20/21 streak brew on the field.

I had club seats (which is now called the Wells-Fargo Club level), so I caught an elevator up there, got my cracker jacks, and settled in. There were some small updates to the stadium, mostly a lot of propaganda about being the 2007 NL champions: a new logo on the top of the scoreboard, the tops of the dugouts, flags above left field, and so on. The scoreboard had a slight improvement in graphics, and I got to watch the new round of Rockies commercials, which are pretty awful. They also have these new player blurb things in the pre-game slideshow that are a good idea, but are fairly pathetic. All of the trivia stats are things like “tied for 4th place in total RBIs for the team record for players with three vowels in their name”. Christ, a two-second web search could pull up more impressive factiods. How about “career leader in batting average for all active MLB players” (Todd Helton), or “highest batting average, hits, RBIs, doubles, extra base hits, and total bases in the NL in 2007”. (Matt Holliday) Eh.

(Here’s a weird fact – Todd Helton played football in college and was backup quarterback to Peyton Manning. Outfielder Seth Smith also played football in college and was backup quarterback to Eli Manning.)

Anyway, the game – it was cold as FUCK. It started at about 50, but the winds picked up, and after about the second inning, I started hoping it would start snowing after the fifth inning so I could leave. It always feels so weird to be in this below-zero weather and remember when it was like 105 degrees last summer, and I was going to day games with my laptop bag packed in blue ice packs so I could stick my hands in them and try to avoid heatstroke. But I had the similar strategy of retreating to the clubhouse after the third inning, except instead of sucking in the air conditioning, I was sitting over a heater, trying to get the feeling back in my fingers and toes.

The game rambled on, and the Rockies pulled it out, although it was not as interesting as the game the next day, in which the pitcher hit like five Rockies, and in the sixth inning, there were two three-run homers. Another weird moment came when I pushed through the crowd going out, and found I had to walk the same way “home” as I did after all of the games last year, except this time, instead of going in the apartment building, I walked past it, got to the car, and drove half an hour.

I think that’s the thing that fucked with me the most. I am really glad I moved to LA. (Hell, going from a snowstorm to 90 degree weather and tropical humidity tells me that.) But when I was in Denver, I really wanted to come home to 2200 Market and see Sarah and the cats and all of my stuff waiting for me. When I was at work, I really thought I’d hop on I-25 at 6:00, head north, and open the door to two four-legged ravenous felines awaiting their dinner. And to see that apartment sitting vacant made me sad in a really weird way. And some people’s reaction to that would be “oh, you miss Denver”. But it’s not that. It’s definitely more complicated. Anyway, by Friday, I was desperate to get the fuck out of town, and I did, and I am so happy to be back here. I’m glad I made a few bucks, but there’s something to be said about looking out at palm trees and a high of 79 today.

So I just dropped Sarah off at LAX – she will be gone until Wednesday on a quick business trip. In the meantime, I have a complete fuckload of stuff to do. Everybody in the world wants work from me this week, and THIS week happens to be a short week, and I have so much to do for this Milwaukee trip, which is for our wedding reception family reunion thing. I am supposed to be putting together this slideshow on the Mac, and despite all of this iBullshit, there’s not an easy way to do exactly what I want. Now I am making a book in iPhoto and then exporting the book to a slideshow, and exporting that to a movie. So that’s a major pain in the ass. And I hope this whole thing can go without a major hitch, although I now have about 150 people who are all expecting an entire weekend of facetime with us, and when you do the math, you realize a certain amount of load balancing has to happen. And this isn’t an IP network, so I can’t just go lease a Barracuda appliance to get this to work, so people will inevitably get pissed off. Also, I still don’t know what I’m wearing.

With that, I should get to work…

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Ghosts of Denver

I’m in Denver. It is colder than fuck. Yes, anything below 65 is now colder than fuck for me, but it’s about 30 degrees colder than that, which is absolutely unbearable. And today I was in a meeting, and I looked out the window, and it was pure white from there to the horizon, blowing snow in a full white-out. Luckily, none of it stuck, but I had visions of burning my rental car to stay alive, and making an extra layer of improvised winter gear out of the floor mats, which I think is a chapter in the Air Force pilot survival manual, right after the one that teaches you what snakes you can eat.

(Sidebar: on the plane, I read that book Into the Wild. Um. I guess it was interesting in a way, but the protagonist of the tale sounded like every other dope-smoking, Rage Against The Machine type I met in college. And I wish any of them would do anything interesting like go to Alaska and starve to death in the bush country, but most of them had kids and are now rambling on about the evils of vaccinating your child or whatever other helicopter parent topic is on DailyKOS this week. Well, I guess one of them went on to bigger things, but he’s the exception to the rule. Anyway, the book was okay – I don’t know how Sean Penn fucked it up in the movie version (George Bush stole his food; Dick Cheney and his Halli-pals planted the poisonous plants for a no-bid contract) but my main complaint was that Krakauer padded out the book with a lot of distantly-related tangents and cases that made big chunks of the second half high-speed skimmable with no loss.

So yeah, Denver. I am here for the week for work, and I am now a consultant-type for my last job. My plane touched down at DEN at about midnight (extra hour of time shift) and then I had to dick around with luggage and Hertz and drive about 45 minutes, then check in, then blah blah and pretty soon it was about 2:30 and I had a 9:00 meeting. So I was asleep all day, my stomach in knots from heavy doses of caffeine, answering the “so how do you like California / I hear it’s overrun with Mexicans, rapists, and those who have not heard the word of our savior jesus christ” question a few dozen times. It wasn’t that bad, but when I am running on even one minute of sleep under eight hours, even “where can we put your free money” is an annoying question to me.

So, here’s the weirdness. I was just here, and I got to do all of my “leaving forever” prep several times, and then had to come back for our furniture, so being here is more like getting back to town after a long vacation. It’s not like I’m pulling into Bloomington and seeing that all of my old favorite hangouts have been bulldozed and turned into Eddie Bauer stores. It’s all still here. What’s weird is that I am “living” at a Hilton that is just down the road (and I mean literally ON the same road) as the office. So “work” is now “work” and “home” to me. It means I don’t have to drive 45 minutes to and from downtown each day, but in some ways, that drive was therapeutic, and it was nice to have two different corners that did not mingle with each other. So that’s weird.

Being back at work isn’t that weird, because my whole department moved floors after I left, and I’m in a completely different area, in a sterile and different cube. The guy I sat next to got fired, and now the people on either side of me are new hires. And all of that doesn’t matter, because I’m in meetings and meeting rooms all week. It is odd to be back in the building, though. And almost nobody knew I’d be in this week; a lot of people not in my group didn’t even know I was still working for the company. So I got a lot of double-takes today.

I sat around after work dicking around with a Subversion problem and half-watching the Yankees-Jesus Rays game on cable, when I got fed up and left to go find a restaurant and get fed up. And then, I suddenly realized, “shit, I can listen to the game on the radio!” I clicked over to 850 KOA and got the last inning. The Rockies lost their last five games, and I’ve been less and less enthused about catching those games I already shelled out cash for. But thanks to a Matt Holliday 2-run homer, a 1-2-3 8th, and a double play and quick out in the 9th, the tides turned, and the streak was ended.

For whatever reason, I got on I-25 and started driving north into Denver as the game wrapped up. I can’t even begin to explain how happy it made me to listen to Jeff Kingery and Jack Corrigan call the end of the game, after spending 2007 tuned in for the games. I even listened to most of the games I attended last year, thanks to my little AM/FM radio and headphones. To hear all the little nuances of their commentary, all of the bumper tracks and station IDs and ads, it brought out the spirit of the game as much as shitty ballpark hot dogs and plastic chairs that are two inches too small for your butt. I even listened to all of the ads (“If you’re going to buy a diamond, think Trice”; the Colorado beef association ads they play between every damn inning) and it made me think of every game I heard while I was home on the computer working, or driving to an appointment in the afternoon, or waiting for Sarah to get home from work during a 6:05 that was an hour early so they could beam it back east.

By the time I got to Coors Field, the crowd was dissipated (or maybe they were in hypothermia) and I parked on the street right by our old apartment. I don’t know why, but I had to look at the old place. I know I just finished moving us out about ten minutes ago, but I get overly nostalgic about this shit. I also wanted to see if the lights were on and a bunch of NCAA Final Four bullshit was hanging out the windows. (This is frat party central.) Nobody was moved in, although the bedroom window was open a crack. That doesn’t matter, except it added this one tiny human component. Did I open the window? And it was the window right by the cat beds; every morning, once I was ambulatory, I’d open that windowshade so they would have their wash of sunlight for their morning naps. It’s strange how such a little thing could make me think of so much.

Sarah called me around then, and I did a quick lap around the block, looking at the sports bars where we used to eat (but not on game nights), and the huge condo that’s going up on the other corner of 22nd and Market, and finally, the ballpark. The cops were pulling down the barricades on Blake Street, and only a few stragglers were there, so there wasn’t much residue from the night’s victory. But everything was still lit up, the signs and park lights and all of the new 2007 NL Champion flair they’ve added to streetlights and signposts. It had me excited about coming back tomorrow for the second game of the series. (What doesn’t have me excited is the fact that I will be wearing eight layers of clothes and will still need to have toes amputated by the time the evening is up.)

So overall, a weird time at a mile up. It’s reminded me that I like 75 degrees every day; I like humidity (I am drinking gallons of water per second); and in the year I lived here, I developed no strong ties to any people, places, or activities, other than a certain National League West expansion franchise. When I pulled into town, other than the game and my work obligations, I could not think of a single person I needed to call, place I needed to see, or restaurant where I needed to eat. That makes me think we made the right choice.

I need to sleep. I need to work four more days. Then I need to fly home, dump my entire suitcase into the washing machine, and repack it so I can turn around and go to Milwaukee. And I’m guessing it won’t be 75 and sunny there, but they do have cheese.

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Dublin Dr. Pepper

I forgot to mention that I got a basket of a bunch of glass bottles of soda for easter. There were a couple I have not tried before, one being Dublin Dr. Pepper. It isn’t from Ireland – the Dublin Dr. Pepper bottler is a plant down in Texas that’s the oldest running bottler of the drink, and they still churn out the stuff with cane sugar, in glass bottles. It’s pretty good stuff, and the bottles are very cute, but at 24-8oz bottles for $16 when you buy direct (and marked up even more when you buy singles), I’d rather buy 2-liters locally. The nostalgia aspect is cool, though. If I ever got trapped in that corner of Texas, I’d love to see the bottling plant, right after I hunted down the remains of the Waco compound.

Another one I tried for the first time was Moxie. Moxie is an old New England tradition, and goes back further than Coke does. It started as one of those “nerve tonic” drinks, and you can tell. Moxie tastes like straight up carbonated shit. Seriously, it’s very similar to the Beverly aperetif made by Coke in Italy; it has an aftertaste similar to a solvent you’d use to bring out the shine in your wood flooring. I don’t know how people can drink Moxie and actually enjoy it, but I also can’t understand how people can enjoy 90% of French cuisine, so I guess it’s an acquired taste. At least I know what the deal is with Moxie, so the next time that Food Network show comes on about it, I won’t feel curious.

I am really enjoying having a DVR, by the way. It’s very nice being able to pause TV, rewind to see something I’ve missed, and skip commercials. I watched part of a baseball game, and it was nice being able to skip around to figure out what the fuck Vin Scully is talking about. I still occasionally forget that I can skip commercials, though. And I really don’t have enough shows recorded yet. I should start getting some games on there, but I already have no free time.

Speaking of which, I have a million errands today, and tomorrow I have to get Sarah’s car registered. Then on Sunday, I fly to Denver for a week. And the next week, it’s off to Milwaukee. Lots to do, and I’m running late for something now, so I better finish lunch.

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Broken elbow

Back in the fall of 1992, I broke my left elbow in a stupid bike accident. Basically, I was slowing down for a pedestrian on that ramp to the parking lot at Ballantine Hall, and I slowed down too much and fell over, landing on my elbow. I ended up with a compression fracture on my radius, a stupid sling that later torqued out my neck worse than the broken arm, and a bottle of codeine cough syrup. I also had this horrible despondence from the thought that I actually broke part of my original equipment, which is hard to explain but is very deep-seated when it happens to you.

Ancient history, right? Well, no. For some reason, that elbow has always been on-and-off weird. Sometimes it gets a little stiff and reminds me it was once broken. And for whatever reason, last week, it got really stiff, to the point where I couldn’t move it anymore, and I was in way too much pain. Finally on Friday, I couldn’t deal with it anymore, and I went to the hosiptal. By hospital, I mean “hospital”, aka the LAX urgent care clinic, which is as much a hospital as IUSB is a university. Within three hours, a doctor spent two seconds listening to my explanation of the pain, I got three x-rays, and he ruled out a few basics, like that I rebroke the arm, or that the arm was stolen by aliens and replaced with a corned beef sandwich. Other than that, there was no diagnosis, so here’s a sling, here’s a big bottle of Vicodin, here’s your bill.

I spent all weekend looped out on the big V. Honestly, it’s only good the first couple of times you take it. It does kill the pain, but now a single tablet doesn’t have me babbling conspiracy theories about secret Nazi bases in the south pole. I can now move my arm significantly more, and I went all day yesterday without painkillers. So it’s getting better, but the whole thing, plus all of my other medical maladies makes me wonder if I have ALS or MS or something else.

Speaking of Lou Gehrig, baseball season has started. I am in two fantasy leagues, and have done absolutely zero in both of them. One I forgot to show up for the draft, and I was first in the draft, and it auto-picked based on ESPN’s ratings, so I got A-Rod in the first round. No time to mess with that for now, though. I do have some games coming up though:

  • 5/24 Dodgers v. Cardinals @ Dodger Stadium
  • 4/26 Dodgers v. Rockies @ Dodger Stadium
  • 5/20 Cardinals v. Padres @ Petco Field
  • 4/8 Rockies v. Braves @ Coors Field

First, I am not suddenly a Cardinals fan; that’s because my friend Julie is a huge St. Louis fan, and I’m tagging along for two of those outings. I have to admit that I know almost nothing about the Cards except for Ankiel and Pujols, and that other big beer company has their name on their stadium. But it’s baseball, and it will be fun. And I would normally have almost no reason to go to San Diego and see a game, so I can check another stadium off of my list.

And yes, the Rockies game is at Coors Field! I am going back to Denver next week to work for my last company, and aside from money, one reason I took the gig was that I’d be able to catch a game at my old digs. It will be weird, driving up to the ballpark district, paying to park across from my old apartment, getting a shitty bratwurst at the Sandlot brewery. (Actually, the first one of the season is always great. The second one is good. The 47th is shit.) It will be nice to wear my Tulo jersey without having to worry about Dodger fans throwing batteries at my head. Too bad I might have to wear it under a parka.

My car now has California plates, which looks odd to me. It was a huge feat to get them, and it took two trips to the DMV. I had to get the car (a 2008 with 5000 miles) smog-tested, and then I got in a huge battle about having to pay California sales tax on a car I bought in Colorado as a Colorado resident. I finally found the right paperwork to shut them up, and got plated up for $240 plus the $60 smog check. Now I need to do the same for Sarah’s car.

I was almost getting in a groove as far as domestic engineering duties, until the arm broke. It’s hard to cook one-handed. Anyway, I am a cooking idiot, so I will ask the readers, what’s your favorite recipe? Something that’s not all Rachel Ray and involves two hours of cutting and shaving. My favorite concoction is my own version of the famous Simms chili: very easy, very good. I need to find more crap like that.

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