Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let's Go To The Mall

Today was a pretty good day, mostly because I had money in my pocket, but also because it felt about ten degrees warmer than yesterday, my friend Geoff visited, and I found out that my insurance company has underpaid me $1,072 over the past year (and I am not giving it to the home).

I could have slept all day had I not been woken up to have my bandages changed around ten, but I don't like spending all my time in bed. Life is boring enough.

Geoff came to visit around lunch and he brought me some food from Taco Bell. Once again they screwed up my order (I asked Geoff for two Grilled Stuffed Steak Burritos with extra baja Sauce, which he ordered, but gave him ground least, this time, they remembered the Baja Sauce). Like Joe Pesci said in Lethal Weapon 2, "They always fuck you in the drive through." It was still good. So was the giant Dr. Pepper.

After he left I went to the mall (Northgate) for the first time. It was not as intimidating as I thought it would be and whenever I went into a store the staff members were eager to help me. I bought a couple Seattle Mariners hats (one retro and one contemporary). I went into a video game store and talked to the salesman to ask if I should get my XBOX360 fixed or buy new (he said buy new, of course, based on my description of the problem).

The only store I wanted to go into but didn't was a kitchen store. The aisles looked too narrow for my chair to fit and I feared I would break something.

After that I went to a sporting good store and bought a couple travel cups and a hand/grip exerciser. Then I went to Best Buy and looked at HDTVs. I think I am going to get a small one (26") while I am here in the home (the 26" has a nice sized screen but small footprint). If I wind up getting a one-bedroom apartment, as opposed to a studio, I will buy a bigger HDTV for the livingroom.

Next had a steak dinner. It was little overcooked for my taste, but it was better than what I would have got at the home. I still have half of it left. Tomorrow I am going to venture up to Safeway, which sells individual rolls, and make a steak sandwich.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Things I Miss About Seattle In the Nineties

(In no particular order).

The Hobo Scram/Pablo's Potatoes at The Green Cat Cafe; the Whole Roasted Chicken (and sides) at Capon Rotisserie on 15th; the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Potato Salad, and Dr. Brown's Cream Soda at A.J.'s Deli on Madison; buying slices and raw pizza dough at Rocket Pizza; and the deep dish pizza at Testa Rosa.

(The Original) Moe's, The O.K. Hotel, Sit & Spin, The Weathered Wall, RCKNDY, The Off Ramp, Colourbox (the club, not the shitty band), Orpheum Records, Tower Records, Ernie Steele's, and the Cloud Room.

Having friends with bands that should have been bigger than the Foo Fighters or Pearl Jam (Medelicious, Third Door Down, Micheline Impossible, Dickweed, the Midwives, and Laundry) but never progressed beyond the self-produced 45 or CD.

Looking forward to the next record by Nirvana, Soundgarden, Love Battery, Lush, The Pale Saints, or the Afghan Whigs.

The Sonics in the playoffs.

The Mariners in the playoffs.

Rainier Beer commercials.

The Rocket (Seattle's "sort of" alternative weekly newspaper before The Stranger).

Joel McHale at Theatersports.

When my friends and I were in our twenties, working all day, hanging out all night.

Doing the cocktail thing before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon. (Same with swing dancing).

One bedroom apartments less than $1,000 a month.

The friends of mine who have moved far away (but keep in touch): Stefanie (Santa Monica), Lian, & Jeremy (Bandon, OR), and Loren & Mona (Oakland).

My friends who have moved far away (but don't keep in touch): Julie (Unknown), Ann (Brooklyn), Dave (Los Angeles), Todd K. (Oakland) & Greg (D.C.)

Knowing somebody (or somebody who knew somebody) who could get me weed on a moment's notice.

Crazy Fucking Old People part deux

Twice in five days I have been prevented from sleeping by senile old men. Monday it was Crazy Jack, and last night it was my roommate Marlin. First of all, he started snoring loudly at around 8:30 p.m. until 3:00 a.m., when he decided to turn on all the lights and left them on all morning. When I asked him what the hell he was doing, he said he was looking. He told me I ran my mouth too often, which came completely out of left field, and then it was mostly silent except for his occasionally opening and closing his bedside drawers.

It's now 3:30 in the afternoon and he has no memory of it, so any revenge I fantasized about as I lay in bed, trying to fall back asleep, would be a waste of time.

At the time, I pushed my call light and it took an hour and a half for a nursing assistant to show up. This seems like it should be criminal. Considering how hard my heart starts beating when I don't get any sleep, I could have easily been having a coronary, which is ironic because I think one of the guys across the hall died this morning (around 7:00). There was a scream and a lot of shouting (in Chineses) then about twenty minutes later the paramedics showed up. I didn't see the body taken away, but when I got up, the person in questions name had been taken off the door.

Not a good sign.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today My father would have been 72

My first roommate here at the home was named Eddie. Every time I try to write about him, it seems more like the eight months we roomed together would be worthy of a book in itself, but I only bring him up in this post because he has a brother, Derek, who is into genealogy. As much as I hate being in this nursing home, the one good thing that came out of it was that thanks to Eddie and Derek, I was reunited (at least by phone and through email) with my Aunt Jeannette (who is a couple years older than me) and I found out that my father, actually both of my fathers, had died.

First, the father I never knew, but whom I was named after, died in 2003. The story is, according to my mother, was that he basically date raped her while they were both in the Navy. I learned this as we were watching one of my favorite movies, American Graffiti, during a scene where Ron Howard's character wants to have sex with Cindy Williams' character, but she doesn't want to, but says if he wants to do it, fine, she will just lay there and not enjoy it. Ron Howard's character doesn't have sex with Cindy's character. My biological father did have sex with my Mom. Today we call that date rape, back then the word "No" was not taken seriously. Anyway my Mother got pregnant, and in 1963 you could not be a pregnant woman or a Mom and stay in the Navy, so she was given an hoonorable discharge. My biological father would not take responsibility for my conception, despite that his name appears on my original birth certificate.What I learned from his obituary, he left the Navy and became an electrician and lived outside Detroit (I guess I can be thankful that I didn't grow up in Detroit. It doesn't sound like a good place to live). He married a woman less than a year after I was born. He also had a son a little younger than me. His was a lifelong Detroit Red Wings fan, and loved motorcycles. He also suffered from chronic heart disease, so now I know where I get my poor health from.

The person I knew and whom I called Dad, died in 1999. No one ever told me. that he had died I don't even think anyone tried. It's not like I didn't want a relationship with him or didn't periodically try to connect with him. But we never had much of a relationship and I don't know if he even thought of me as his son, despite the fact he adopted me when I was two when he married my Mom. I don't know if when he saw me, he thought of my biological father, my Dad's former best friend knocking up his girlfriend while he was away on tour of duty. But considering my Dad was married at least seven times before his death, and cheated on every one of his wives, I don't think he had any reason to bothered by it.

His name was Forrest Raymond Davenport, but his friends called him "Dave." He was the third of five brothers. When I think about him, I think he would have been great fun to hang out with if you were his peer. There are friends from college that remind me of him. Actually, there is a girl I used to live with who reminds me of him too, in that when they are interested in you they can make you feel like the most important person in the world and your entertainment is the most important thing to them, but the second they get bored with you, they treat you like shit and make you feel worthless. That's how my Dad often made me feel.

Growing up, he was hardly ever home. He was in the Navy up until I was about ten. For most of that time he was either serving on submarines, on duty in Hawaii, Japan, or Thailand, and he spent one or two tours as a medic in Vietnam. Though he could have taken my Mom and me with him to Hawaii and Japan, he decided to stick us in his home town of Olympia, Washington. For a short time prior to that we lived together in Groten, Connecticut (my only memory is eating lobster) and San Diego, California, but in 1968 he deposited my Mom and I in his home town of Olympia, Washington. (This wound up working out for my Mom because she got an entry level job working for the State as a data entry operator, which eventually led her into becoming a computer systems analyst).

The only times I ever saw my father was when he would come home on leave for a couple weeks each year, or the occasional weekend if he was stationed in Bremerton, about a two hour drive from Olympia. When he was home we would often go camping or fishing and the first few days we would have fun. I have pictures of myself as a child with my father and you would think we were close. But his visits would almost always end with him beating my ass. When he was angry with me for whatever reason, he would tell me to go find a "switch." Either a branch off of the neighbors willow tree, or something similar. He would say, "You better find one big enough or I am going to find one bigger." One time, when we were coming back from a camping trip in the Olympic Mountains, which was a really great time for almost a whole week, he got pissed off at me for running downhill (admitedly a stupid thing to do on my part) and he whipped me with his fishing pole, breaking the tip off. For the rest of my childhood with him, that fishing pole was always in view to remind me what would happen if I misbehaved again.

His punishments weren't always limited to physical abuse (today it would be considered abuse, back then it was just "punishment.") I remember one time, and I don't even remember what it was that I did, he decided to punish me by sending me out into a field and dig a hole. Not just any hole. He wanted a hole that was exactly six foot square and exactly six inches deep. This was in October so it was cold and the ground was hard. He would periodically come out and measure the hole. After awhile it grew dark and he wouldn't let me use a flash light. I wound up being outside for hours in the dark, digging and crying (I was eight years old at the time). Finally, around ten o'clock he came out and sent me to my room without dinner. The next day was the first time I ran away from home.

Even after my fther retired from the Navy he found excuses not to be home. First he decided to go to a community college that was only ten miles away, but he didn't want to commute, so he took an apartment near the school. After that he took a job as a forest fire fighter and was stationed up in the Olympic Mountains. Why my parents didn't just get divorced a long time before, I don't know why, but after some punishment I don't remember for what, which initiated the second time I ran away, I told my Mom to divorce him (I was ten) and she did. If I'd known that was going to work, I would have told her to divorce him when I was six, shortly after we moved to Olympia, before we adopted my psycho of a brother.

Between the age of ten and eighteen my relationship with my father was practically nonexistent. Whenever he would call our house, the only thing he ever said to me was "Let me talk to your mother." It wasn't until I was eighteen, when I wrote a letter to him saying I was joining the Army (I was too fat for the Navy) that he called me to talk me out of it. His twenty years in the Navy soured him on the military, despite the fact he had great benefits and a pension for the rest of his life. It seemed like we were starting to have a positive relationship. When I was twenty, he showed up at my door, and within hours we were driving to his house in Livingston, Montana. Once again, the beginning of our time together was great fun. We went fishing in the Yellowstone River (I caught a couple niced sized trout). The drinking age in Montana at the tim was 18 or 19, so I went to a bar for the first time and was introduced to Harvey Ballbangers and Amaretto & Cream.

He had a job working as a driver for an industrial laundry service, so he was going to be gone for a few days, so he left me his Thunderbird, and while he was gone I drove down to Yellowstone Park and also to Bozeman, a college town with a decent record store. I spent the rest of the week reading Stephen King novels on his couch or going to various non-chain burger shacks for most of my meals. In 1983 there wasn't a lot to do in Livingston except hunt and fish, neither of which I did. It wouldn't be for another fifteen years or more before Bruce Willis and his friends discovered Livingston and made the place unaffordable for normal people. The most famous person who lived there back then was Evel Knievel's brother. (Evel's famous rocket car , the one he tried jumping the Snake River Canyon in, was rusting in the back yard).

When my Dad returned after five days on the road, it did not take long before he returned that he found some reason to be angry with me. He was mad that I did not dry out the bathtub after taking a shower and that I didn't take the garbage out to the curb, despite the fact there was hardly any trash in the can. I wound up making an excuse to cut my trip short, and the next day he put me on a Greyhound bus back to Olympia.

A year later he came by my house again, but my dog, who was a very gentle and happy dog, barked at him, so he turned around and left. I was 21 by then so we could have gone to a bar or Denny's or somewhere to talk, but appaerently it wasn't important enoughto stick around. I didn't see or hear from him again until I called him seven years later to tell him my Mother had died. He said he was too busy to come to the funeral. I called him again five months later to invite him to my college graduation, but again he said he was too busy. A couple years later I tried tracking him down through my Uncle, who had the nerve to tell me that I was "not much of a son to my father" but he would let my father know that I called. A few months later my father called me in Seattle. My roommate Paul answered the phone and handed it to me. The first words out of my father's mouth was "Is that your boyfriend?' That is all I remember from the conversation. I never saw or heard from him again. I grew tired of trying to have a relationship with someone who obviously did not want to have a relationship with me.

When I see my friends and hear about what great relationships they have with their parents, let alone their Dad's, I am envious. I wonder how much better I would be as a person had I had a positive male role model growing up. I really didn't have anyone to look up to. Both of my fathers, in their unique ways, were assholes. My Mom never dated, so there was never a man around. Maybe if I had a Dad, a "real Dad," I wouldn't feel like such a pussy so often. Maybe I would have grown up a stronger person and maybe even met someone and had a family of my own, instead of being a forty-five year old "semi-virgin." But I can't go back in time and make either of my fathers be better at their job.

But for all his faults, m adopted father was a better father than the guy whose seed that spawned me. At least for a very brief time, he took responsibility for me, and he did sign the adoption papers, so for at least the amount of time it took him to sign his signature on a piece of paper, he wanted to be my Dad.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brief health update

Yesterday's blog entry is so long, and so is the one that I wrote in advance for tomorrow, that I don't have much to say today. I am doing better each day. By the end of the week I should be able to get in and out of bed on my own, even though it is still a bit tiring. My Infectious Disease doctor called to tell me that I tested negative for bacteria, but he still wants to see me next month. That is fine. I am going to try to get up the nerbce to as about a prescription for medical marijuana. Of all my doctors (I actually have five doctors) I think he is the most likely to write me a prescription. He knows more about my disease than the rest of them and I think he would be sympathetic. So fat every doctor I've met has been pro-pot, and though medical marijuana is legal in this state, all the doctors are afraid that they'll get busted by the Feds, just for writing on a piece of paper they think it's O.K. for me to smoke weed; that it will alleviate my pain and increase my appetite (those of you who don't know, I have now lost 110 lbs. since I got sick).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mmmmm pizza

At this time I also want to thank Jason, the manager of the Pagliacci's on the Ave, for treating me to a couple slices and a delicious Gorgonzola salad this afternoon. Jason says that from now until March 20 the Primo slices will be the same price as a plain cheese slice ($2.09) and whole 13" and 17" pizza will be 30% off (one discounted pizza per order, available for dine in, take out, or delivery). His generosity inspired this post.

Transplanted people from NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other places in the North East say Seattle, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest, does not have any decent places for pizza. As someone who doesn't know any better, I disagree.

I have been eating pizza now for about 40 years. My earliest memories are of going to Shakey's, often for a friend's birthday party, after a Cub Scout meeting or Little League game (only after we won a game. If we lost we were lucky of we got orange sherbet). This was back when Shakey's was really good and, I think, the only national pizza chain at the time. Back then, the earle '70s, Shakey's used to show Bugs Bunny cartoons and Buster Keaton movies on the wall and they had a player piano in the corner (this was a few years before the likes of Space Invaders). The kids would watch the cartoons and movies while the parents were in the "Adults Only" part drinking pitcher's of Lucky Lager or Olympia Dark.

Back then, if I had my druthers, I preferred to go to Luigi's Pizzeria in Lacey, a long ago, out of business Italian restaurant that, for me, is still the standard barer when it comes to great pizza. I remember the crust being thin and crispy (but not cracker-like) with the occasional air bubble. The mozzarella was bone white and gooey and when taking a slice, a long string of cheese would cling to the rest of the pie, but the toppings never slid off. The pepperoni had curly edges with a little pool of delicious grease in each bowl-shaped slice. Back then I wasn't as picky as I am now about what kind of pizza I ate or where it came from. I even liked the pre-frozen, pre-delivery pizza that Chef Boyardee kit in the box.

Around the time I turned ten (1974), frozen pizza started showing up at our local supermarkets. Back then the best was Tony's pizza, before it was "improved" so many times that it finally tasted as bad as Gino's or Totinos pizza. A few years later, I think I was fifteen when Lacey got its first delivery place, a Pizza Haven (there is still one left in Seattle). I remember their pickup trucks with the ovens in the back that kept the pies warm. Then we got other chains (Pizza Hut, Dominoes, and the locally owned Brewery City Pizza, where I worked for six months and learned how to toss a pie when I was 20). Except for Brewery City, I thought all the chains, including Round Table, Little Ceasar's, and Godfathers were crap.

I gave up eating crap pizza when I moved to Seattle almost nineteen years ago. Correction, I stopped paying for crap pizza almost nineteen years ago. If someone else wanted to pay for crap pizza and offered me a slice, I would gladly accept it. I also still buy the occasional frozen Red Baron or Tombstone Pizza (though I often add my own extra toppings). Lately I have been buying the My Brother's Pizza brand Four Cheese Chicago Style pizza from the QFC deli department, and dress it up with toppings like Canadian Bacon and Pineapple, or Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mushroom. I like to top it off with balls of fresh mozzarella. I do this when I am too lazy to go buy pizza-by-the-slice, but too broke to order delivery.

I find that all I need these days to be sated are two, sometimes three slices. of pizza. Since I have been in the home, I have thrown more pizza away than eaten it because I when I have ordered out for pizza, after a couple slices, the remaining pizza will sit in the nurse's station refrigerator for a week before I finally tell them to toss it. (With my condition I cannot count on having an appetite on any given day. That could be remedied if I was legally allowed to smoke weed).

Until I moved to Seattle, I had never heard of places outside of New York City where you could buy pizza-by-the-slice. I grew up in and around Olympia and the closest we had to pizza-by-the-slice was the personal pizzas at the 4th Avenue Tavern (a damned fine pizza it was). When I moved to Seattle, specifically Capitol Hill, there were four places within my neighborhood that I could get pizza by the slice (there are other places in other neighborhoods, but somehow Capitol Hill had the best).

Rocket Pizza (the best at the time, in my opinion), went out of business about ten years ago (the The Stranger says that it has reopened in Ballard and calls itself Crash Landing Pizza). They were unique in that they had slices of pepperoni, I swear, the size of sliced bologna ,and often they had odd (to me) toppings like asparagus and red potatoes. They would also sell me large balls of uncooked dough for $1.50 each, which I would take home and toss my own pizzas.

Another long gone place was Abruzzi's Pizza, which was torn down around 1992 to make room for a Nike Town. It was one of the last places where you could stand on the sidewalk and watch them hand toss the pizza in the window. I can't remember if the pizza was any good, but the place had atmosphere. It was probably the closest thing we had to Sal's Pizza, the pizzeria in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. According to Nancy Leson, the restaurant reviewer for the Seattle Times, the former owners of Abruzzi's have returned after a fifteen year absence to open a new Abruzzi's somewhere in distant South Seattle.

Hot Mama's Pizza, almost literally a hole in the wall, opened up just before I moved out of the neighnorhood. Its pros were that it was right around the corner from my apartment and was open until at least two in the morning, so it was a good place to go after a night of drinking (but so was Dick's and Taco Bell). Its cons was that it was kitty corner from Bill's Off Broadway, which was about 150 feet closer to my apartment and a much better place to eat or get take out (plus if I wrote a check it could take days for them to cash it, so I could often eat up to a week before payday, if I timed it right).

Finally there was/is Pagliacci's Pizza. Pizza-by-the-slice is available on Broadway on Capitol Hill, The Ave in the U-District, lower Queen Anne, Bellevue, and two places on the University of Wshington campus and they deliver to almost everywhere in "Greater Seattle" incliding the Eastside.

Though, I admit there are a couple pizza places I'd rather go for a sit down with a whole pie (sorry Jason), if I want a pizza delivered or just want to get ppizza-by-the-slice, Pagliacci's is the best I have tried. In the nineteen years I have been eating their pizza (I figure I have eaten Pagliacci's pizza either as delivery or by the slice over 300 times and have spent maybe $4,000 over the years) they have always been consistent. In all those times they might have screwed up one pizza, but were quick to rectify the issue.

I've had delivery from Zeek's, Mad Pizza and Amante's but still prefer Pagliacci's.

My two favorite pizza places in Seattle are Pazzo's and The Wallingford Pizza House. Both remind me of Luigi's. The Wallingford Pizza House, besides having an amazing thin crust pizza, they sell a great Chicago-style deep dish pizza (similiar to My Brothers Pizza and the long closed Testa Rosa) and have a unique item called "The Dome." Sort of an inverted pot pie or bottomless calzone. The WPH puts the "toppings" of your choice in a bowl, cover it with a pizza dough and bake it till done. When they serve it they flip it upside down so you can get at the toppings.

I have had pizza-by-the-slice in other neighborhoods, none of which are as good as Pagliacci. Pudge Brothers in Wallingford, Pizza Brava in the University District, and A New York Pizza Place in Maple Leaf all have servicable, but unremarkable slices.

A recent trend in Seattle has been the explosion of "authentic" Neapolitan pizzerias that are sanctioned by the city of Naples, Italy. La Vita E Bella in Belltown is the best of these that I have been. Tutta Bella, in Wallingford and Columbia City are OK, but I find the crust too chewy )ditto the Hi-Life in Ballard. I am still hoping to try Via Tribunali, another "authentic" Neapolitan pizzeria on Capitol Hill. Why can't we get an authentic Sicilian pizzeria?).

I like the pizza at the Garage Pool Hall and Bowling Alley, and the extremely thin-crust pizza at Palomino. Piecora's on Capitol Hill and Pete's Pizza in the U-District were, and may still be good, but I haven't been to either in over 15 years. I actually went to Pete's for the first time in 1982, (Holy Shit! That was 27 years ago!!) when I came to up to Seattle to see The Who play at the King Dome. At Pete's I was introduced to shrimp as a topping (yummy!)

When I lived in Wedgewood, actually closer to Lake City, I'd sometimes order from Romio's, which is more of a Greek-style pizza (there are several locations around the city). It's OK but I usually order their sandwiches, which are really good, because, though I love their toppings, I hate Greek-Style pizza crusts (they tend to be greasier and chewier than Italian-style pizza). I've also eaten t the Greek-style Olympia's Pizza in Wallingford and on Capitol Hill, and Olympic Pizza on Roosevelt. Again, they are allright, but if I go to any of them I'd rather order the pasta.

The Northlake Tavern, located between the U-District and Fremont makes a pretty decent pizza. The crust is just O.K., but if you like toppings they give you a ton.

The only bad pizza I have had since moving to Seattle is Madame K's Pizza, which the critics love but I think is dreadful. The one time I ate there it tasted like crap (the mushrooms were from a can and I think they dumped the can, water and all, on top of the pizza after it came out of the oven). Actually, Jet City Pizza was pretty bad too but I can't remember why (it was delivered, so they either screwed up the order or overcooked the pie).

Other places of note that I have been: Dirty Dave's in Lacey tasted just like Shakey's but was pretty much a biker bar and a good place to be drunk (as long you have a designated driver). Serrano's Pizza in San Francisco's Mission District is very good for a slice or a whole pie, and the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory in both Dublin, Ireland and Paris, France were great when I went there in 1990.

There are still pizza places I want to go, not just in Seattle (too many to mention), but one of these days I would like to go to New York City (Grimaldi's, Lombardi's, Totonno's, and Ray's) and Chicago (Gino's East, Uno Chicago Grill, and Giordano's).

I have eaten so much pizza in my life and must have spent about $10,000 on it and it is only about third or fourth on my list of favorite foods (#1 Steak/Prime Rib/Pork Chops. #2 Sushi, #3 Pizza or Hamburgers).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Crazy Fucking Old People

I just has a visit from this old man named Jack, who I can't stand because he yells at the nurses and often yells and pounds people's doors in the middle of the night. Tonight he was convinced my roommate, Marlin, whom, when I last checked, is a man, was Jack's wife. He ordered me to keep my hands off her or he'd beat my ass. There have been so many times I wish I could punch the S.O.B. in the face, but I think if I breathed on him he'd fall down dead.

Crazy Old Person Update 1: It is now 2:30 in the morning and for the fourth time tonight Jack has burst uninvited into my room. The crazy old fuck was standing over my bed when I woke up. I had to practically scream at him to get him to leave. Maybe I should ignore it; like I said, he is pretty old. But he is also one mean son of a bitch and he seems to me to be the violent type. I am at least fifty years younger than him and if healthy I think I could take him (though I haven't been in a fight since Junior High). But being as I can't run or walk away, and he can, I am at a distinct disadvantage. I hate to admit it, but Jack scares me and makes me feel unsafe here. I will complain tomorrow, but I will probably be told I should be more understanding if the demented. If that is indeed the answer I get, I may take this to the next level, meaning contacting the State. This wouldn't happen if thi place wasn't so woefully understaffed.

Crazy Old Person Update 2: 5:15 a.m. The fucker did it again. When I yelled at him to "Get the fuck out of my room you demented old bastard!" (I can be a colorful character too!) the nurse on duty said to me "He wanders around at night. What do you want from us? We can't watch him every second." If I get that answer from the head nurse in a few hours I will contact the State. I probably could use some psychological warfare on him, a combination of passive-aggression and could old-fashioned name calling, to point of making him cry (and considering I haven't got any sleep tonight, that sounds like fun) I will avoid taking to him. I don't want to be accused of abusing him.

Final update on this subject today: It is now 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. It had been more than 24 hours since I slept. I complained to the head nurse about Jack and her solution was to move me to another room. I told her that was bullshit (not in those words), that I should not have to accommodate his insanity when I ave been here for a year and a half and Jack has been here for a couple months. I said if it happens again tonight I will contact the State. I'm not kidding around. (And I am really tired).

A blog (and movie) worth your time

My friend Paul has a blog that reviews books and films most of us have never heard of, but he makes them sound worth seeking out. Lately he has been reviewing classic examples of Film Noir that the Seattle International Film Festival organization has been showing. Unfortunately the most recent, and most interesting sounding, film is not yet available on DVD.

In related news, one of my all time favorite movies, Our Man In Havana, has finally been released on DVD in glorious wide-screen black and white. Like the films Paul had reviewed, it too is a classic, though often overlooked, film noir. It was the last western film shot in Cuba before the embargo. It stars Alec Guinness as James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman struggling to pay his bills and whom dotes on his teenage daughter to the point of going broke fulfilling her every whim. In order to pay for the room and board of a horse she was given by her suitor, the villainous Chief of Police (Ernie Kovacs, in an Oscar worthy, but never nominated performance) Wormold takes a side job as the Cuban section chief for MI-5 (the British version of the CIA).Wormold, not wanting to be an actual spy, starts making up reports to send to England, basing his "operatives" on people he bumps into on the street. Soon, these strangers start to disappear, or worse, are murdered and Wormold must try to fix things and get himself and his daughter out of the country before it's too late. Written by Graham Greene, based on his novel, and directed by Carol Reed (both whom made the classic The Third Man) Our Man In Havana costars Maureen Ohara, Noel Coward, and in another underrated performance, Burl Ives, Our Man in Havana is a movie worth your time.

And the Oscar goes to...

Last night's Oscars were the first Academy Awards I didn't watch in the past 40+ years. I could have watched it on the HDTV out front with the old folks, but I was not interested. First of all, the only movie nominated this year for anything that I saw was The Dark Knight (and I saw that on DVD). Heath Ledger won, for Best Supporting Actor, as expected, for his portrayal of the Joker, and as I've said before, would he have even been nominated had he not died?). Second of all, Hugh Jackman was the host. Hugh Jackman? Maybe if he had to host the show as Wolverine it would have been worth watching, but outside any of the characters he plays, he does not have much personality or gravitas.

From the reviews I read this morning, the show was the worst produced and executed Oscars ever. Trying to appeal to the youth market by turning the show into American Idol was a bad idea. Say what you want, but the Oscars always had a bit more dignity than the Golden Globes (where often many of the winners had been drinking, since the show has an open bar).

I also think that there are so many award shows now leading up to the Oscars (the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, People's Choice, Blockbuster, BAFTA, the Independent Spirit, MTV Movie Awards etc.) that by the time we get to the Oscars, there is award show fatigue. But even so, the Oscars always stood apart from the other shows. They seemed dignified compared to the other shows, especially wen they had a good host like Johnny Carson or Steve Martin. I use dignified very loosely, because the Oscars always find a way to embarrass themselves, from truly terrible production numbers (such as an interpretive dance company paying tribute to the best song category) or the year that Rob Lowe appeared on stage as some anonymous woman portraying Snow White to do a dance number and present an award (I can't remember if this happened right before or right after Rob Lowe's sex tape).

As I have gotten older, and have seen less of the movies nominated before they appear on DVD or cable, I have found less reason to watch the show. The past couple years I have watched, much like the Super Bowl, for the commericals. But the commercials during the Oscars are never quite as good as the Super Bowl (for one they have a rule against ads for movies, which often are my favorite commercials).

My favorite part of the show has always been the "In Remembrance" section, where tribute is paid to those in Hollywood who died since the last Oscars. But it's only three minutes out of a three hour plus show and really should be half-hour special in itself.

Unless there is a compelling reason to watch next year, like I am passionate about some nominated film, or there is someone intriguing hosting the show, I will once again give the Oscars a pass. As I get older, three hours of my life is not worth wasting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Had she lived, today my mother would have been 68, which is still younger than most of my fellow residents here at the home. I miss her, but I missed her more when things were going good with me. After I graduated college, not long after her death, my friend Geoff and I traveled around Europe (a long story in itself) and every time I visited a new city in a new country I wanted to write or call her because I got to go to many of the places she dreamed of going to (I regret never getting around to visiting Australia or New Zealand). Even when I moved to Seattle there were times when things were good or even when I had a good meal at a good restaurant that I wanted to share that with my Mom, and when things got bad and sometimes (financially) scary, I missed having my Mom's place to go back to.

My Mom passed away six months before I graduated college. She was two months away from being 49 years old (not five years older than I am now and I am in sorrier shape than she was at her age).

On January 15th, or 16th (I used to remember) I went to my Mom's place to do laundry. I had last seen my Mom on Saturday afternoon, in the parking lot of where she worked. It had only been a couple weeks, if that, since she had visited a hospital in San Francisco to have a then experimental procedure to have one of two aneurysms removed, the second was to be removed a week after I last saw her. She should have been resting. But she was a workaholic and, though I found her job boring, she really enjoyed what she did. (She was a systems analyst for the State of Washington and she wrote the software that made sure everyone got paid on time). Oh, and the last time I saw her, the reason I met her in the parking lot, was because she was outside smoking with a friend. It is surprising that, considering how much she smoked, it wasn't the cause of her illness or death.

That was the last time I saw her. The last time I spoke to her was a few hours later when she called to invite me and my roommates over for dinner (which she had never done before). Unfortunately I told her I couldn't. Our former roommate, "Poff," who graduated the year before (another long and humorous story) was in town that weekend and we had a party planned. I felt guilty, but I was looking forward to the party, and looking forward to getting closer to a girl who would be there (I did, but not as far as I'd like and it's not a very interesting story). Anyway, I blew off my Mom and partied all night (it was one of the best parties we through and of the two and a half years I lived with these guys, we seemed to throw a party almost every night).

So Sunday I recovered and cleaned up the mess from the night before and nursed a hangover by smoking lots of pot all day. Monday I took my laundry to my Mom's. I assumed she would be at work. Her pickup was in the driveway, but lately she had been carpooling so at first I thought nothing of it. I figured she was at work or asleep (it was around eight in the morning).

I was on my second load when all of a sudden I heard a jackhammer outside. Suddenly I had a weird feeling. If my Mom was there, she couldn't possibly sleep through the noise. I headed upstairs with a sick feeling in my stomach. I found my Mom under the covers in her bed. Her body felt cold and hard. I don't know how much time passed, but eventually I called 911, and then my roommates (Paul, Ethan, and Geoff). The medics arrived pretty fast followed by my roommates, and former roommates Poff and Erik. It sounds weird, but we went to Denny's before going back to school. Many friends (special thanks to Dave and Tanya) came over to express condolences and offer their help, and as much as I wanted to break down and cry, I didn't have time because I had a lot of work ahead of me. (I did wind up spending about an hour in my room, listening to Jimi Hendrix's "Hear My Train A Coming," from the Concerts album, over and over again at a high volume, thinking about my Mom, and trying to make myself cry, but I couldn't). When I emerged from my room my head was clearer and I could deal with what lay ahead.

First, I had to get my Mom's (now my) stuff out of her apartment within 48 hours (according to the landlord who was completely unsympathetic. On reflection I should never have called him and just wrte a chek for the rent). I wound up packing as much stuff in storage that I thought I wanted to keep and gave the rest to the Salvation Army. I am sure that I wound up giving away stuff I would have wanted to keep if I had time to examine every little thing.

I was fortunate that my Mom had very good friends from work who arranged a wake that was held at the grange hall at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. When I attended I was amazed to see so many people (at least 50). When they were giving testimonials I had to leave, I just couldn't listen without breaking down. A few days later I was given her ashes, in a maroon plastic box, by the funeral home. Since she was a veteran the cremation was paid for by the Navy, and I got a very large American Flag, that would have gone on her coffin had we had a military funeral.

I took her ashes to a spot in the Skokomish River, near Shelton, where my Mom took me to fish when I was a child, and where a few weeks before her death we had discussed as a final resting place for her). What used to be a heavily wooded area across from a very small church, was now the beginning of a housing development, across the very same church. What used to be a long walk into the woods to get to the river, was now a couple feet from the side of the road (they had rerouted the river for the development). As I tossed her ashes into the river and I learned that human ashes do not resemble fireplace ashes at all. Some of it floats, and some sink to the bottom. I wished I would have taken her ashes to Potlach, where she used to take me to get rock clams and oysters. The ashes would have blended better. I wound up fling the box far out into the middle of the river. (I know it was littering, but what do you do with a plastic box that contained someones ashes?)

It wasn't until about seven years later, when I was having a breakdown over being dumped by someone when the feelings around the death of my Mom finally got to me. I cried over it for a few days. Then just got mad at my friend who dumped me and got on with my life.

I miss my Mom. Though, while growing up, particularly as a teen, I don't think we connected very well. She didn't raise a finger to stop me from dropping out of high school and let me mooch off her until I was 24. But I also remember that when I was much younger, she was there for my Little League games, keeping score for my team, and helped me get my Tiger, Wolf, and Bear badges in the Cub Scouts (I eventually became a Webelo but when my parents divorced and we moved I didn't join a new den).

I often wonder, had my Mom lived, how my life would have been different. I had intended to apply to graduate school, and I did, to one (University of British Columbia) but my heart wasn't as into it as it would have been had she lived. I would have applied to more places in hopes of being accepted. I wanted to make her proud. But instead I lived off her retirement and insurance for two years, acting the part of an "Independent Filmmaker" and sitting on my ass until the money ran out, discovering too late I didn't have much in the way of marketable skills (the only jobs I had had in the past is deliver pizzas and perform work study for the library at The Evergreen State College (and to my disappointment found hat I would need a Master's in Library Science to get a job at the public library).

Anyway, today would have been my Mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In Search of Bagel Dogs

There is a small grocery store near the UW, (for those that know the area, next to the college in and Cafe Allegro) that used to sell Dr. Stein's Bagle Dogs (particulrly the Jumbo Smoky Polish Dog). I used to eat them whenever I could, often one for breakfast and one for lunch. The picture aabove is pretty representative of what the look like. I would hold the dog in one hand and a squeeze bottle of French's mustard in the other, setting the mustard down long enough to take a swig of milk, sweet iced tea, or Dr. Pepper. But one time I went to the store to buy one, not only did they get rid of the Bagel Dogs, they got rid of all frozen and refridgerated food to make way for more beer and potato chips. I have tried contacting the source, but they don't answer their emails. If anyone runs across some at a store, please let me know. and we will figure out a way to get them to me. I want to buy a few cases and I am in desperate need of protein that is easily microwaved.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm In The Money (Sort Of)

I found out today that income tax returns and stimulus checks are exempt from participation fees so I don't have to hand it over to Park Ridge (no such luck regarding retirement). I am going to get $930 back, and though I am tempted to buy an HDTV, I will instead pay a few small bills then save the rest for food. Lord knows how long I will be here, but at least, if I am careful, I can eat reasonably well for a couple more months. I plan on going out for one decadent meal (not as expensive as the Met, but I would like to get a fat steak somewhere).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm Free (at least part of me is)

I saw my infectious disease doctor today, a very nice man by the way...I should ask him if he can prescribe pot for me) and he took the IV line out of my arm. Yay! No more IVs! No more antibiotics (except for one pill). Now to concentrate on getting in and out of my chair then find a way out of this place. I found out that using my retirement to get and furnish an apartment won't risk my Medicaid. I just need to know that it won't effect my disability check. I am also waiting t find out if I can take my Income Tax and spend it however I want (I want an HDTV) rather than hand it over to the home.

The Kid Is Back

It is official, Ken Griffey Jr. signed with the Mariners this morning. I celebrated this event by signing him to my Fantasy Baseball team which was already loaded with Mariners, including Ichiro, Jose Lopez, Felix Hernandez, Brandon Morrow, and Geoff Clement. I also have former Mariners J.J. Putz, Gil Meche, and Raul Ibanez. And my team (The Evergreen Stoners) also has Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, Hideki Matsui, Kazuo Matsui, Carlos Pena, Josh Beckett, and two pitchers I haven't heard of but their numbers are good. This, by the way, was an almost random draft (I just put Ichiro and Felix at the tops of my list prior to the draft, but other than that it was totally random). I almost tried going for an all Japanese team, but I would be downgrading some of the positions just for the novelty.

The last time I played Fantasy Baseball was 20 years ago and I won the pennant. I played Fantasy Football this last season with people from the Stranger and had I not missed three consecutive weekends in the hospital I could have easily won. I have the advantage of having nothing better to do than check injury reports and statistics. I probably shouldn't have so many Mariners on my team and I probably shouldn't have cut someone to make room for Griffey, but I do have some home town loyalty.

With Griffey coming back I believe more people will go to games this year than would have gone had he not signed. Granted it will be for the novelty or nostalgia. With today's economy it is difficult for me to justify spending a lot of money to see a team that has a better than 50% chance of losing the game, no matter how much I like Safeco Field. I say I will go to a game, but I think I have to leave this dump first because the "cheap seats" are now almost $30, and infield seats are up to $75 (double the price of what they were when I last went to a game in 2003). I will try to see a game early in the season before he does something to hurt himself. I don't see him playing in the outfield as much as him being the DH, so I have a little more faith in him (and his surgically repaired knee).

UPDATE: According to the P-I, the Mariners have already sold 16,000 additional individual tickets since the news broke and the official clothing company that makes jerseys has been working through the night to have official Ken Griffey, Jr. jerseys on the shelves by this morning. (I know I want one).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Respect

I had to see a counselor today because I said the word "fuck" today. I could have said a lot more. Once again I got screwed out of something I own and can't afford to replace. First someone breaks my XBOX360 while I am almost dying in the hospital (and since there were no witnesses the home refuses to take responsibility). Last week a nursing assistant absent mindlessly knocked my travel mug off a table, breaking it, rendering it useless except to use as a dribble glass. Now someone decided to take my jacket to the laundry without asking me, and without emptying the pockets, so now I have lost my pocket watch, pocket knife, and the key to my drawer with my valuables. The laundry says they don't have them. Did the nursing assistant steal them? I would hope not, but I am sick of the total lack of regard for patients personal property. I can't afford to replace these items. This "fucking" place only leaves me $17 a month of my disability check (not the $57 they are supposed to, like $57 isn't insulting enough).

I have told them in therapy they better have me ready to leave this dump by June 1st or I am going to lose it.

UPDATE: The laundry found my watch and knife and they say they will replace my coffee mug. They still won't replace the XBOX360.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Semi Day Off From Posting

Yesterday's post was so long I have next to nothing to say today. For the past 24 hours I had my legs wrapped to reduce the swelling and it seems to be working. It would be nice if the swelling disappeared.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An open letter to Sara E and Other Old Friends: the Story So Far

(An old friend from college (The Evergreen State College 1990), Sara E., wrote to my Facebook page, but due to the ridiculous security here at the home, I was unable to write her back. She says that she reads the blog, so if you will indulge me, I am going to take this opportunity to write her back and bring her up to speed on how I came to be in this home).

Hi Sara,

Please say Hi to Rolf. I used to run into Marc once and awhile but we lost touch. some time ago . It's too bad because he was a real nice guy. I haven't seen Dave since he moved to L.A. about 12 years ago. Through the alumni newsletter I heard he worked on Sphere and he has an impressive list of credits at the Imdb doing technical work but I haven't heard of him since. I had an address for him for a long time and wanted to write him, but so much happened so fast with me and my situation kept changing and not much of it was good, so I didn't feel like writing just to tell him how much my life was sucking. We stopped hanging out because at the the time neither one of us was having much luck in life and we were just bringing each other further down. Still, I do miss him. No one laughed like him. I see he does have a Facebook account if you are interested. When I get to a Wi-Fi spot that allows me access I'll try to contact him through Facebook. I see Chris Lucas has a page too and it's been at least ten years since I exchanged email, when he and Julie had their first baby. In the past 19 years I have been to a few weddings and have seen several of my friends have kids. I envy them, but I wouldn't wish the burden of me off on anybody.

You are welcome to pass my information on to Meghan and Jenn but I would be surprised if either wanted to get in touch with me. From what Dave said neither one of them liked me that much and Meghan pretty much told him I was a loser. I wish I could have proved that her perception was wrong. It's funny that Jenn is working as a librarian because I have thought about getting my Master's in Library Science. My goal would be to be an archivist, either for a record or movie company. I need to see if there is anyway I can get financial assistance since I am now disabled.

For the first two years out of college I lived on the insurance from my Mother's death and acted the part of an independent filmmaker. I spent $50,000 making a 15 minute film that I could make today with my camcorder and computer for free. Watching the film makes me cringe a bit, but it is usually well received and was good enough to get me a couple local jobs (Associate Producer for a short that was shown at the 1992 New York and Berlin Film Festivals, and a couple local music videos, one for a major label).

I learned three things during this time, a) don't spend your own money making a movie. b) never pay your friends to work for you (no matter what you pay them they still work on "friend time" and when the money runs out they bail on you), and c) I am not a schmoozer. I don't have a head for business or self promotion and without those skills I couldn't get anywhere in the film business. Plus, I was unwilling to move to Los Angeles at the time. I've often fantasized that had I moved to L. A. when I had the chance, and the type of people and scene I would have gravitated towards, maybe I would have became part of the group that created Mr. Show. If I had to do it over again, I would have concentrated on writing and tried my hand at writing sitcoms and/or sketch comedy.

Anyway when my money ran out I had to go to work, so after a series of health endangering and emotionally depleting customer service jobs for companies such as Ticketmaster, Eddie Bauer, & Microsoft, and a couple stints working for small businesses run by less than scrupulous businessmen, and a couple long-term temp jobsm I finally wised up and started working at the University of Washington. The first eight years I was on loan to the assistant editor to Reviews of Modern Physics, a quarterly physics journal. My boss Karie was a most fantastic and generous boss and I was given a lot of responsibility. For eight years it was pretty much just the two of us. The Physics department was not the friendliest place to work and they didn't do much socializing, In 2006 both Karie and the Editor retired and so I moved from Physics over to the front office of the Chemistry department. Whereas my time in physics was mostly a solitary experience, at Chemistry I made a lot of friends. But my boss the first year I was in chemistry was high strung and kind of nuts, but she was eventually replaced with my boss Nancy, who was also very nice and understanding regarding my health (even though she no longer works at the UW, she still keeps in touch with me). The boss I had between her and Karie, Shannon, actually gave me my one and only "Unacceptable" service review because she penalized me for the time I missed from work while recovering from my kidney transplant. Even if Igot healthy enough to go back to work I would not go back to Chemistry because the person who would be my new boss, Kim, was Shannon's protoge and equally as high strung.

Anyway, that's what I was doing for the past 19 years, but I should back up and tell you about how I eventually wound up in this God forsaken nursing home at the age of 44 (now 45).

In 2000 I had what I thought was back pain. Coincidentally I had a doctors appointment the next day, and as soon as my blood pressure was taken I was immediatley checked into the hospital. My blood pressure was through the roof and my back ache turned out to be an angina. I had an angioplasty and at that time the doctors discovered that my kidneys were shot and that I was eventually going to need a transplant. I wound up on dialysis four hours day, three times a week, on top of working 40 hours a week). During this time I also had a few other heart problems, including a second angioplasty.

I finally got a transplant the summer of 2006. Things seemed to finally get back to normal, I returned to work after just a couple weeks of recovery, but by the next summer my kidney was failing. Despite having insurance, I could not afford the anti-rejection medication needed to maintain my new kidney (even with insurance it was $1,000 a week). I went into the hospital and they were able save my kidney, but I wound up with this disease called calciphylaxis, which you can read about here. (They also gave me MERSA and Ecoli, but whatever). The amount of time I was stuck in bed caused my muscles to atrophy and ever since I have been stuck in a wheelchair and in this nursing home, trying to learn to walk again. Every time I have come close to being well enough or independent enough to leave, something happens to knock me back to square one. Back in October I had a full blown heart attack and had double bypass surgery. I worked my way back up to the level of fitness I was before, then over Christmas I wound up getting double pneumonia, sepsis, and a pulmonary bacteria infection. I found out later I almost died. Considering the hallucinations I was having the first three days in the hospital, at the time, I was begging them to put me out of my misery, but by day four I ws thinking more clearly, and by day six I was eager to get the hell out of there. Despite the fact I was only in the hospital for six days, this last illness took so much out of me that now, two months later, I still haven't fully recovered and am not independent enough to leave.

So here I lay. While recovering in the hospital this last time I was officially "retired "from the UW. (I say retired because I have the option of taking my retirement out in monthly payments, but 10 years of service does not garner any benefits. It was my intention of working there until I was 67).

I haven't taken my retirement money out yet because the nursing home will pounce on it. They take every cent I have, no matter how much it is. If I make $1,700 (which I do) they take all but $50. If I got and additional $600 a month, they would raise my "participation fee" and take that too. Also, if I ws to get more than $2,000 a month I would automatically lose Medicaid, which is all the health insurance I have at the moment. When I get better, I can reapply to work for the UW within the next two years and keep my seniority (but there might not be any job openings if the economy is still bad when I am better). It would be nice if I can find something with health insurance, but I would also like to spend some time going to school, possibly retraining for a different job.

I am now faced with the prospect of trying to find a place to live on my $1,700 disability check (Seattle rents average more than $1,000 a month). On top of that it has to be wheelchair accessible. When I am about to get out of here I will have to take my retirement out so I can afford deposits and such. I'll also have to spend it immediately and reapply for Medicaid because you are not allowed to have more than $2,000 a month saving and be on Medicaid. Ideally I can go back to the UW, even pasrt time, and get my medical insurance baxk (or Obama will do something in thr nrxt couple years to fix the system).

The worst part about living in this nursing home, where I have now been for 15 months, is all the demented old people. It is next to impossible to sleep when every few seconds one of the "zombies" starts yelling "Help!" Often, when you ask them why they are yelling "Help", they respond that they want a Kleenex, or something else trivial. The nurses have learned to tune out their cries. God help them if they ever really need help. It is probably why it took someone a half hour to answer my alarm when I was having my heart attack.

Anyway, it is great to hear from you Sara. It sounds like you've had some great adventures these past (Wow, almost 20 years!). Hopefully I will be back on my feet, or at least out of this place soon, and re-acess what I can do with the rest of my life. 45 years old "should be" a long way from being old and I hope that I can finally do something that leaves a mark on the world. This blog, may someday be just a way of keeping notes for an eventual book on what life in a nursing home is like (if people still read books in the future).

One of my best friends lives in Santa Monica and someday I hope to come visit her. If I do I hope to see you too.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday, another slow day

As slow as this day seems to have gone, I wish I had another day off. But the home isn't run like the State. We don't get President's Day off. I have been feeling pretty sick and tired this weekend and eating makes me feel even worse.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

It was a pretty slow day. I had coffee with Paul and then sat around and watched TV. Other than that, there is nothing to report. No therapy. No cooking. No nothing. Last night I finally blew up at Marlin because he said something snippy to me, so I unloaded on him about everything about him that I find annoying. The good thing about his Alzheimers is today he doesn't remember me doing it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Lord, save me from these crazy old people!

Today was Valentine's Day. It has now been 45 consecutive years without a girlfriend on Valentines Day. Hell, except for the few weeks before and after the Los Angeles riots, it has been 45 years without a girlfriend period.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Something going around

I must of sneezed a couple dozen times and now I have a sore throat. There is always some virus or bug that circulates in a nursing home. I remember this time last year a real bad flu swept through the home and lasted a couple of months. I was one of the last people to get it and it was pretty nasty. This doesn't feel that bad, I could just be run down. I have felt mentally, emotionally, and physically drained all week. I had about forty minutes of therapy today and my heart wasn't in it. I wound up going to bed at 3 p.m. and woke up around 6 p.m. There was no reason I needed to stay up. There was no activity to keep me occupied (I wish my XBOX360 still worked). My dumb-ass roommate Marlin spends 20 hours a day in bed, only getting up for meals. A few minutes ago they had to practically drag him to the shower (considering he pisses all over himself a couple times a day, I am happy they did it). If he were not my roommate it would be easier to feel sympathy for him. He used to be a long haul truck driver, and now he barely has a working brain. As his roommate I am having to constantly yell at him to close the bathroom door, or, when he his finished, shut the light off so the neighbors, whom he shares the bathroom with, no he is out and that they can use the restroom. He also leaves his wheelchair in front of the door, blocking the exit, and a couple days ago I found him going through my stuff. (He also often walks around naked from the waist down except the black tube socks that seem to never leave his feet).

I made Tuna Casserole today. It was OK, but as exciting as it sounds.

Paul is visiting tomorrow so I have that to look forward to.

Finally a shout out to Nokenikus in Argentina who left a comment for me and asked that I link to his site.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So I Missed A Day

I intended posting something yesterday. It was a fairly unexciting day except that I made Macaroni & Cheese with Spam (I forgot how greasy it gets when it gets reheated). It was delicious though I have been queasy all day because I ate too much; so much that when I lied down last night I pretty much passed out (around 7 p.m.) and woke up around 2 a.m.

Other than going to the library to pick up some CDs on hold and watching a dog fashion show (this has probably been the high point of what passes as entertainment around here) nothing much happened except therapy, which has been cut back to even less time. I appreciate the time they can give me, but I feel discouraged that I am going to get any better while I am here. All I can hope is that I can soon get in and out of bed by myself. I have no doubt that sometime in the next year I will wind up in the hospital for some reason and once again find myself at square one, but I'm not going to worry about that now.

Tomorrow I may make tuna casserole (I am a bit sick of Mac & Cheese).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's the cheesiest

As part of Occupational Therapy I used a hot plate to boil noodles for some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. It was perfect. It had been probably sixteen months since I'd made it and i was afraid the noodles would be under or overcooked, but they turned out just right. While at QFC, I also got the ingredients for Macaroni & Cheese & Spam, and Tuna casserole, and wound up getting a big glass bowl and lid at Goodwill so I could cook them in the microwave, but I didn't want to tie up the therapy office's microwave for 30 minutes. I am going to try to get the kitchen to cook my noodles then do the nuking when no one needs the oven.

The only other thing of note today was that it snowed pretty hard this morning but it didn't stick. I was stuck out in it for a little bit and I hope I didn't catch a cold.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another Day Wasted

I spent all day at Virginia Mason having doctors appointments. Four in total. All of them lasted five minutes each, just long enough for each doctor to tell me I am doing fine. Still, my ride was over two hours late picking me up. The ride home was a bit of an adventure because it started hailing all of a sudden and it was hard seeing out the window. The ride home took twice as long. I am glad to be bed, but I can't seem to warm up.

While I was in one of the waiting rooms I perused Seattle Magazine. Back in the 1960s there was an excellent magazine of the same name that had great articles written by people such as Tom Robbins. The new magazine is geared towards people in town that make six figures minimum. One of the adds that caught my eye was for a high rise that advertised a suite (actually an entire floor) for $5 million. I can't imagine having so much money to spend that much money on an apartment, no matter ho nice it is. Maybe if I was an ultra-wealthy shut-in like Howard Hughes.

Occupational therapy is going to let me use the burner (hot plate) to cook something so I am debating between Kraft Mac & Cheese or real Mac & Cheese with Spam.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Forty Five Minutes to Cook a Hot Dog?

Today was almost as nice as yesterday. After getting up at ten I had some coffee (I think I am using to much grounds) watched some golf on the HDTV in the lobby. The crazies around here were getting on my last nerve and there seemed to be no place to escape. I went to QFC and browsed until I bought some half & half and air freshener, then a little later went to the Pinehurst Pub, this time for the pork chop (the first one I have had in roughly 20 months (fuck I have been here a long time). It was very tasty, though I wished I had two of them. There sure were a lot of people drinking beer at 11:00 a.m.

When I got back to the home I kept trying to find a quiet space to think, read, or whatever. My room was uninviting because my roommate, Marlin, was laying on top of his sheets, snoring away, wearing nothing but a diaper, a t-shirt, and black socks.

I wound up going up to the Crest Movie Theater (which I hadn't been to since Resevoir Dogs came out) and saw a movie (the first movie I've seen in a theater since Grindhouse). I saw the James Bond movie A Quantum of Solace. As an action film it is top notch, but the scenes between the action didn't seem to advance the story that much. 007 Nerds, like me, know that the evil organization that Bond is up against is SPECTRE and the top man is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but none of this information was revealed in the movie. I didn't wait to see if, at the end of the credits, we get the usual "James Bond Will Return..." (The IMdb does not list an upcoming Bond film). I will probably get the DVD when it shows up used or real cheap and watch it again.

Prior to going to th Crest I stopped in to 7-Eleven to get a quarter-pound Big Bite (hot dog) but the guy said he just put them on and it takes 45 minutes to cook them to temperature. 45 minutes! A casserole takes 45 minutes. a hot dog should take next to nothing.

Anyway, the movie was OK but I was very dissapointed that the theater did not have a ramp for wheelchairs. I wound up sitting next to the last row. And then later I found out the bus runs every hour on Sundays, so I wheeled myself home in 40° weather and was freezing by the time I got back.

Right now I am feeling a bit sick to my stomach from popcorn and coffee.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A good day

Today was a pretty good day, even though they didn't get me out of bed until eleven. Still, it wound up being nicer than expected. I didn't have any blood draws, IVs, or therapy sessions, so I had the whole day to do what I wanted. I started the day doing crossword puzzles and searching random topics on the net (patron saints, state birds, the Zodiac killer, etc.) and randomly entering names of friends and family members to see what internet presence they have. Some of my friends, as extraordinary people that they are, have extremely pedestrian names (i.e. Julie Wilson, a friend I haven't seen in five years). I have an Aunt that I periodically look for, Jackie Holybee, whom I haven't seen in 19 years, she may have gotten married and changed her name, but she doesn't show up. I have much better luck when person's first or last name is not so common. I typed in the names of some friends with more unique sounding names, and found a couple of them, though the trails were a bit cold. I did find one former friend, someone I haven't spoken to in a dozen years or so, and whom I knew was a somewhat successful writer in the Bay Area. I found out she got married six months ago (her wedding photos were on Flickr). She looked pretty much the same, though somehow taller. I looked through the pictures to see if I recognized anyone besides the bride, (specifically the aforementioned Julie Wilson) but didn't see any familiar faces.

After watching the latest episode of The Closer (which I missed on Monday because it was up against a new episode of Heroes) I headed out to the library. While waiting for the bus a hearse and funeral procession (I hoped this wasn't supposed to be an omen). There were a lot of cars in the procession, My first reaction was "This guy has a lot of friends." Then I noticed almost all the cars had only one person in them. Doesn't anyone carpool in this town? I hope when I go my friends will carpool. It should only take three cars, tops.

I caught the bus up to the library to pick up some stuff on hold and then after some debate (becuse my battery on my chair was near empty) I decided to go to the Pinehurst Pub for lunch. On the bus I met an interesting guy. I don't usually talk to people on the bus. I tend to mind my own business. But he was engaging and we had mutual interests. He gave me his email address, and I sent him one when I had the opportunity.

At the pub I was happy to see NY Steak on the specials board had one medium rare steak with fries (the picture above is a representation of what I had. The steak looks identical, but there was no Bearnaise sauce and their were a lot of crinkle-cut fries). It was heaven, I was tempted to order another one because I ate the first one so fast (the steaks I buy for myself at Whole Foods tend to be three times as thick with just a bit of fat on it. (I am tempted to go back tomorrow to see if it is one the menu again...they also had a porkchop on the menu, but I would want at least two). I later picked up a small My Brother's Pizza from QFC and had the kitchen cook it up for me (they did a pretty decent job cooking it). Half of it is in the refrigerator.

I hope tomorrow is as nice as it was today.

Friday, February 6, 2009


This has just been a blah day. After several days of sunny weather, Seattle once again turned gray and wet. It didn't rain that hard, just enough to be annoying if you went outside.

Today is the last day of the 100 days that Medicare A picked up my stay here so it's back to handing over all of my disability to the home. They will also be cutting back my therapy back by 25%. (This is on top of the fact that they already took my restorative therapy away). I am beginning to think I should give up on the goal of walking and just concentrating on getting just independent enough to get out of here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Michael Phelps has nothing to apologize for

I wish Michael Phelps hadn't apologized for being photographed smoking weed from a bong. I understand that he doesn't make his money from swimming, but from advertising, and had to appease his advertisers to keep the money rolling in. Still, at the moment, he still has some cache and instead of saying he was wrong an pulling out the old "youthful indiscretion" cliche, I wished he would have said that what he did out of the public eye is no one's business. That his "friend" taking the picture and selling it to the media is a dick. That he is sorry that he broke the law, but is more sorry that the law exists in the first place.

Marijuana is a perfectly safe "relaxant" and much less harmful than alcohol. Again and Again, studies from institutions ranging from universities to the government itself has said that marijuana is: less harmful to the mind and body than alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine and could not find a single person physically addicted. Unlike alcohol, Marijuana does not make people violent. The cases where Marijuana has been used by people, often gang members, in the commitment of murder, there were many other factors involved, such as a predilection of violence, use of alcohol, and use of "heavy drugs" such as PCP or cocaine. I have never read a story where a pothead has robbed someone, burglarized a home, or gone into prostitution to support their weed addiction.

They say pot is a "gateway drug." If that is true we need to ban anything that chemically alters the brain which might chemically the brain. Besides the aforementioned alcohol, tobacco, and coffee, we would need to add to the list: chocolate, sugar, great tasting food in general, art (including music, TV and Movies), love and orgasms. And don't forget spinning around in a circle. How many of us kids used to spend a Spring day, spinning around in a circle until we couldn't stand anymore, staring at the blue sky and white clouds as they teetered back and forth. It's a slippery slope from spinning in circles to laying in an alley with your pants down and a needle in your arm.

I admit that, in my 45 years, I have done more than just smoke pot. I will have an occasional cocktail, but, and my friends might be able to back me up, I don't think I have ever finished a bottle or glass of beer. I've never really liked the taste of booze. I can drink the sweet stuff like Amaretto, White Russians, or PiƱa Coladas or something similarly sweet and creamy. But even if I have one drink I will regret it the next day. I can get a hangover after half a beer. It's too bad. in a way. I like the culture. I love the smell of breweries and the idea of experimenting with a home brew kit sounds fun, but then I wouldn't know if it tastes any good. I like the idea of wine. I like looking at the labels. The red liquid in a clean clear glass is very pretty. But I am not a fan when it comes to drinking it. I have had an $80 bottle of wine and a $7 bottle and if I took a taste test, I couldn't say which is which (not true with champagne though, you really do get what you pay for).

In the early mid-nineties I hung with a crowd (most of which are still close friends) and we went through the whole dress up wine and cocktail parties. I myself went out and bought a bunch of acutrumant, an ice bucket, shaker, many martini glasses (almost of all of which were broken over time). These parties were fun, but they were a lot more fun when I switched to drinking a sift drink and taking a pipe hit. I would say that 90% of the crowd I hung out with smoked weed. And we all had good jobs and arrived on work on time and did our jobs well.

Though I had been offered weed when I was in the sixth grade, I didn't smoke weed until 1982, when I was 18. I was without a car at the time and really wanted to see the Who at the King Dome (Seattle) so I bought two tickets and gave one of them to an older guy in class who had a car. We had a great time. It was my first trip to Seattle without a parent (probably the third time I'd been ever) and we went to all theses cool places. We went to Peaches Records (now Petco or Petsmart) and Cellophane Square (when it was big and full of vinyl, CDs were several years away). We went to Goldie's in Wallingford. My friend, Jim, parked me in front of a Dig Dug machine while he went and got us a pitcher. Then we went to a pizza place around 50th & Roosevelt (there have been many pizza places in that same spot since then) and I had shrimp on a pizza for the first time. Later we headed off for the King Dome and I smoked pot for the first time. I didn't think it ad any effect at the time. From the movies I was expecting a lot of weirdness, but at most I had a pleasant buzz. We missed the Clash but managed to see the Who and the show was so loud that I missed the next two weeks of school because that's how long it took for my ears to stop ringing.

I didn't smoke pot again, or at least I didn't have the opportunity to, until I went to college full time in 1987 (age 23). Ever since I have smoked it when it was available. There were times where weed was everywhere and easy to find. If I didn't know "the guy" I knew a guy who knew "the guy." But there have been dry spells where I just can't find it and I don't want to go put in the street and try to score off some stranger. I have either lost contact with the guys who dealt, or the friends I had who knew people now have families and weed and babies don't mix. Except for two instances where I was gifted with a little weed in the past several months, it really has been a few years since I have been able to smoke regularly.

For me, weed is a useful tool. It enhances my appetite, which has been greatly diminished since I got sick. Music sounds better. TV or Videos are more interesting, and, though it has been years, orgasms have been greater. It helps fight the boredom, which right now is the state of my life. It is also the best pin killer I know.

Since my illness I have been given a wide variety of pain killers. Morphine, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, Codeine, Fentanyl, Vicodin, and finally Dilaudid. Fentanyl is a great anti-anxiety drug if administered intravenously, but orally, like almost all of the above, have little to know effect on me. I am not constantly in pain, but when my feet or my wounds are touched it hurts like hell. None of these drugs do anything to my mind and I have no desire to use them recreationaly.

Besides Marijuana I have experimented with a few other drugs, but Marijuana was not the gateway, because I always intended on trying these drugs if I had the opportunity.

In college, and once after, I did LSD a couple times. I also have done mushrooms about three or four times. These are true hallucinogens and the effects are what, as a kid, I thought Marijuana would be like. (Sometime when I am really at a loss for something to post I will write about my various "trips"). I also took Ecstasy a couple times in the early 90s. The first time I enjoyed it and the second time I didn't. The biggest reason I probably won't try LSD, Mushrooms, or Ecstasy again is because they are so time consuming. One of my LSD trips lasted nearly 24 hours, and the shortest trip on mushrooms was about eight hours.

I did experiment with nitrous oxide by sucking the gas out of Redi-Whip cans, then I bought whip cream maker and bought the chargers at one of the cooking stores. One time I thought I probably over did it, consuming 40 charges in the space of an hour, but I was probably exposed to more gas when I had my wisdom teeth out.

I have never had any desire to try cocaine, crack, heroin, or crystal meth because, as a rider of mass transit, I have seen the effects these drugs have on people. I admit there was a time where I would have tried cocaine if I had the guarantee that it would be accompanied by sex with a beautiful woman, but that opportunity never presented itself.

I had a roommate who said that if she were ever to have an incurable disease, or got really old, she would start smoking Opium. Since I do have an incurable disease I confess this is something I might be interested in. I did once have poppy seed tea, which was very relaxing, and if Opium was anything like that, I'd do it. But I bet Opium is even harder than finding weed (oh, and I did hash once to, but all hash is is the resin that drips from the Marijuana plant. Marginally more powerful than he plant itself).

Considering that every year there is a study that shows that more than 50% of high school students have smoked pot, at some point in the future, more than half the country will have tried pot and know the truth about pot.

If I had kids I would not recommend that they experiment with pot, but if they did I would hope they would, like I did, wait until they were adults and then be honest with me about it. But I am not going to be having any kids, so it's not something I have to worry about. But I will be extremely discreet around the children of my friends (though they are currently toddlers).

But even being around my friends kids is not much of an issue since none of them have wheelchair accessible houses and if I was a kid the last place I would want to be is a stinky nursing home with crazy old people. I sure as hell don't want to be here. I want out. And if I can't get out, I want to be high (if anyone reading this knows how I can score or gifted with some herb, leave me a comment).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Health in general 2

I am feeling stronger, at least laying in bed I seem to be able to move my legs some. Today I stood up for nearly twenty minutes in the standing frame. I should be off the antibiotics in a couple days then next Monday I see four doctors in one day.

A good cup of coffee and crime in the streets

I used the aforementioned French Press this morning with some Organic Shade-Grown Fair Trade Cafe Appassionato Tempest blend and it was the best cup of coffee I have had in 15 months. I wish I would have bought the standard sized press because the 4 cup version only fills my travel mug once (and that's when you add an unhealthy amount of cream).

Over my cup of coffee I checked out the Slog and there seems to be a lot of violent crime in Seattle over the past 24 hours.

Fuck Republicans. All of them.

The Obama administration is barely two weeks old and the Republicans themselves act like they won a mandate from the people to oppose Obama at every turn, rather than the mandate for Obama and for change that is reality.

Since his inauguration, Obama has bent over backwards to appease Republicans, even to the point of weakening the stimulus package and back peddling on Gay Rights. It has been just two weeks, so I will keep "hoping" that Obama will make this a better stronger country, but I wish he would somewhat ignore the Republicans, at least on the stuff he promised to those of us who voted for him, and keep his promises.

And I don't understand all this crap about Tom Daschle. If this was a Bush appointee, he'd have already been sworn in and be picking out new furniture. Daschle screwed up his taxes, like 50% or more of Americans, and did not know that he needed to declare a borrowed car as income. I wouldn't have known to declare it. Do I have to declare every lunch or coffee treated by a friend as income?

And now Cheney is going around saying that we will suffer a catastrophic terrorist attack because Obama is president. Considering Cheney's contacts with other evil people like him (he probably knows Osama Bin Laden personally, which is why he isn't dead), he could arrange for something to happen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ho Hum

Other than standing twice, for ten minutes each, in the standing frame, I can't think of anything particularly interesting today. I woke up this morning and it was freezing cold. Someone had turned all the thermostats off. The heat is working now but I still feel cold.

Today I spent almost all the money left on the final Starbuck's card. I think I have enough for a Shaken Black iced tea. Yesterday I picked up a 4 cup French Press, a pound of Cafe Appasionatto Coffee (Organic Tempest blend), some organic sugar, Half & Half, and some vanilla syrup, so I will start doing my own coffee tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A reduction in therapy

The powers that be have canceled my restorative therapy since I am already getting physical and occupational therapy. This means no more talks with Lamin. It has done nothing for my mood.

Haven't received a bill from the home yet and I've already spent more than my $57.50 monthly allowance on groceries. Oh well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday

Considering I didn't care who won the game, thus year's Superbowl was pretty exciting. It came down to the last 30 seconds with Arizona having a chance ro score a touchdown to win, only to have Kurt Warner fumble to let the Steelers win.

I think I was the only one actually watching the game despite the fact the CNA's kept wheeling in old people who never speak in front of the TV. The senile were in top form with their screaming today. I seriously thought about going to a bar or somewhere to hang out all daym but once again I had to be around for three antibiotic IVs.

Someone lost my page in the restorative book so I haven't had any therapy for a few days and already feel my muscles tighten up. There is only so much I can do on my own.